It’s June, and that means it’s summer vacation season. My family and I recently returned from a week-long trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico, where we stayed at an all-inclusive resort and enjoyed some quality time together.
A trip like that takes a good amount of planning, and when it’s finally time to board the airplane, you head to your destination with certain expectations. You expect your checked bags will arrive at the same time you do. You expect your room to be ready when you check into the hotel, and you expect everything to work properly. Your summer vacation experience ought to meet your expectations, or even exceed them.
For that to happen, it takes a lot of people—from the travel agent to the airline employees to the resort staff—doing their jobs correctly. And it works the same way in just about any industry you can think of. Creating a great customer experience requires doing all the “little things” right from beginning to end.
The fenestration industry is no different, and for us, summer means a busy season. Orders are up, and we need to be getting our products shipped more quickly and more efficiently. And we need to do it while meeting the needs—and expectations—of our customers.
Doing the “little things” is more critical at this time than ever. We need to make sure we’re staying organized, from the point where our raw materials arrive at the plant, through the production process and out the door to the customer. We need to be following every one of our maintenance best practices. Carving out that time in your day to make sure your glass washing station, for instance, is operating properly with clean water at the right temperature is absolutely critical, even if it means interrupting production for a brief period of time. Because your customers expect their glass to be clean, free of scratches and defects and perform to their expectations. They expect on-time delivery, and that can be compromised if you’re experiencing a production slump because of an unexpected breakdown.
This year, there’s another factor at play: the cost of just about every raw material in the glass industry is rising. I noted a little while back that President Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum had created some uncertainty in the price market. As of this writing, the U.S. has imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. Whatever you might think of the politics behind those decisions is irrelevant when it comes to providing quality products to the customer. In an environment where prices are rising, providing an exceptional experience is more important than ever.
At the end of the day, we always need to be thinking about that customer experience and how we can improve it. We can do that in every area of our manufacturing—our commitment to maintenance, to employee safety and operational excellence. Everything that happens on the shop floor contributes to how we earn business—and keep it.