The Road to Absolute Perfection by Bill Valway
by Bill Valway
November 4th, 2015

Key Takeaways from WFCT 2015

Next year will mark my 20th year working in the window film industry. I am amazed in how far the industry has come since I was first introduced to it. Seeing the changes at this year’s International Window Film Conference and Tint Off (WFCT) was remarkable. I’ve been to the last five International Window Film Conference and Tint Offs and I was really surprised at the differences I saw this year, not only in number of attendees (by the way, this year was the largest number of attendees, ever), but in the attitude and character of each individual.

I absolutely agree with Casey’s “Camaraderie > Competition” blog about this year’s event. I saw a lot of bonding between business owners and even competitors, working together to solve some of the most common challenges we face in this industry on a day-to-day basis. It’s an incredible milestone for us to have met as a community working together to meet the same goals.

This Year’s Crowd

Bill11One thing that really stood out to me was the positive attitude and willingness to learn I saw in a lot of attendees. I was involved in 2twospeaking engagements, one of which I led myself. I spoke about our company, the successes and failures we’ve been through that got us to where we are today. After the laptop died on us and the presentation went down, there was a longer than expected Q&A field, and I’m glad it worked out that way. There were so many good questions!

The other event I participated in was a learning forum with five other business owners. The forum started at 8 a.m. and the place was packed! Window film dealers were engaged and anxious to ask questions that would help them further develop their business. I sat in on a couple of workshops and all of them had a full room of people. Everyone wanted to grow beyond where they were, advancing and growing their companies. It was incredible to see.

Bill22

Improving Industry Standards

One of my takeaways from discussions with a number of window film company owners and dealers at WFCT this year and through my involvement with PWFDA is that a lot of people have the same concerns.

As a company, we have specific standards as far as products, installation, customer service, etc. During the conference, there was a lot of concern for industry-wide standards, development of those standards that are recognized across the board and how to train new businesses in the industry and employees of existing shops of those standards.

Take wet glazing for example—if you ask people if they know how to wet glaze, they’re all going to tell you they know how, but 90 percent haven’t been certified. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t an existing industry-wide recognized certification process for this, which is a really important thing to have.

Another concern I came by was the commoditization of the industry by national film installation companies. Some of the dealers I spoke with expressed frustration with national companies coming in and low balling projects. Once sold, the national companies often time come back in and sub-contract it the local businesses for an even lower cost.

These are just a few industry-wide concerns we are aiming to take care of with PWFDA. The industry is no longer a dog-eat-dog competition, but a community of hard-working individuals striving for growth and moving the industry forward.

Change, Innovation, Evolution

Another thing I noticed at this year’s WFCT is that there is a tremendous amount of change happening in the window film industry. What used to be a simple industry of auto, home and office building tinters has turned into so much more. Today, we don’t just offer films with heat rejection qualities, we offer film that offers year-round savings, window film rebate systems, commercial graphics, vehicle wraps and elaborate printed and cut frost designs.

Bill1

It’s pretty cool to see the evolution of the individuals, companies, products and industry as a whole. Window tinting used to be looked at as an unskilled trade, but today it’s a highly skilled craft that can have a variety of different outcomes and benefits.

In a few words, this year’s WFCT was a success. See you next year in San Antonio, fellow tinters!

This blog is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

Tags: , , ,

Leave Comment