by Joeseph Gold
Some time ago my younger brother and I were out on the town. As luck would have it, we came across two friendly ladies and began to chat as we sipped some ice teas (our local Long Island version, of course). One of them began to explain how she worked in fashion. My brother seized the opportunity to explain that he had just designed the corporate interiors for fashion designer Donna Karen; you see, he is an architect. When her friend began to boast of her recent purchase of a Ford Explorer, it was my turn. "Hey, did you know that your windshield number is a W1187?"
My brother remains friends with them to this day.
In a perfect world, an extensive knowledge of auto glass would be useful with the ladies. Let me add that in a perfect world every installer would use mouldings only from the original manufacturer of the vehicle when replacing auto glass. Now for reality.
Two major changes in the auto glass service market have led to the popularity of universal mouldings. The first, to the dismay of the installer, is the trend toward mobile installations. Installers are asked to travel further distances to do jobs in increasingly adverse conditionsand in shorter times.
Since it is impossible to carry an extensive selection of mouldings in a mobile vehicle, todays installer must improvise. When he is 50 miles from his shop, the utility of the universal moulding is without question. What happens when the installer is asked to replace glass on a job that was not originally called in to the shop? He might have difficulty removing the moulding intact because hes working outside in subfreezing conditions. Even if he could save the moulding, it would take so much time it would not be cost-effective when compared to the cost of a universal moulding application.
The second major change in our industry, the deterioration of the profit margin, has resulted in the constant re-examination of the retail shop. One way to improve the profitability of any auto glass replacement shop is to use interchangeable universal mouldings. By carrying as few as three to four different styles one can reduce inventory and overhead substantially. Universal mouldings give shops the needed leverage in competition for the retail customer. Even if the retail shop does have the original moulding in stock, there is a good chance the shop will have a greater profit margin with the universal moulding, even though it sold the moulding for a fraction of the OEM moulding cost. It is because of these savings, as well as other advantages, that I have found owners or managers provide the initiative for using universal mouldings.
Universal mouldings first appeared on the market in the late 1980s. That was when our company, Gold Glass Group, first introduced what is now referred to as "push-in" or "insert mouldings." These T-shaped mouldings are installed by pushing their bottom stem into the adhesive after the windshield is installed. They are still used, and are particularly useful when a moulding needs to be changed on a vehicle whose glass has not been removed. However, it was in the early 90s with the advent of the "channel moulding" that real growth came to the universal moulding marketplace. Soon after our company made this moulding available in continuous rolls, a number of other companies followed suit. Today, there are no less then seven major manufacturers of this style of moulding. Therefore, it is increasingly important that the automotive glass shop manager understands the differences among these mouldings.
Channel mouldings are installed on the glass before it is placed into the vehicle. Most of todays installers find this to be the easiest way to install a moulding. When choosing the moulding one needs to look at a number of factors. The moulding must be smooth against the body vehicle. It should not crimp around corners and must be easy to use. The moulding should wear well over time, even in extreme temperatures, be packaged conveniently and be consistent in high quality.
We at Gold Glass believe that our channel mouldings are unique in that they are made out of rubber, unlike the vinyl mouldings produced by most of our competitors. This allows them to go around corners perfectly in almost any temperature while never shrinking or crimping. The fact that they are rubber means that in 15 years the moulding will look just a perfect as it did when it was taken out of the box.
Joseph Gold is vice president of Gold Glass Group Corp. in Bohemia, NY.
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