ShareThis Page

Creighton plant's fate: 'Creative destruction' illustrated

| Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, 8:55 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer was sold in March to Vitro SAB de CV of Mexico. The Creighton plant makes automotive glass, but Vitro says it plans to close the plant next summer. (Trib photo)
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
The Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer was sold in March to Vitro SAB de CV of Mexico. The Creighton plant makes automotive glass, but Vitro says it plans to close the plant next summer. (Trib photo)

Word that Pittsburgh Glass Works likely will close its Creighton plant in East Deer next year is sad for its 200 unionized workers and their families, the township, nearby businesses and the whole Alle-Kiski Valley. It's a situation that teaches a painful yet necessary economic lesson.

This news comes as Wall Street routinely breaks records and other signs indicate economic strengthening. Such dynamism derives not from established players resting on laurels, but from innovators developing more efficient, more capable, more desirable processes and products that displace older ones — what late economist Joseph Schumpeter called capitalism's “creative destruction.”

The Creighton facility, which makes automotive glass, opened in 1883 as the original Pittsburgh Plate Glass plant. Today, PGW says, its two-story layout and inability to accommodate automakers' increasing use of cameras, sensors, antennas and other high-tech safety, warning and autonomous-driving gizmos — combined with increased competition, a downturn in U.S. new-car production and overcapacity across the company's eight U.S. auto-glass plants — dictate its likely demise.

That's a business decision linked inexorably to others made over the years that now render the Creighton plant uncompetitive. And the hard lesson for workers, managers, owners and investors? Keep up with technology, stay ahead of rivals, adapt to customers' changing needs and maximize efficiency — or be displaced by competitors who do.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.