Latest Articles in Strategies & Practices

  • 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 »
  • pella.jpg
    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 »
  • Leading suppliers have teamed up to promote “insulated sash” system designed to offer high performance and lower unit cost
    Production has started at Survivor Technologies Inc. of a vinyl window incorporating a “brand new process.” Developed and licensed by Sashlite LLC, the process eliminates traditional insulating-glass production and, instead, incorporates an “insulated sash.” Executives at Sashlite and its supplier partners predict the insulated sash could “revolutionize” vinyl-... more »
  • The latest marriage of these two materials is seen providing a means for traditional vinyl window manufacturers to compete head on in the clad wood segment of the market
    A couple of years ago, Dave Gerhardt of Atria Building Products, Inc., was sitting in his office, looking at one of his company’s vinyl windows. He thought to himself, like many manufacturers before him, “I wish I could put wood on the inside of that.” He knew the challenges of doing that. The different expansion and contraction rates of vinyl and wood that make the design and... more »
  • cu_airchek1.jpg
    An interview with Keith Oakley of Air Chek Window Depot, a small New Jersey manufacturer celebrating its 30th anniversary and continuing to thrive
    Window installation issues often create problems for manufacturers and distributors. Yet, a growing number also appear to be looking at installation as as an opportunity, particularly in a market where consolidation has increased competitive pressures. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Air Chek Window Depot, a small replacement window manufacturer in Clifton, NJ, added installation... more »
  • The market is demanding resistance to rot, and a number of factors
    At Lincoln Windows, we’re known for making quality wood windows and doors. We’ve been in the business for over 50 years. During that time the company has integrated changes in our products as a result of technology, market demands, and product integrity. Recently, we pulled all of these reasons together to solve a nagging problem associated with wood—rot. In today’s... more »
  • 100simontonplant.jpg
    Simonton Windows has worked to establish an infrastructure and now is poised to reach beyond the trades to become a recognized name with consumers across the country
    Simonton Windows grew throughout the '90s to become one of the first vinyl window manufacturers with a national presence. One key to that achievement was its efforts to set an industry benchmark of seven days for delivery times nearly a decade ago. John Brunett, Simonton's president, still sees that benchmark as an important element in its growth, although he emphasizes that it is the Parkersburg... more »
  • cu_ecmd1.jpg
    ECMD's CEO looks at consolidation at the dealer level and how it has led the firm to a restructure of its manufacturing and distribution operations
    In 1982, ECMD was started as East Coast Millwork Distributors, Inc. Based in North Wilkesboro, NC, it was not a typical two-step distributor, but focused on wood mouldings. Since that time, the company has expanded to become not only a full-line millwork distributor, but also a Window & Door Top 100 manufacturer, producing Arndt & Hermann Windows. Recently, ECMD completed a restructuring... more »
  • cu_gienow1.jpg
    JIT and fully-integrated, Gienow is taking on the challenge of bringing everything online
    Gienow Building Products enjoys a reputation for manufacturing innovation. Just-in-time or JIT manufacturing is a goal at window and door industry companies across North America, but few are probably at the stage reached by the Canadian manufacturer, where most products literally come off the line and are loaded onto a truck. Window & Door recently traveled to Calgary, AB, to visit the... more »