It’s a question many window companies struggle with: make or buy your insulating glass? There are pros and cons associated with each technique. Western Window Systems, based in Phoenix, announced last week that it will no longer be manufacturing insulating glass, a business in which the company has been involved since it started in 1959.
The process will now come courtesy of partner (and down-the-street neighbor) All Weather Tempering. Western Window says the new partnership will allow it to expand its production capacity, continue its aggressive lead times, and provide much-needed space on its manufacturing floor for the development of future product lines.
The change was due in part to a big problem, albeit a good one—strong growth.
“We’ve seen year over year growth of nearly 50 percent in each of the last three years. Through the first quarter of 2014, we’re up 75 percent over 2013,” says president Jason Funk. “That kind of growth is rare in this business and it presents unique challenges. One of the biggest for us was space. We knew we were going to need additional space on our manufacturing floor to build more products. When we looked at which parts of our process we could partner on to utilize it in the most efficient way, insulating glass was a natural choice.”
Funk adds that the company’s insulating glass machine took up a lot of room on the floor, and its aging equipment made it unreliable.
“Through our partnership with All Weather, we gain an innovative and dependable piece of machinery that not only saves us space, but also can keep up with our rate of growth,” he adds.
Funk says the decision to move to All Weather was a great match of core values.
“Western has three core values that drive our business: excellence, innovation and partnership. When we decided to find an insulating glass partner, All Weather was ideal because of its commitment to these values, too. They focus on quality and pay attention to the details; they invest in some of the most innovative equipment on the market; and their leadership team members are true partners in the industry. We view All Weather not just as a key vendor, but an extension of our business.”
All Weather’s fully automatic system features warm edge thermoplastic spacer (TPS) technology, and Funk says the company will begin this week handling the majority of insulating glass production. He adds that employees at Western Window Systems formerly involved in insulating glass manufacturing will be utilized in other areas.
Tara Taffera is a contributing writer for USGNN.com.