Registration is now open for GPAD 2016 to be held in beautiful San Diego from March 14 through 16. This year, in addition to presenting new trends and technologies, keynote speaker and internationally renowned building scientist Stephen Selkowitz will explore the gap between today’s standard practice of using minimally code-compliant glazing and the performance of “best available” technologies on both the market today and emerging solutions.
For more information on GPAD 2016 and to register for the event, visit gpad-conference.com. Seating is limited, so register soon. We look forward to seeing you in the beautiful San Diego sun!
“If a carpenter has the best set of tools, but he hasn’t acquired the skill-set to use those tools, can he build a great house?”
FeneTech president & CEO Ron Crowl doesn’t just talk about his company’s mission statement, he lives it every single day.
“Inspire your employees to walk your walk and watch your team march down the field toward the goal.”
Read the full article in Window & Door magazine.
The managers at KAB Allglass knew the company needed to begin making safety glass or the Hamburg-based glass distributor risked getting squeezed out of the market.
“It is difficult for glass wholesalers today to survive between the producers and the users,” says Darko Grnjak, managing director and partner of the 40-employee company. “Producers are selling further downstream and shops are trying to buy glass direct.”
Nudged by the pending loss of their long-time supplier in 2009, KAB elected to make safety glass. “We had the customers already,” Grnjak said, “so we decided we could make our own tempered glass.”
In addition to purchasing a tempering oven and other equipment, Grnjak recommended to his partners that the company invest in and implement an ERP system to manage the additional complexity. His recommendation? FeneVision ERP for glass fabricators.
“We invested in making safety glass to be more flexible and competitive. This is the same reason we wanted production software and chose FeneVision.”
KAB continues to wholesale hardware and other types of glass including laminated, so a complete solution for inventory, production planning and order entry was a requirement.
“We looked at three systems. FeneVision is the one that gave us the impression they could give us a total solution without forcing us to pay for a lot of extras.”
Implementation for production was complete in the fall of 2013. KAB completed the integration to FeneVision of the entire company four months later, including the business side serving 400 customers.
Half a year later, the company is “Ninety-five percent where we want to be. For our point of view, the change was easier than we expected. We did not run simultaneous with our old system, which was a risk but worked quite well.
“The last five percent we continue working on day-to-day.”
Staff, Grnjak says, have found FeneVision easy to use. “There are lots of activities that now go automatically. We can create many things ourselves including reports and adjustments, and that is very good for us.”
While investing in making safety glass was a big step, Grnjak says it was necessary and that the company greatly prefers low-risk and steady growth over big changes.
“In making safety glass and production software, we were, of course, new,” he said. “But in wholesaling, production, customer base and market knowledge we have 26 years’ experience. Our goal is always first to be very good at the basics.”
This helps explain why KAB was willing to pay more for FeneVision.
“It was not the cheapest solution but it was the total business solution we needed,” said Grnjak, who joined the company as a sales rep in 1991 and became managing director in 1996.
“It shows how much trust I have in FeneVision and FeneTech. We believe in quality for the right price just as much for our own business as for our customers.”
KAB was founded in 1989 and expanded gradually over the years. The company sells only to businesses, from shop fitters and repair shops to DIY stores to commercial operations.
Customers are up to 500 kilometers away including in Scandinavia. End uses include everything from shower doors and insulating glass for office buildings.
“Making our own safety glass has been a very good step for us and well supported by our customers,” he said. “The business environment now is good with good future prospects for us.”
As for FeneVision, Grnjak says KAB is satisfied.
“Cooperation with the FeneTech office in Luxembourg and the support we receive is very good. From our point of view, I can definitely recommend FeneVision.”
“The principle here is universal, whether you’re working for an amusement park, a window company, or a supplier to the industry. Does your company have a customer-centric philosophy?”
Read the full article in Window & Door magazine.
