The times they are a-changin’

The ill effects of training (or lack of) is something we need to wake up to, says Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell.

As long as I’ve worked in the glass and glazing industry there has been talk about which systems company is the next likely candidate to be acquired by a competitor, and there has been significant consolidation over the years.

We are also seeing huge market changes in the fabrication sector, and among trade counters, where value can be found in greater automation and centralisation of back office functions.

And, of course, these changes are also taking place in the glass sector, and this week we saw Pilkington sell its Bristol-based down-stream business to Cornwall Glass & Glazing, which has seen huge growth over recent years.

While this trend is likely to continue, we may also see more companies enter the market; at the recent Bohle round table event that I took part in recently, one delegate said that he was unhappy with the quality of glass that he received from his supplier (which he then incorporated into his own products), prompting him to take on a glass specialist with a view to establishing his own glass processing business. His views were supported by others who had also lost faith in suppliers.

While this is exciting for him (and I wish him the very best of luck), he shouldn’t be put in this position. But it goes back to what I discussed last week, which is the lack of training in the glass sector is a very real problem, and we need to tackle it head-on as an industry.