The Directors Blog: "When Will my windows be fitted?"


Whenwill my windows be fitted?

Everymonth we have a meeting of all staff to discuss ways of improving ourbusiness. Usually if there is a new issue that comes up, we willtweak our systems toeliminate the problem. Without fail, on a monthly basis the subjectof managing customer expectations regarding deliveries is one of ourtopics. If we got this right 100% of the time we wouldn’t have tokeep talking about it!

Iwould like to take this opportunity to explain to all of ourcustomers the factors that have an effect on our fittingschedule. Some of these we cannot control.

Ifan installation team starts on a job on a Monday, and its scheduledto take two days, we will book their next job in for Wednesday.We would normally do this several days in advance. We try reallyhard to get this right as customers may want to take time off work tobe there. We even look at weather and consider the time of year.Installers can fit a lot more in long summer days than in winter.If they happen to be running late or encounter a problem in thesummer they will work late to finish and keep the schedule ontrack. They cannot do this in winter as they are governedby daylight. There are occasions where the actual installationtakes longer than our surveyor has anticipated, the most commonbeing when we take the old frames out and what we expect tofind behind the plaster is not as anticipated. This would meanthat the making good will take a lot longer. We also can be delayed by weather, or if more materials are requiredfor the job. These things do not happen often but if you arethe unfortunate customer who gets the phone call to say that yourinstallation has been put back, we don’t expect you to besympathetic to our problems.

Oneof the biggest changes to our industry in the last few years has beenthe amount of colours that are foiled.Ten years ago if you wanted grey windows they would have been sentfor spraying, but now they are foiledin the colour you require. Unfortunately the extruders onlyrun the extrusion line when they have a specific volume of orders forthat colour. This means that all we can do is give our customers aneducated guess as to when their frames will arrive with us. This canrange from several days to several months depending on demand.Aluminium has also increased in popularity and the lead time on  themis two to three times longer than PVC-U products. Just getting aquote for aluminium products can take days due to the complexity.

Theother factors which can delay an installation are damaged glass,failing our quality control and a specification error. We handle500 glass sealed units every week. They have to be manually handledand are very delicate. On average we will damage or break 10-15 unitsa week which will have be remade. This will hold up the specificjobs that these units are meant for. Quality controlat our depots will also show up damaged frames  or doors, thoughfortunately not very often. If this happens a remake will againdelay the job. If it is a coloured frame and there is no profileit can delay a job for along time. I can only think of two occasionsthat this happened, but it was very frustrating for allconcerned, embarrassing for us and infuriating for our customer. Ourfinal frustration is when the wrong hardware or handles is fitted toa product in the factory. Usually this can be remedied quickly,but can occasionally delay a job for a day or two.

Priorto scheduling a fitting date and asking our customers to pay for theproduct, we physically check that the goods are in stock andcomplete. This means that if you choose to come and inspect yourproducts before paying, you can always do this if it gives you peaceof mind.

Igenuinely believe that we run this aspect of our business in asefficient a way as is practical, but it is not foolproof for thereasons I have stated. We estimate that 95% of our deliveriesor installations are on time, and rest assured we are alwaystrying to find ways to perfect the last 5%.