January 24, 2019

What’s In Store This Year in Fenestration Manufacturing

by Guest Blogger

As colder winter weather slows the pace of construction, the early part of a new year marks a good time for fenestration professionals to take stock of their own production strategies on the plant floor.

Ask yourself: What worked well last year? What didn’t? What are some areas where you can improve? What enhancements will you work to bring to your plant this year?

On In Focus, we’re always investigating new ways to maximize your labor, your production, and your bottom line on the shop floor. For 2019, here are a few things you should be watching out for to stay on top of your game:

Focus on production. Window and Door magazine published its annual “Industry Pulse”  earlier this month, which is always full of good insights on the state of the industry. A few figures stuck out to me:

  • 50 percent of respondents reported that units shipped in 2018 increased moderately, and 67 percent expect that trend to continue this year. Seventy percent expect sales to increase moderately.
  • Meanwhile, 93 percent of respondents expect the cost of raw materials to continue rising this year, for a variety of reasons.
All the more reason to ensure that our production techniques are as efficient as can be, and that we’re operating with continuous improvement in mind. With costs on the rise along with demand, it’s more important than ever.

It’s also important to remember we don’t cut corners with our units and products to save a few dollars in the short term. Sticking with reliable, quality components from trusted vendors will be critical. My colleague Erin Johnson is quoted in the Window & Door piece: “As builders work toward matching heightened expectations, it will be important to choose reliable, proven products that contribute to those goals,” she says. “Short-term price benefits can cost you significantly more money later down the line.”

Embrace technological advantages. It’s no secret that automated equipment continues to revolutionize how today’s fenestration manufacturers assemble products. This year looks to be no different.
As automation continues to become more commonplace, today’s modern manufacturing plants increasingly employ new software to make things more efficient. Barcoding technology and labeling are two of the ways window and door manufacturers have taken advantage to better track products as they move throughout the plant floor. Any operation that has implemented automation should be looking into optimization through barcoding and software—it can help boost efficiencies, shorten lead times, and grant you better control over your production process.

What investments have you made in your production technology? Are you looking to implement automated equipment this year? As we’ve written before, you don’t have to transform your operation into the factory of the future all at once.

I’d love to hear about some new strategies you’re implementing on the plant floor this year—and remember, Quanex can help.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at John.Ryba@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: January 24, 2019 by Guest Blogger Filed under: fenestration, manufacturing, Plant, transformation