On September 28 – 30, Kawneer held its 54th annual Partner Panel meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. The panel provides a unique opportunity for Kawneer North America and Alcoa Building & Construction Systems (BCS) management to meet with representative customers from each region and create a forum for two-way communication. Over the years, we have been able to gain invaluable insight from Partner Panel meetings and make changes, enhancements and additions in several areas of business, helping drive growth and opportunity for both Kawneer and our customers.

Several topics were discussed during the three-day meeting including recent product launches, a look at key initiatives, accomplishments in 2011 and market challenges. And, for the first time, we held product break-out sessions. During these sessions, Product Managers discussed specific products in small group settings, which allowed for more in-depth interaction and feedback.

Throughout the Partner Panel meeting (and through our ongoing communications outlets) we invite customers to tell us what’s working and what could be improved. For example, during this year’s meeting, panel members shared that they were encouraged by recent new product launches such as Versoleil™ SunShades as well as the KawneerDirect and PartnerPak enhancements. Opportunities for improvement included responsiveness in acknowledgements, lead times and Service Center communication. Customers also thought sales needed to improve its presence with architects to become the “basis of design” and that they would like to see us take advantage of bundling opportunities with Kawneer, Traco and Alcoa Architectural Products.

In addition, Robert Huffman from Midwest Glazing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was elected as the Partner Panel Chairperson for 2012. He will replace Denise Alter from D&A Glass in Meridian, Idaho, who served as this year’s Chairperson and did an exceptional job leading customer discussions.

Investing in customers is a critical component of Kawneer’s business, and Partner Panel meetings show us time and time again how important this investment is. Moving forward we will make assignments to take action on many of the observations and recommendations made by the Partner Panel. Consistent and ongoing communication is key to our success. We encourage you to share insights with your Kawneer representatives so we can address the issues that are most important – today and into the future.