[The] configuration process lasted about a year, and was supported by a dedicated FeneTech team … “FeneTech had brainstorm sessions with us. If we had a gap, they would help to come up with the best possible ways for the process to flow … They wanted the software to meet or exceed everything we wanted it to do.”
And it did. Once again, FeneVision is making it happen.
FeneTech President & CEO Ron Crowl discusses our company’s mission statement and how it provides our customers with “The FeneVision Experience”.
“Our business is supplying insulating glass to high end window and door manufacturers who make wood, aluminum and steel windows and doors throughout Southern California. They pay us more because we deliver higher quality.
Our units go into windows and doors shipped all over the country. Our customers’ end users don’t care about ASTM standards or that glass is for looking through and not at. They think they’re buying diamonds. They’ve paid a high price and if they think they see a problem, they’re not living with it.”
“I started this business from nothing in 1988. I had helped one company start their IG operation with a washer, a sealant pump and a handcutting table. After that I went to work for a window company, where I got an understanding of all the issues and how pre-installed quality is so important. It became my mission.
Back then, IG was still new in California. We went to wood window companies and offered to do all their specialty shapes. That’s how we dug out our niche in the world, with quality and doing the hard stuff: triangles, even sightlines.”
“Today, we have 55 employees in a 65,000 square foot facility.”
We do tempering, fabrication, polishing, drilling and v-grooving and are adding our own lamination line. We offer every kind of coated glass from the major manufacturers and are one of the only independent Cardinal fabricators in the west.
Our market is really competitive. The first thing new guys do, and there are lots of them, is drop their price. We have to keep earning and justifying ours.
We do that with quality.”
“What has happened in our business is that we are seeing the size of insulating glass grow tremendously.
Ten years ago, IG averaged eight square feet. Now it is closer to 15 and we are making some units that are 50, 60 and 70 square feet.
At the same time, glass, as our plant manager constantly points out, has gotten delicate. The low-e coatings are increasingly sophisticated and expensive.
Anybody can do clear glass. Coated glass is much more demanding. And any problem found after fabrication cost three to four times the money to reject.”
“I’ve made millions of units of insulating glass and seen everything that can be done to, happen to or get inside a unit. I’ve seen paper inside—I don’t know how that happened!
Our quality has always been better than good. But we knew that it could be even better. The worse thing in the world is to see even one piece of glass come back on the truck with a now-obvious defect.
Everyone buys glass from same places. The main differences in our operation are that we start with high quality equipment and the training our people have.”
“For our automated quality inspection system, we installed a FeneVision LineScanner at the beginning of our IG line after the washer.
The LineScanner goes beyond what a human could detect by looking at a piece of glass, especially a tired pair of eyes looking at glass going by all day. And in a factory, all the lighting you can put in does not duplicate natural light.
The LineScanner picks up every little defect. We’ve definitely seen a difference and are rejecting a lot more glass. We even called in a manufacturer to show them coating defects the LineScanner found.”
“It doesn’t replace the inspector, it helps him. Ours were skeptical at first, but by the third day, one said this thing’s awesome. They can make decisions in a lot less time: locate, fix, wipe, reject.
We’re archiving defects and seeing patterns. We go back and compare locations to find where defects are coming from. Most of our defects were in the smallest category for which LineScanner is checking.”
“Speed matters. It was taking five minutes to manually inspect large lites, some of which were over the inspectors heads. Now it takes only a minute to inspect and the monitor tells you right where to inspect instantly.
We are seeing savings on big pieces of glass, catching defects before we put any more time and money into that piece of glass.”
“It helps us give our customers confidence, too. People can misrepresent the source of a scratch. With all the scans in the database, we can help our customers defend themselves against claims they couldn’t defend in the past.
We’re considering another one at the end of the tempering furnace and one for the new laminating line. We’re using it as a marketing tool, because our competitors don’t have it.
Our customers need to know that they can ship our units without even looking at them. And they can. The LineScanner helps us produce the best quality glass that we can. It makes us a better supplier.”
Rusty Neubauer, owner
West Coast Insulated Glass Products