Latest Articles in Operations

  • Not a simple switch
      Related Reading | Labor and Automation: How automation and technology make people less necessary, more important  Technology may be enticing and a solution to some labor woes. However, industry companies are faced with many challenges when considering technology investment. Often at the top of the list is cost. “There are levels of automation and workforce reduction... more »
  • Creating a plan for Industry 4.0
    Common Language How to eliminate islands The simple answer to eliminating islands of information is to write code to obtain all the machinery data and write additional code to integrate it with an in-house software solution. However, most window and door fabricators do not have the resources to take on a large custom Industry 4.0 software initiative. The cost to do this independently would be... more »
  • As shipping costs increase and the driver shortage amplifies, the supply chain faces new decisions about operations
    High Tech Trucking on the Horizon? McKinsey & Co. revealed the average supply chain has a digitization level of 43 percent, which was the lowest number of the five business areas the study examined. Only 2 percent of surveyed executives indicated that supply chain is the focus of their digital strategies. That same study showed that companies that aggressively digitize their supply... more »
  • MI Windows achieves OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs star for safety
     Editor’s Note: This article is based on the safety roundtable held at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association 2018 Fall Conference. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is often considered to be the police of workplace safety. OSHA sets rules and regulations, performs audits, issues fines and more, all in an effort to create safer workplaces. However, two... more »
  • Many manufacturers, distributors and window and door retailers face an ongoing challenge: disposing of surplus inventory. Many practice discounting, liquidating and auctioning unwanted merchandise, but this labor-intensive work can yield little profit.  Another idea is to donate products to charity, also known as product philanthropy or gifts-in-kind donations. This practice has financial... more »
  • A look inside Ply Gem Canada’s manufacturing process
    Right: “To optimize space, we combined two stations into one, with rotating and squaring functionality in the same rack,” Dave Bamford, production supervisor, explains. “[This enables] the operator to install panels on both sides without moving from his present position.” (All images courtesy of Ply Gem.) The story rings true for most all fenestration manufacturers: the... more »
  • Preventative maintenance makes (dollars and) sense
    One of the most glaring issues I see among manufacturers in our industry is the lack of consistent, thorough preventative maintenance programs. We’ve all heard some variation of the phrase, “I can’t let maintenance have the machine; we have windows to make!” This view that maintenance gets in the way of production is more common than most of us would like to admit. But the... more »
  • How dealers can get comfortable with the new tech-focused reality of doing business
     Our company interacts regularly with scores of window and door dealers all over the U.S. and Canada, and we’ve found there are two main “camps” of dealers. The first are those with the motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” These are good people who have run an honest business for 20-40 years with paper folders, phone calls and a wealth of... more »
  • How one window manufacturer navigated incremental growth with its processes
      One of Avanti's many finished projects in a Las Vegas community. The company installs and manufactures its windows. (All images courtesy of the author.) Editor’s Note: One of the top three challenges our manufacturers consistently report is the struggle to keep up with the tremendous demand for products in this current growth spurt for the industry. Window & Door identified one... more »
  • The role of IoT in an automated plant
    Imagine being asked to play in a football game where you don’t know any of the other individuals on the team nor their respective positions. It isn’t the concussive helmet crashes from previous games that have obscured your sense of familiarity; you really have no knowledge of, or relationship to, any of these people. Nothing in common. Not age, shared experiences, nor demographics.... more »