Shop Talk

Addition by Subtraction on the Shop Floor

Jul 11th, 2022

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 […]

Replacing Knowledge After the Great Retirement

Jun 13th, 2022

Who’s the most knowledgeable person on your plant floor? Who’s the person you turn to when a problem arises? Is that person the same one it might have been two years ago? The fenestration industry’s ongoing struggle with labor is well established. A lot of focus is commonly put on simply being short on manpower. […]

The Surprising Rewards of a Quality-First Strategy

May 9th, 2022

You don’t have to look far to see how manufacturing quality can affect sales and reputation. Think of aerospace, pharmaceuticals, automotive, food service or other industrial sectors. In our business, cutting a corner to achieve a short-term advantage is a false economy that can end up backfiring with distributors, contractors, builders, homeowners and, yes, even […]

How Organized Are You?

Apr 11th, 2022

Your shop floor is constantly alive with activity. Raw materials arrive, units are assembled and finished products are shipped to customers. In an ideal scenario, it’s a smooth-running process you can depend on to keep up with your day-to-day production schedules. But many different factors can interrupt even the best laid plans, especially as our […]

More Manufacturing Considerations for A New Era of Energy Star

Mar 7th, 2022

You may have heard that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released they S second draft of the Energtar Version 7.0 specification in late February for windows and doors. Little has changed from the initial draft we saw last year, as it maintains the same prescriptive window criteria proposed in Draft 1 of Version 7.0. […]

A Guiding North Star to Manufacturing Success

Feb 14th, 2022

Window and door manufacturers across the country continue to show exceptional resiliency in working through demand backlogs. Large or small, automated or not, many of the manufacturers I work with are dedicated to delivering quality products in as timely a manner as is possible. Not that it’s easy—it can be tempting to fall into a […]

Taking Time for Critical Maintenance Tasks

Jan 10th, 2022

It’s 2022. You’ve probably found yourself keeping busy during these past few winter months, and are likely to do so throughout the months to come. In years past we would be beyond the crest of the industry’s typical busy season but with supply chain issues and a larger than ever backlog we still need to […]

Identifying the Right Opportunities for Automation

Dec 21st, 2021

Automation is something of an inevitability—not just in the fenestration industry, but the broader manufacturing landscape at large. Not everyone has the budget or production numbers to justify a massive investment in a fully-automated production line by one of the major equipment OEMs, but most understand the tangible benefits automatic equipment can bring to any […]

Putting Your People in a Position to Succeed

Nov 15th, 2021

Creating efficiency on a manufacturing floor can sometimes feel like a cold and calculating process. It’s about implementing the right systems and strategies, about optimizing inputs and outputs, and leveraging technological advancements to create quality products. As the operations director for Quanex’s Mikron vinyl window systems, I know this feeling well. And I know that […]

Getting Strategic With Your Training Initiatives

Oct 19th, 2021

The general situation for manufacturers of residential windows has remained constant for some time now: high demand, labor challenges and supply chain issues. As of late 2021, these are things that window manufacturers may be accustomed to, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with—especially considering other factors my colleagues have noted in […]

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