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.
Investing to be flexible and competitive
“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.
Ease of use
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.
First be good at the basics
“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.
Good choices, good future
“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.”