Delivering on customer demands has always been a top priority for door and window makers. Technological innovations, new performance demands, and homeowner preferences have brought continual change to the space, and it’s long been our responsibility to rise to the challenge.

There are times when doing so feels more difficult than others, particularly as we look toward busy season, which is fast approaching. Now, more than ever, it’s important that supply streams for raw materials are optimized, that your equipment and machinery are working as intended and that your production processes are streamlined and efficient.

But challenges loom. Supply chains and material costs aren’t always predictable. Labor availability remains a challenge throughout industries, and it can be exacerbated during the summer months. Maintaining quality production amidst hotter demand also requires careful focus and attention to all parts of your processes.

How do you stay ahead? That brings us to today’s tip:

Leverage your partners for critical support.

For door and window makers, I think successfully navigating these challenges depends partly on leveraging your relationships with suppliers throughout the value chain. Indeed—they’re your partners for a reason, and they should have as much investment in your success as you do.
Consider your vinyl extrusions as an example. If you extrude in house, sourcing reliable resins can be challenging. Amidst higher demand, you’re also more likely to run into capacity constraints. One solution is to leverage a specialized external supplier for your extrusions. The right partner should be able to extrude to your exact specifications while maintaining strict quality control, all at the capacities you need to keep up with customer demand. This can help eliminate the hassles involved in sourcing raw materials and free up some of your labor to focus on other measures.

Your door and window screens represent another area of opportunity. Some window manufacturers I’ve worked with recently have reported trouble keeping screens production in step with customer demand. Offloading some screens production is one way to alleviate these headaches and, again, can help free up some of your people to focus on higher-value tasks.

Whether it’s vinyl extrusions, screens, spacer technology, or any other critical component in high-performance doors and windows, alignment with the right suppliers is one of the most important things manufacturers can do to maintain reliability in supply and production capability. Your ability to provide your customers with the quality systems they demand depends on it.

John Ryba is Technical Services Manager for Quanex

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