Reduce Errors for Increased Partner Harmony and Profitability

Jun 3, 2011

It’s a partnership between the Manufacturer and the Dealer

In the manufacturing process, especially in the manufacturing of custom products, errors do occur. No matter how infrequently they happen, these errors have negative effects on the bottom line and create problems for the dealer, their installer, and their client. An unhappy client will delay payment and refrain from giving referrals. The effective handling of these issues will satisfy the customers and maintain the profitability expectations of both the dealer and manufacturer.

Errors can occur at any stage of the project process, the sale stage, manufacturing stage, the shipping stage, and finally the installation stage. No matter the source, Sun Glow will quickly remedy any issue within its control. If it is not a Sun Glow caused issue, Sun Glow will work with the dealer at a reduced rate to correct the problem. Being upfront and taking responsibility for the error should be expected from both parties in the manufacturer/ dealer partnership in order to maintain a healthy working relationship.

As with most problems, prevention is far more effective than damage control. Unfortunately, there are many ways that a project can go awry; what·s worse is that any flaw will likely go undetected until the installation stage. The following paragraphs address the stages of a project and what can go wrong and how Sun Glow can help.

Prevention

To ensure a successful project there are steps that we can take at each stage:

Selling Stage

  • Understand the product, what the limitations and possibilities are, and know what is involved in the installation.
  • