Latest Articles in Operations

  • Three keys to successfully adding new equipment
    In order to successfully integrate equipment, it’s critical to think through every piece of the process. It starts even before specifying equipment and soliciting quotes. The first step is to identify the problem the equipment will solve. Improved ergonomics, enhanced craftsmanship and/or increased production output are all good examples of issues machinery can solve. Make sure you have a... more »
  • There are a few specific areas that have a large impact on the integration of new equipment into the production cycle. Rob Macaulay and Mitchell Heckbert, Urban Machinery, have the following tips for each of the critical areas. Machine Acceptance Often referred to as “factory run off,” once the machine build is complete, schedule one to two days to visit your supplier’s... more »
  • 10 pre-purchase considerations when buying new equipment
    New equipment has the ability to transform a business. Modernizing or investing in essential technology can increase capacity and open doors to new markets. But, adding machinery can also strain workflow and cause other issues if it isn’t successfully integrated into operations. To have a successful integration, it’s important to have a vision for what the equipment will mean for your company as... more »
  • We now live in a world of smartphones and tablets. Sure, laptops still get plenty of use and desktop computers are still hanging around, although sales dropped a full 10 percent in 2014. But, by and large, people want portability in their computing. Whether the device of choice is a tablet, smartphone or even a smartwatch, most people have gotten used to using apps for many personal needs. But I... more »
  • 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 »