Regarding the complexity of installing software for windows and doors, one of the things prospective customers regularly ask is ‘why can’t we just install a software package to take control of all aspects of the business in a couple of days’?

It’s a good question which doesn’t have a simple answer. But let’s try with a simple answer anyway: putting in a control system for a windows and doors producer isn’t the same as, say, installing an accounting package like Xero, MYOB or Intuit. Nor is it like installing the more comprehensive ERP systems from NetSuite, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and the like.

Now for the more complicated answer. While you know your company and its inventory very well, the complexity of producing windows and doors for an entire market goes far beyond. There are literally hundreds of thousands of variables involved to produce hundreds and thousands of differing sizes, types and colors of windows and doors, and then all the fittings which go along with them.

The industry is essentially bespoke manufacturing. While it might not seem like that from your individual perspective, this is absolutely the case.

What that means for a software provider is that every implementation is different. It must be to cater for your specific needs, because there are no standard rules for any deployment. That’s a vastly different circumstance to setting up an accounting package, which can be set up in an afternoon.

It varies greatly depending on what type of business you have, from a one man operation to curtain wall contractor, however, if you were to take a medium size company with their own window and door systems, implementing V6 is likely to take around 6 months. It is an enterprise software project and that means it doesn’t happen overnight. It also means you are in for a substantial investment of time and money.

Which brings us to the important question of ‘why bother’? Let’s start with what your systems look like right now.

You’ve probably got an accounting system like one we mentioned above. Typically, you’ll also have a lot of spreadsheets – one for quotes, another for cutting lists, and probably more than a few extra to keep track of things. You’re probably also using some Word documents to fill in the gaps.

The trouble with this arrangement is something I call ‘data loss’. Spreadsheets might do cutting lists quite well, but they will never do the drawings. Word documents might do quotes quite well, but they don’t relate to the spreadsheet or the drawings. In other words, these tools might go some way to filling the gaps, but space remains and things either go missing or are overlooked. This drives costs up and efficiency down; it might be OK for a small company, but as you start to scale, the inefficiencies start choking your business and can even put a hard cap on your growth.

Putting in an engineering software package means you get full control and visibility from quote all the way through to manufacture. It saves time, eliminates repetitive work (which is a bleeding cut most manufacturers don’t notice until it’s gone), it smooths out workflows (none of those ‘bumps’ in business which come in along with big quotes and projects) and establishes corporate memory.

Of course, at the end of the day, it all comes down to return on investment – and in that department, we’ve seen some startling results – how’s a 40 percent increase in production with a 40 percent reduction in staff sound? It’s only going to be possible with software which accelerates productivity.