FeneTech News and Updates

Check out the latest news, updates, testimonials, and publications about FeneTech’s FeneVision ERP software solutions.

See what those within the industry have to say about FeneVision ERP software solutions, and read the latest news about our ever-evolving company and its commitment to excellence.  

2015-10-11 20_48_05-Glass Magazine October 2015In a recently published article in Glass Magazine, Nicky Whitehouse from Vitrum Glass describes the “FeneVision Experience” …

[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.

http://www.glassmagazinedigital.com/publication/?i=275181

“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.”

Started from nothing

“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.”

Growing in the highly competitive Southern California IG market

“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.”

Larger IG, more delicate glass

“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.”

Seen everything that can go wrong

“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.”

Automating inspection

“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.”

Not replacing the inspector

“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 and savings

“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.”

Giving customers confidence

“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
westcoastglass.com

See how FeneVision LineScanner can improve your quality. Visit fenevision.com or contact Nate Huffman at 330.954.7514 or nate.huffman@fenetech.com.

FeneTech has added to their repertoire of design software their newest development—the Shower Door Designer. FeneVision Shower Door Designer is FeneTech’s latest CAD application.

The Shower Door Designer uses the standard FeneVision Options Wizard and CAD Designer capability, offering a two-dimensional as well as a three-dimensional view of newly created designs. This new functionality is unique in that it operates independently from any fitting manufacturer, handling fittings from different suppliers all while utilizing the same database.

For more information on Shower Door Designer, contact your FeneTech representative.

“Our company was started in 1909. A willingness to change over the years is a big reason we’re still in business and growing more than 100 years later.

Syracuse Glass was initially a glass distributor but over the years evolved into a fabricator. In 1973, we began making insulating glass as an early adopter of double glazing. In the early 2000s, we sold off our auto glass business, which at one time was 50 percent of our revenue.” (more…)

Thompson IG MichiganThompson I.G., a leading supplier of fabricated glass for the commercial, residential architectural and recreational, mass transit and commercial vehicle markets, is upping its already high commitment to quality glass products.

Located one hour northwest of Detroit in Fenton, Michigan, Thompson I.G. serves customers throughout North America with innovative and high-performance insulating, tempered, laminated, specialty, digitally-printed and Pleotint’s Suntuitive® dynamic glass products.

To help ensure its flagship insulating glass products are defect-free, the company has installed a FeneVision LineScanner automated quality scanner after the washer and before the build station.

“We offer our glazing contractor and manufacturer customers a practically unlimited range of aesthetic and technological choices,” said Lorne Flaig, vice president of customer and supplier services for Thompson I.G. “Automating inspection before an essential production step has improved our outcomes and yield.”

Founded in 1989, Thompson can produce IG units up to 80 x 138 inches and offers warm edge spacers, low-e coatings and argon fills. It has two cutting lines, a tempering oven with convection heat and advanced lamination and autoclave technology and makes specialty glass, digitally printed and spandrel glass.

“Our emphasis is on customer service, short lead times and high-performance products,” Flaig said. “The LineScanner helps us get more product right and to the customer when they want it.”

The LineScanner detects inclusions, scratches, finger prints, stains, chips and more. Thompson’s unit is fully integrated with their production system and provides logo check to ensure the logo on each unit is in the right location.

Nate Huffman of FeneTech, which sells the FeneVision LineScanner in North America, said, “Automated scanners helps operators consistently find glass defects and confirm the size and fabrication locations. It can be used on individual lites as well as dual and triple IG’s.”

The LineScanner is accurate at speeds of up to 180 feet per minute and can be made up to almost 11 feet wide (3.3m). Mounting can be horizontal or vertical with as little as 2.75 inches clearance to the glass.

To learn more about Thompson I.G.’s quality glass products please visit www.thompsonig.com or call 800.650.9001.

FeneTech develops and markets industry leading software and quality systems for window and door manufacturers and glass fabrication companies and provides implementation, training and support services. Headquarters are in Aurora, Ohio with offices in Luxembourg.

“We started Tristar Glass Products from scratch in 2005. In 2015, we’ll open our third fabrication facility and reach 200 employees.”

We’re an architectural and decorative glass fabricator certified by PPG and Guardian. Most of our business comes through commercial glazing companies. Caring for customers is a big part of what we preach from the top down. We take pride in it.

Service and loyalty sets us apart. We have a higher level of commitment to the extra things. We rush orders, we do favors. We get the right products to our customers on a timely basis and try to never say no.”

Gaining market share and quality people

“I had worked in the industry for many years and owned a glass fabrication company with my brother, which we sold in 1995. When my non-compete expired in 2005, I immediately opened Tristar for business. I saw the need and felt we could do a better job than the competition.

Fortunately, we never saw a bad downturn in 2008. The regional economy certainly slowed but it was not like the coasts. We’ve been able to pick up market share and buy equipment and expand our capabilities at reasonable prices.

