To stay competitive and succeed, every manufacturer must target and achieve peak performance at all levels. This means more than just producing the best possible product. It means delivering quality products, on time and at a realistic price. It means staying on the very leading edge of technology and tying it all together by taking advantage of the latest in internal automation at every business level; financial, customer-facing and manufacturing.
Manufacturers of windows, doors, and other flat-glass products (such as shower enclosures and heavy glass fixtures) face all of these same challenges as other manufacturers. Order management, inventory control and planning, production control, scheduling, and finance are all key requirements.
However, manufacturers in these industries also face additional challenges:
- To-order manufacturing. Most (if not all) products are built to customer specifications, which can vary on an order-by-order basis. Dimensions, colors, and configurations can be different for every order and job.
- The dealer channel. Manufacturers of windows typically do not deal directly with the consumer. They must accept orders from dealers, and provide additional support services to those dealers to ensure loyalty. Furthermore, they must be able to quickly provide quotes to their dealers, who themselves may be in a competitive situation.
- Material optimization. When the majority of products are made-to-order, it is vital to optimize the use of "cut-to-size" materials such as extrusions and glass to maximize yield and to drive down overall material costs.
The Fog Software Group portfolio includes software that helps manufacturers of windows, doors, and glass achieve peak performance.
- For medium-to-large manufacturers of windows, doors, and heavy-glass products,
- A+W Software provides industry-specific ERP, Design, CAD, CIM, and Optimization solutions for both the flat-glass and fenestration industries.
- Quadrature's WinPro product is an industry-specific solution for selling, designing, producing, and managing windows, doors, and roller shutters, including web access for dealers.
- Frontier by Friedman is a configured ERP providing a complete solution, including parametric configuration; 3D product engineering, modeling, and rendering; web access for dealers to generate quotations and place orders; dynamic and user-defined scheduling; and all the core manufacturing features, functions, and values offered by an integrated ERP product.
- Logimax WMS integrates with Frontier ERP to handle all warehouse logistics from receiving to shipping.
- For small-to-medium manufacturers of residential windows, the Winsys product from Windflite Computer Systems provides a complete, end-to-end solution for the entire business, including dealer order entry, true "to-order" manufacturing, and lineal optimization.
- For all manufacturers of windows and glass products, PMC offers:
- Advanced material optimization (both lineal and glass);
- Machine interfaces to a wide variety of saws, cutting tables, tempering ovens, edge work, and IGU lines, all driven by customer requirements and optimized schedules;
- Process control automation and tracking for entire fabrication lines.