If you’re in the door and window industry you know the importance of quality control—but do you know the importance of quality management?
“Quality management requires a new way of looking at your customers,” said Bill Lingnell, insulating engineering consultant atConsulting Services, when he spoke at a recent global industry event. “Quality goes all the way from start to finish to keep the end customer happy.”
The end customers “are the ones who decide how good your quality system really is,” said Lingnell.
A system with flaws will include insulating glass (IG) failures, but it doesn’t always come down to major problems.
“A desiccated matrix that fell out of the IG – that’s a failure,” he said. But, according to Lingnell, it’s not always about a failed seal.
“Is there a visual obstruction?” asked Lingnell.
“Fingerprints would be a failure,” he answered. “It’s not what the customer ordered.”
He encouraged attendees to define an IG failure in their plants: a fogged unit, cracked glass, damaged coating, etc.
“You may not even know there is an IG failure because the homeowner might not ever report it or [doesn’t] know who supplied the units, etc. Be proactive in learning about your failures,” he said.
He also told attendees to look for materials that can cause problems: spacers, oils, cleaning solvents, sealants, grilles, etc.
“When you’re in the plant making windows or on-site glazing, you have to pay attention to these things,” he said.
So how do window companies develop a quality management system? Pre-assess by looking at the cost-benefit analysis, the cost of quality, how to implement the process, what to include/things to report on, and perform internal audits, just to name a few.
“A quality system is about how to improve,” said Lingnell. “A quality management system includes the following: say what you do, do what you say, and be able to prove it. If you’ve ever been involved in a litigation system being able to prove what you’ve done [is] important because you’ll be judged on that.”
Documentation of the system, the process and the production is also key.
“Documenting will help you get to where you want to be next,” said Lingnell.
But none of the above steps will mean anything without a firm commitment from senior executives. They, in turn, need to communicate with employees, and all need to commit to the quality management system, as well as to continuous improvement.
“Everyone has to buy into it,” said Lingnell. “They also have to make sure the workforce is well-trained and that they know what they are doing. If there is a change in operations, make sure that training is carried out.”