September 22, 2020
How to Gain Greater Control Over Your Window and Door Production
by Guest Blogger
For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Making quality windows and doors is all about control—over your inventory, your fabrication practices, and your shipments. All of these things work in harmony to ensure that your customers are getting high-quality products when and where they need them.
It’s one reason that window and door manufacturers are sometimes hesitant to source components from anywhere but in-house. It makes sense—when you’re overseeing the production of all parts of the window, you can pay greater attention to ensuring everything is made to your exact specifications.
But the reality can play out differently in one specific area of production: your screens department. How? Screens are a necessity for any finished window or door unit, but any manufacturer can tell you that making quality screens can be headache-inducing. And it’s not where most manufacturers are building value into a completed order. As such, screens production may take a backseat to other, more important processes, leading to lapses in quality.
But because a window order can’t leave your floor without its accompanying screen, inefficient screens production can have far reaching impacts on the entirety of your operation. And can, in fact, diminish the level of control you have over making a complete, quality end product. For this reason, it’s worth considering why outsourcing screens with a reliable partner can be beneficial for your business. Here are a few reasons why:
Screens production is siphoning your best labor. The fenestration industry has wrestled with labor challenges for years now. Simply put, finding good workers isn’t easy, and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have only made the situation worse.
Meanwhile, screens production is labor intensive, requiring skilled teams to assemble consistent, high-quality screens. But it shouldn’t come at the cost of taking labor away from higher-value tasks in window production. If you find yourself drawing labor away from frame cutting, IG fabrication, or other areas that directly influence the end performance of your window unit because screens production is lagging behind, that may be the sign of a larger issue. And it might be time to rethink your screens strategy.
Quality control is slowing you down. Consistent, quality screens production doesn’t just require skill, but focus—and you have plenty of other production activity to worry about on the shop floor.
Processes must be in place to control size, squareness, screen cloth, and other screen specifications, and it can be a struggle to maintain tight quality control here, especially if you’re struggling with labor. If a screen doesn’t pass your quality control checks, orders can’t go out, and those screens must be remade. This can be a major drag on your output and can cause delays in shipping. A screens outsourcing partner—who is solely focused on screens production and has the right measures in place to control quality—can eliminate some of these issues.
Screens inventory is hurting your cash flow. Making screens in-house comes with a lot of inventory. Frame, screen, corner keys, spine, latches, pins, clips, plungers and more must always be on hand to match production volumes.
This has a few implications from a cash flow perspective, which is especially important during periods of economic uncertainty. All of these parts must be paid for and stored up front, and stocking the right amount of inventory to meet fluctuating demand can be a challenge. There’s also the cost per square foot in your warehouse necessary for storing all of these parts to be considered, which, free of screens related inventory, could be used for more valuable production space.
Outsourcing your screens production has the potential to alleviate both of these issues, and can lead to enhanced operations throughout your shop floor. Interested in learning more about how you can take back control of your operations by outsourcing your screens production? Contact me directly at Brian.Ludwig@Quanex.com.