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Fabricators challenged by glass price hikes

Faced with rising prices and fuel surcharges from glass manufacturers, fabricators nationwide look for ways internally and externally to cover extra costs in what can sometimes be a frustrating process.

A 7 percent price hike, instituted June 5, in combination with separate diesel and natural gas surcharges, has led many fabricators to raise their own prices and surcharges.

“Manufacturer prices keep going up; fuel costs keep going up,” says Jaime Tellez, manager at San Jacinto Glass of Houston. “Some people think it doesn’t have a big impact on [fabricators], but it does. We’ve got to raise our prices; we’re just trying to get by.”

Tellez sent letters to his customers in late May, announcing a 7 percent price increase effective June 5. “We’re not trying to make money from these increases, we’re just trying to make up what we’re paying to manufacturers,” he says.

Many other fabricators sent similar letters to their customers, including Oldcastle Glass of Santa Monica, Calif. It instituted a blanket 7 percent price increase, effective June 19. Buyers of products from Guardian Industries' fabrication plant in Galax, Va., maker of laminated and security glazing, started paying 5 percent more on all shipments May 29. Customers of AFG Glass Commercial Fabrication of Kingsport, Tenn., saw 7 percent price increases on clear, tinted, tempered and coated products starting June 5.

Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. of Tamarac, Fla., and ACI Distribution of Memphis, also are among the fabricators raising prices this month, both instituting increases June 12. Arch hiked prices 5 percent for both glass and aluminum products; and ACI, 7 percent.

Rollie Meloy, vice president of sales for Texas Tempered Glass Inc. in Houston says the manufacturer price increases, coming every several months, cause problems with fabricators’ bottom lines and create a “nightmare on my end as far as billing.” His company instituted a 7 percent price increase June 5.

“We have to go back and adjust prices in our computer base every time,” Meloy says. “By the time I get all my price sheets reprinted, we’ll have another [price increase] from the manufacturers.” He predicts manufacturers will institute another price hike in September or October.

Despite frustrations and forced price hikes, Tellez expects glass fabricators will still be able to find customers and business success. “As long as I keep providing quality products, and my service is good, I should have no problem,” Tellez says.

 

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