Latest Articles in Operations

  • How the deficiency of qualified talent impacts the window and door industry
    It’s hard to find good help these days, especially in the window and door industry. It’s particularly challenging to find skilled labor or even simply to find applicants looking for work in this trade, according to industry professionals. One of them, Jennifer Lawler, president of Fenessco Inc., a Californiabased window and door dealer, had a particularly interesting perspective. Here... more »
  • Is outsourcing an option to labor shortages?
    In Window & Door’s recently published article, “The Industry Pulse,” many dealers and manufacturers indicated positive growth in the last year. But, positive growth has brought with it certain challenges—one of which is finding qualified workers. According to The Associated General Contractors (also cited in the Window & Door coverage), “83 percent of... more »
  • I just returned from the AAMA industry conference held last week in Fort Lauderdale. I arrived a day early—the same day my home city of Memphis was being pounded by an ice storm and completely shut down for the next two days. The conference, on the other hand, was just cranking up. As I texted images back and forth to my wife (hers of ice, mine of sand), it was almost humorous trying to... more »
  • A few years ago, I was contracted by a dealer to perform the take-off of full-frame replacement windows for a very old home. This was my only role for this job. A general contractor would hire out the installation to a crew with window replacement skill-level unknown to me. Most of the existing windows were double-hung wood, old-generation weight and pulley, with very robust exterior casing and... more »
  • I vividly remember a specific encounter years ago when I stepped into a fenestration dealer’s sales office to order some full-frame window units for a replacement job. The units were round-top mulled combinations, so they required more attention than normal for proper sizing. The salesperson and I were only acquaintances. However, I was purchasing from him because he had referred this... more »
  • In my latest From the Field column, I discuss the challenge of consistently estimating replacement jobs for different home conditions. The practice in our industry is to specify a base rate for a certain type of replacement (insert or full frame, for instance). This assumes reasonably accessible openings and sizes. Add-ons are then identified and bid by a qualified, experienced estimator. The... more »
  • Experienced estimators can sometimes bid an entire home of turnkey replacement windows almost within minutes of meeting with a potential client. It’s merely a matter of multiplying the number of openings by a rounded per-unit figure and voila!—there’s your estimate. Though common, this standard “per-opening” installed bid... more »
  • As I explain in my most recent From the Field column, in new construction, a “rough opening” is specified via the called-out window size and then framed accordingly. For replacement, however, a rough opening that already exists is used to suggest a replacement product frame size. However, that’s not the only dimensional reference. When measuring for full-frame replacement, we... more »
  • Quanex Building Products, IG Systems Cambridge, Ohio
    The new R&D center at the Cambridge, Ohio, Quanex plant The Challenge: To redesign the Cambridge, Ohio, facility so it would support the Quanex branding, while maintaining the quality and efficient production of the company’s solaredge tape technologies. Quanex also wanted to be able to use the facility as a pilot plant to test and refine new technologies. And, the company... more »
  • Window and door manufacturer Soft-Lite shares lessons learned
    In February 2012, Gorell Windows & Doors in Indiana, Pa., went into receivership. In March, Soft-Lite, the window and door manufacturer located in Streetsboro, Ohio, purchased several of its machines and product lines, including the Armor Max Plus and Armor Impact Plus hurricane windows. By Memorial Day, “only three months after we’d met with the receiver, we’d moved the... more »