David Barnes: Follow-up on the 2018 Spring Message
At the end of every year we take the time to sit down and analyze areas where we perform well, and areas where we can use improvement. In early Spring, we announced a set of goals that we had set for ourselves for the remainder of the 2018 year going into 2019. While we have not gotten to where we need to be, we have taken great strides to get us there. We have made many changes internally and the impact of these changes will become more visible in 2019.
Becoming a Company That is Easy to Do Business with
We started out in 1982 as a small six-person team producing windows, and on October 18th we celebrated Viwinco’s 36th birthday. While we now have a total of 194,000 sq. ft. and a much larger staff size, we still pride ourselves on being a family-owned and operated company, and value our core principles that have gotten us to where we are today.
Throughout 2018 we have redesigned a number of policies and procedures that will help strengthen our communication, enhancing our ability to produce solutions for all customer needs. With a focus on our customers, quality products, and low lead times we want the decision to choose Viwinco Windows to be a no-brainer.
In manufacturing, being able to create a quality product is only one small part of the challenge. The remainder is being able to consistently reproduce that product, free of manufacturing imperfections. Coming into 2018, we knew that improving quality consistency should be a main focus.
In August we brought on a new Director of Manufacturing Operations who has extensive experience in analyzing and streamlining process flow and is working to revamp our quality assurance department. Some of the areas of improvement he has been focusing on are tracking quality issues and streamlining plant production flow. While these changes may not yet be visible, we will be continuing to make progress throughout the 2019 year.
Over the next few years, we will be investing heavily into machinery for our in-house glass shop Some machinery is already on the way and we are expecting to improve our insulated glass quality through some state of the art manufacturing processes.
100% On-Time Deliveries
Since the beginning, we took pride in our ability to provide the customer with short lead times on orders. This in part has much to do with our capability to control the source and manufacture most of our products in house. Many times this year we have not been able to maintain our short lead times that our customers have come to expect and depend on.
To help us maintain 100% on-time deliveries, in August we brought on a new Director of Supply Chain. Some of the high level things he has worked on include revamping our shipping and loading procedures, ensuring our raw materials are ordered on-time and in good condition, and focusing on holding our vendors more accountable to meet delivery dates and quality.
The aforementioned capital expenditure program was designed with the expansion of our glass shop in mind, which is currently one of the most significant bottlenecks in production. The new machinery we are bringing to our glass shop will increase capacity, with an emphasis on tempering and laminating glass to be able to support our OceanView impact line growth.
A Sales Force and Customer Service Department That is an Asset to Viwinco and Our Customers
Our Salesmen and Customer Service reps are generally the first point of contact between customers and Viwinco. In 2018 we have made substantial improvements to our salesforce and Customer Service Department.
Our Sales team has seen significant changes with the addition of several new salesmen. Characteristics that we have identified as a priority when bringing on new salesmen are their organizational skills, their detailed follow-up skills, and their ability to work with customers as a partner and problem solver, not just as a salesman. To assist with our growth in the southern territories, we have divided North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia between two salesmen, to allow for us to provide better support to our southern customers. We have also made major changes to our customer service department and welcome Justine Rushing as our newest customer service rep.
At Viwinco we consider our people are greatest asset and to assist in our companywide education we brought onboard a new Corporate Trainer. Having accumulated over a decade’s worth of experience as both an English and Spanish teacher, our Corporate Trainer is proficient at effectively communicating new concepts to our workforce. He has developed unique onboarding processes for each role here at Viwinco and created training programs such as team building and leadership workshops and our recent forklift training class. He also established initiatives to promote interoffice communication such as bilingual courses and Spanish immersion lunches on Wednesdays as well as team building and leadership workshops.
Comprehensive and Easy to Use Quoting Software
We are working on a new window quoting software called ViwinQuote 2 (VQ2). VQ2 has been developed from the ground up so that we can fully customize it with productivity and ease of use in mind. We are impressed with the progress of VQ2 and are proud to announce that it is entering its final stages of production. Our I.T. department is working on adding additional features that are constantly being tested for bugs, to ensure that when it is officially rolled out there will not be any hiccups. Most of the critical bugs have been resolved, but there are still smaller issues that we need to address. It is imperative that we fix these now to save you frustration further down the line.
There are still features we need to add and bugs that need to be resolved. We currently have a few beta sites running and want everyone live before Spring 2019.
A Service Policy and Program That Makes Sense for All Parties
We understand that our service policy has been lacking in some aspects in regard to policies offered by our competitors. Earlier this year we began working on a service policy that would be fair to both parties. There are still details we are working out, but we hope to initiate our new policy next year.
To enhance our service department, we brought on board a second service tech, who has been working closely with our current service tech for the past two months, learning the ins and outs of the service tech role. He is making great progress and starting next year he will be out on his own.
Continued Focus on Tools and Programs to Assist Our Customers in Selling and Servicing Our Products
We have put out an extensive video library containing how-to’s and window maintenance videos to teach customers quick and easy fixes for their windows. Going forward we will continue to create educational videos to further empower our customers.
Our marketing department has created a number of informative literature pieces such as our line-guide and color cards which can help our customers identify selling points and additional features offered on our many products. We have also placed a strong focus on generating informative and educational blog content highlighting all things relating to Viwinco. We have also taken strides in developing a strong social media presence to better communicate through online communities. Folllow us to learn more about the many changes happening at Viwinco!
Our website is designed to be a library which contains an enormous amount of information ranging from product information and educational content to drawings and testing data. The site is designed around the user experience and we work to make the content as easily accessible as possible. We value our company transparency online and encourage our customers and salesforce to use our website as a main reference point when selling our products.
Finally, we kicked off a major renovation in our Research and Development building located just across the street from our main facility. We are converting the large space on the second floor into a large training facility which will include a state-of-the-art computer lab as well as a classroom. We will use the new learning facility to conduct workshops and training seminars for employees new and old. Moving forward, the new training facility will also be a strong focal point of our plant tours. This project is moving quickly and we are projecting its completion for mid-January 2019.