Latest Articles in Operations

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    The decrease in window and door sales means new investment priorities among manufacturers
    Strong demand for windows and doors spurred significant investment in new machinery and production systems by manufacturers looking to expand capacity over the past several years. “With the downturn in the window and door industry, the equipment market has followed suit,” reports Stürtz Machinery’s Mike Biffl. Like most suppliers, however, he says spending has not come to... more »
  • New machines reduce labor costs and increase output and quality
    Today many window and door fabricators manufacture their own screens, while others prefer to buy them from an outside source. Larger, more vertically integrated companies typically make their own screens, with many taking advantage of new automated screen manufacturing equipment. Recent advances in these low cost, flexible screen machines are also attracting the attention of those manufacturers... more »
  • Software provide offers manufacturers advice at NWDA Winter Meeting
    Atlantic City, NJ—Technology, in addition to products and services, is becoming a decisive factor when dealers and distributors select a manufacturer, said Lynn Hartl, president of WTS Paradigm, speaking at the Northeast Window & Door Association winter meeting yesterday. The event, which drew about 120 industry executives, also featured presentations on new decorative finish processes... more »
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    Continued advances in software mean window manufacturers are still finding ways to cut costs and improve efficiencies
    In today’s market, driving down cost is the number one priority for many window manufacturers. The key is to simplify and streamline process areas without hurting precious competitive advantages—quality, delivery time and product differentiation. Although computer technology is not new in most plants, many manufacturers are winning the battle through the use of increasingly... more »
  • Use of product tracking technology expands with RFID looming for the future
    Radio frequency barcode scanning at window, door, and millwork distribution companies is one of the most significant technology growth trends of the last 5 to 10 years. To some extent, almost every segment of the supply chain has embraced the use of RF scanning. The great gain in operational efficiencies from the use of RF scanning provides a tremendous return on investment for those companies... more »
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    Point-of-sale measuring and order-entry system aims to eliminate errors, reduce time, increase upsells
    Some replacement window dealers may soon hang up their tape measures, pads of paper and calculators for electronic devices that automatically measure openings, configure window options and generate printed quotes for their customers. Taking the human element out of these traditional sales steps means reducing mistakes—a word that equals lost revenue to a dealer. “We’re a company... more »
  • Making the work environment safer also makes employees work smarter and be more productive
    For Therma-Tru Corp., being a preferred brand of entry doors and producing high-quality, beautiful products doesn’t fully define success. Being a true leader also means being a preferred place of employment and delivering operational excellence in all of our facilities. One hallmark of operational excellence is a safe workplace, where smart manufacturing processes and proactive... more »
  • More window and door manufacturers talk about kaizen events and changing the corporate culture. How widespread is this type of change?
    Ask nearly any window and door manufacturer, and they’ll tell you they’re “lean.” Competitive pressures, reflected in demands in pricing, lead times and quality, make “being lean” almost essential. But it’s clear that more manufacturers look to take this concept to a higher level. Although the trend may not be across the board, most window and door... more »
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    A continuous-improvement program implemented by the window and door manufacturer in 1993 laid the groundwork for expansion in recent years
    According to some observers, Pella Corp. was on the verge of being sidelined in its industry a decade ago. Instead, the shared vision of three men and the trust of an entire workforce remade the 65-year-old company into a lean pioneer. Mel Haught, Herb Lienenbrugger and Gene De Boef didn’t know this when they put on jeans and flannel shirts and went to the shop floor to conduct their first... more »
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    A little analysis can often yield significant improvements without adding significant capital or labor costs
        In looking at how to improve manufacturing efficiencies, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself. Do you have control of the manufacturing process? Is your labor cost at what it should be or is it too high? Is your manufacturing running at peak efficiency? Is your manufacturing process running at peak capacity? Do you need to add manufacturing equipment?Often,... more »