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 Post subject: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:41 pm
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Lots of great info on this board and I've narrowed my choices down to the Okna 500 and the Soft-lite Imperial LS with two reputable installers and the prices are within $200 or so with the Okna being higher.

So, my question is how is the financial health of these two companies? I'm a little torn between the two windows and I feel like having a lifetime warranty is only as good as the company behind it. Seems like both have great reputations other than Okna's hiccup with WindowWizards (have those QC issues been taken care of by the way?).

I read that Soft-Lite was a zero debt company. Is that still the case after the Gorrell acquisition?

I haven't been able to find anything on Okna's finances. It looks like the WindowWizards thing didn't cost them anything other than having to refill any frames/sashes that were not done properly. Is that correct?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:09 am 
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sgilliatt,

Both companies appear to be doing swimmingly.

The WW foam issue was resolved and has long since been completed.

Okna has converted to a rigid foam so as to avoid this potential and the future and the issue was never a QA/QC issue to begin with.

I can't comment with any certainty on the Gorell purchase transition. Some folks are a bit perturbed out there but if you are company of any size...you are going to tick off somebody...rest assured.

I think you are golden either way.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:05 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
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Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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Agree, that was a window wizards specific issue and its over and done with. Soft lite ticked off a bunch of gorell dealers by not honoring their warranty but thats business i guess.
Any new gorell window would be covered. Both okna and soft lite are outstanding companies. The okna 800 is a beautiful looking window.. The elements by soft lite is also very nice.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:20 pm
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The balance sheet of each is pretty robust, with Softlite being the larger company, but Okna gaining steam. My concern is the aforementioned warranty issues with Softlite. There are an awful lot of disgruntled Gorell customers out there that are not happy about Softlite using the name and reputation of the company while in effect washing their hands of the warranties. There are rumblings of a class action lawsuit which could be problematic.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Quote:
My concern is the aforementioned warranty issues with Softlite. There are an awful lot of disgruntled Gorell customers out there that are not happy about Softlite using the name and reputation of the company while in effect washing their hands of the warranties. There are rumblings of a class action lawsuit which could be problematic.


I agree completely.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:37 pm 
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There are always two sides to every story. What are the chances that Gorell wasn't completely honest with the amount of service claims that Soft-Lite was supposed to eat prior to the take over?


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:26 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
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Do any of you think the 800 and LS are a better comparison?


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:21 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
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Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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anthony wrote:
Do any of you think the 800 and LS are a better comparison?


No, Okna 800 compares to the Elements. Ls compares to okna 500.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:48 am 
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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I would tend to agree with Masterext.
Regarding the financial health, I don't think that there is much to worry about with either company. The Okna foam thing was much ado about nothing and they are a growing company, and with the Softilte Gorell warranty situation, they are legally doing nothing wrong as far as I know. The court of public opinion may say otherwise, or maybe not. That remains to be seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:16 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
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Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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This gorell debate can go on forever. Fact, Soft Lite does NOT have to warranty any gorell product BEFORE they purchased them. From a business point, why would they? Before the purchase, they had no control of Gorells quality control.
They purchased gorell because gorell was going bankrupt and they saw a business opportunity. Any gorell window purchased today would be of course fully warrantied.
At least anyone who has a gorell issue and the window was obtained before the soft lite purchase, they can get any parts they need.
The big issue is for gorell dealers who are going to have a bunch of irate customers if they have to pay for replacement parts. From a dealer stand point, i would be ticked off.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:32 am 
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Delaware Mike wrote:
There are always two sides to every story. What are the chances that Gorell wasn't completely honest with the amount of service claims that Soft-Lite was supposed to eat prior to the take over?


No doubt on this point.

I think most peoples' issue are with purchasing assests without assuming any liabilities based on what I see from people posting stuff.

I know Soft-Lite has stepped up on some of them but I don't have a good enough sample study to comment intelligently.

I would only say this. You mentioned previously that "if they were my client I would replace the glass and eat the charge, etc.". That is commendable and you are the exception in the contracting world and you and I know.

I do have some very honorable friends that were selling a bunch of the Gorell triple pane krypton glass package and would happily replace a couple of sashes but the one instance I am thinking of has something like 7 sashes on one job. You and I know what those triple pane krypton IGUs cost and they are not cheap...not even close.

He (contractor friend) has eaten as many as he can stomach so far but there is a cut off point where you just can't take on anymore from the standpoint of viability.

Shame on Gorell for farming out the glass to a company that was producing crap there for a while and hopefully it was just a blip on the radar.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:43 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
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Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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I dont know one company, unless they are associated with the vatican, that would buy the assets of a company and then warranty quality control issues they had nothing to do with. That would be nice but companies are around to make money and not lose money. This could seriously damage soft lites clean balance sheet.
As a contractor, i would find a way to take care of my customers.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
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Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Delaware Mike wrote:
There are always two sides to every story. What are the chances that Gorell wasn't completely honest with the amount of service claims that Soft-Lite was supposed to eat prior to the take over?


You're right Mike, and it's a fair point to make. As WoW said, you're one of the rare contractors who have stepped up and made things right with your customers at a personal loss to your own profit because the manufacturer refused. In the end, it usually pays dividends in referrals and a sterling reputation. I happen to think Soft-lite ought to do likewise.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:20 pm
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I don't know what else there could be that Gorell could have done. Softlite purchased them out of receivership, taking only the assets and no liabilities, no misinformation or anything like that could really occur in that scenario. Like masterext said, it was a business decision, however, they now will suffer whatever consequences come with that decision. Very smart people over there, who bet that they would lose far less on a short term hit to their reputation than they would by honoring thousands of warranty claims for the next 20-30 years. The sad part is the that the little guy like Delaware Mike (little meaning the contractor, no offense to you individually) who wants to do the right thing, is the one that is crapped on, as he absorbs the cost of those items while Softlie is left sitting pretty. Noble intention to be sure, but understand that YOU are letting Softlite have their cake and eat it too. I had no connection to either company, but if it were me, I'd pass those clients right along to Softlite. Give them Ol' Roy's contact info so they can ask him personally why he thinks it's appropriate to use the Gorell name and product to make money, but not take the baggage that comes with that. Was Chrysler able to wash away all of their warranties when they were down and bought out? I can't think of many other situations where anything like this was pulled off. This is kind of a slimy industry for starters, but this situation is one of the more bold and egregious slaps in the face to consumers that I've seen. At least that is my take on the situation, you all can feel free to disagree.


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 Post subject: Re: Okna vs. Soft-Lite Financial Health
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:41 pm
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[quote="fridge2020"]The balance sheet of each is pretty robust, with Softlite being the larger company, but Okna gaining steam.quote]

Where are you getting this info? I think I've decided to go with the Okna 500s as I was leaning that way to begin with, so it's a moot point on whether it's accurate or not. In reality, Okna could get acquired a la Gorell and my warranty could be worthless, so I can only make what I think is the most informed decision knowing the facts now. It's more a question of how to find this information on other companies in the future as I have lot of other things I'd like to have done to my house and would like their financial well being to be a factor.

Again, thanks to all for the input.


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