Technical Services Manager
Quanex Building Products
July 11th, 2022
Addition by Subtraction on the Shop Floor
By most accounts, the outlook for the fenestration industry remains robust. We know from the [DWM] 2022 Industry Outlook that more than half of window dealers, manufacturers and suppliers expect sales increases of 10% or more, with more than 80% predicting sales will top 2021. Which brings us to today’s tip:
Make hay while the sun shines.
More than ever, it’s time to double-down on core competencies, solidify dealer and supplier relationships and do everything possible to minimize distractions.
One focusing strategy many door and window companies use is to outsource screens production to a trusted supplier. For most, screens aren’t a core product. Instead, the production of them tends to pull skilled workers from other higher-margin lines and puts you face to face with many of the same purchasing and inventory challenges door and window manufacturing presents, minus the reward.
Business Within a Business
What, then, is the argument for holding onto a “business within a business” that draws down time, labor and materials from higher value production tasks? After all, managing frame and screen material, corner keys, latches, pins, springs, plungers, clips and other required screen components is just as demanding as managing insulating glass (IG) and window materials.
Think about plant floor space. Screen production can occupy up to 20% of a shop floor. Imagine what you could do with several hundred square feet of extra space. More room for material storage, a new production line, automation upgrades and other high value applications.
The decision to outsource screens is one that most of your regional and national competitors have faced. The vast majority chose to outsource and devote their energies on what they do best. Today nine of the top 10 window manufacturers and all 10 of the top door manufacturers now outsource screen production. The way offsite screens seamlessly integrate with door and window manufacturing workflow is a credit to the around-the-clock production some screen specialists offer as well as advanced:
Top-line screen companies are experts at meeting any specification and quantity. If there’s a problem – an inadvertent screen rip or bend is always possible – it’s the screen company you disrupt for quick replacement, not your production line. Today top companies maintain regional screen manufacturing plants, helping ensure speedy ground transport to just about anywhere.
A large screen manufacturer can produce tens of thousands of door and window screens per day. The thought that outsourcing screens “will hold up door and window deliveries” shouldn’t apply to this part of the supply chain.
More than ever, outsourcing screen production is a smart, proven way to streamline operations, helping you focus on activities that yield the greatest financial return.
John Ryba is Technical Services Manager for Quanex.