Latest Articles in Strategies & Practices

  • Settling into a relaxing evening at home with my family recently, I heard the unmistakable sound of breaking glass from another room. I rushed to the den to find the oldest of my three children (also known as my husband), standing next to a window, with a sheepish grin on his face. He had tossed a ball, it hit my favorite cast-iron candlesticks sitting on the sill, and you can finish the rest... more »
  • Another International Builders’ Show has come and gone. It’s by no means some new trend, but what struck me particularly this year was that the lists of new features and options rattled off to me as I talked to window and door manufacturers in Orlando all seemed very long. Of course, my take on the show is different from the average attendee’s. When I walk into a display, I... more »
  • Manufacturer takes dealer-centric approach to ease ordering of an increasingly complex product line
     Window and door manufacturers are facing some growing pains. The list of products and options offered by most companies is expanding, and customers are becoming more demanding. One manufacturer facing these challenges is Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., now nearing the end of a multi-year rollout of a new ordering and quoting software package. The 60-year-old company’s made-to-order... more »
  • Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” makes the point that it’s easy enough to identify what separates a good organization or company from a bad one. We can see examples of good vs. bad companies in all tiers of our industry—manufacturers who don’t deliver on time versus ones that do, dealers who don’t return customers’ calls versus those who do. But... 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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    Focusing on new construction products, Tennessee manufacturer sees itself as small fish in a big pond with plenty of opportunities as a result
    MGM Industries does its own thing—in more ways than one. It’s most obvious “thing” is its product line. Unlike most vinyl window manufacturers, the company makes a mechanically assembled window to better mimic the look of wood windows. A tour through the company’s plant in Hendersonville, TN, reveals many other differences too. Unlike most manufacturers its size, it... more »
  • Used properly, a hammer can build shelter for people in need. Used improperly, the same hammer can be a blunt instrument of destruction. It is given that our world involves more and more standards. This requires more and more controls against misuse. We are getting the standards; I am concerned we are not getting the controls. Let’s agree that industry standards help the fenestration... 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 »
  • Seven siblings team up to grow Brothers Home Improvement
    The replacement window business is a family affair for the Cavannas. They’re a big family and, together, they have built a big business. Brothers Home Improvement had a wobbly start in 1995 when second-eldest of nine siblings Gene Cavanna teamed up with the baby of the family, Ralph Cavanna, to start a northern California window installation business. The two, with 11 years separating their... 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 »