Latest Articles in Operations

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    Big investments are few, but companies are adapting to stringent performance criteria in the market, and thinking about even stronger requirements on the horizon
    Following a period of little investment in new plants and production lines, window and door manufacturers are beginning to look again. Some see signs that sales are creeping up, but the primary driver is the need to upgrade window and door lines to meet new, more stringent performance criteria, including the new 30/30 minimums set for new tax credits, revised Energy Star criteria set to go in... more »
  • Move to JIT manufacturing can shift costs elsewhere without an integrated strategy
    Today, many window and door manufacturers find themselves in survival mode. To combat a decrease in demand, some are frantically trying to increase their sales, while others are searching for ways to augment profitability. The most successful companies are not looking to boost sales alone, they are also investing in proven cost cutting methods. Reducing overhead is an obvious path toward... more »
  • Businesses play a key role in protecting employees' health and safety as well as limiting the negative impact to the economy and society. Planning for pandemic influenza is critical. To assist employers, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a checklist of steps to take to prepare. It identifies important, specific activities... more »
  • Many window and door companies, including retailers, distributors, and manufacturers, were among thousands of companies that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently contacted with letters suggesting that they need to do a better job.  The OSHA Web site provides information and many links to employers to help them comply with safety regulations.  Of particular... more »
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    Getting ready for new NFRC and Energy Star mandates set to go into effect by 2010 is critical
    For certification, IG must pass accelerated weathering tests, which simulate weather cycling from -20 degrees F to 140 degrees F with high humidity and ultraviolet radiation exposure over a 63-day period. Based on the recommendation of the Insulating Glass Industry Durability Advisory Group, the U.S. Department of Energy plans to require insulating glass certification as a prerequisite... more »
  • Window & Door Honors Excellence in the Middle
    Window & Door, the leading magazine serving the window and door industry, has announced its 2008 Dealers of the Year award winners. This year’s program honored two companies as the top Overall Excellence winners. In addition, it recognized six Focused Excellence category winners—window and door retailers and distributors that stand out in the areas of marketing, installation... more »
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    A new vinyl window manufacturing system seeks to create "true one-piece flow."
    Most companies making vinyl windows follow the same basic manufacturing steps as 35 years ago. Lineals are optimized and cut into lengths. When the welding station operator is ready to assemble a particular unit, all four pieces are located and loaded one piece at a time into a welder. Sash and frames are then welded, cleaned and sent to glazing. There have been improvements to the process over... more »
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    Eventual market recovery, demand for triple glazing and continued efforts to reduce labor will spur more investments, suppliers predict
    Back in 2005 and 2006, window and door manufacturers were investing in new equipment and plants to expand capacity as the housing market boomed. With the housing bust of 2007 and 2008, things changed. Suppliers report that investments in new equipment are now down dramatically, but they also point out that spending has not come to a halt. Manufacturers continue to replace machines and upgrade... more »
  • An aggressive commitment to constant improvement in systems and procedures enables some manufacturers to thrive, even in tough times
    The decline in new home construction, combined with an anemic remodeling market, has created serious setbacks for many companies and the people who work-or worked-for them. Yet some window and door makers not only made money in 2007, they grew. Some expect no worse than flat sales for 2008. What separates these companies from those that are struggling, or already out of business? To get some... more »
  • In the current market, it’s time to get started
    You may be busy. You may be understaffed. You may even be in denial. But the time for action is now. In today’s market, window and door manufacturers need to cut costs, and they have to do it by getting manufacturing processes in order and under control.Relax...it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. There’s no need to spend $100,000 for the advice of an outside consultant; no... more »