We’ve also been able to find quality people at each step, which is why we were able to open a facility in Dallas in 2012—the same year we moved and expanded our Oklahoma plant—and will open in Houston this year.”

People drive our business

“People drive the business, and the people who work here and that we hire wholeheartedly share our belief that our primary concern is taking care of our customers.”

The Houston facility is 66,000 square feet featuring a state-of the-art convection furnace with a bed load size of 130 inches by 240 inches, the largest of its kind in the United States.

We can go big because we have good systems, great customers and a lot of people dedicated to providing exceptional service and quality.

We also have a second website, tristarvisions.com, for our decorative glass division, which offers a full range of services for interior and exterior applications.”

Getting ready to grow

“There’s lots of interaction and coordination in this business and we strive to never make it difficult or unpleasant to deal with us, especially during tough situations.

We invested in FeneVision in 2010. Our software up to that point was strictly an order entry program someone locally had written. It was doing the job but we were seeing our potential to grow. We knew we needed to have robust systems.

We looked for software that could do what we wanted and came from a company that could give us the support we need when we need it. We wanted one package that could do everything for us.

We actually began implementing another program and were quickly aware that it couldn’t do what was promised.

That’s when we selected FeneVision. You could see that the people at FeneTech saw the need for strong systems for fabricators.”

Seeing the entire process

“FeneVision takes us through the entire process.

My wife Karen is the company controller. She likes the ability to go in and take an order and track it all the way through to where we ship it and invoice the customer. We can see what happened all along the process. We can find it right down to a customer’s location.

We’re trying to automate our processes more and more and even move toward touchless production. Currently we are ready to move into laser marking from barcoding.”

No complacency

“All fabricators have similar equipment and ways to take care of customers. We try not to get complacent or think we are better than we are.

We operate with a high level of commitment because this is our livelihood. We take it personally when something goes wrong, whether it’s our fault or not. It’s how we respond that matters, that helps drive our growth.

When we saw opportunities for expansion, FeneTech and FeneVision looked to be in the best place to help us manage it. Today, FeneVision is supporting our growth.

It was an investment but no one would give it up and go back. We all really appreciate what it does for us.”

Tim Kelley, president
Tristar Glass
tristarglass.com

 

“You can consider me a window geek. I grew up in the business—at one point we lived on the second floor of the plant. I’ve done just about every job in the company. I still have a scar on my hand from trying to carry too much glass.

We’ve grown 600 percent in the last decade. Almost as soon as we’ve expanded our facilities, it seems we’ve had to begin to plan for more. Yet as fast as we grow, I only have to look at that scar to remind myself to focus on what really matters. For Thompson Creek, that is delivering the best possible customer experience for every customer every day.

Our motto is trust your home to Thompson Creek. We want people to be house proud, which is why we directly sell, install and back every one of the more than 60,000 replacement windows we make each year.”

Building in quality up front

“Growing up in the business, I learned first-hand how important it is to build in quality up front. Going direct was a decision we made in 2001, and we’ve never regretted it.

Attention to detail matters, so we invest in all areas of that customer experience. We have an extensive showroom where people can see what they will get and where they can get to know us. We offer great standard features and desirable options.

And we install replacement windows and doors in less than 30 days. Customers want to see the improvement in their homes as soon as possible. We work as a team to make it happen. And we back it all up with a transferable double lifetime guarantee.”

A belief in technology—and in reducing errors

“My family started the company in 1980. 25 years later, we were still operating like a small business using a home-grown DOS-based system that wasn’t going to be able to meet our needs. We needed something that would grow with us.

We installed FeneVision in 2005. We might have looked at some other software, but we had a lot of confidence in our referral source. When we looked at the software, we liked what we saw and moved pretty quickly.

We believe in technology. We believe in reducing errors. The fewer times we enter the same data, the more it passes through our system, the less chance for human error. Getting it right enables us to be fast and accurate.”

Outside opinion

“FeneVision helps us do that. It’s such a good match for us, so good on the floor, so good at material requirements planning. It allows us to interface with any new equipment or software that we have added to business, including the SAP order entry system we use for all our businesses.

We had a consultant come in a while ago, and the only software he recommended we keep was FeneVision. It is the only business software we haven’t had to replace as we have grown.

FeneVision has definitely evolved and they involve users in the process of determining where to improve. That they listen and respond really speaks to their commitment to their customers.

In addition, over the nine years we’ve been with them, we still work with many of the same support people we started with. They’ve become part of our team, which is the kind of partnership we look for in our business relationships.”

A good model and the right priorities

“We’re fortunate that our business model continues to put us in a position to grow. Even so, customer satisfaction is and always will be our top priority.

We knew our investment in FeneVision was designed to support our longer term growth plan at every turn. There is just no need to replace it because there are no limits with FeneVision.”

Rick Wuest, president
Thompson Creek Window Company
thompsoncreek.com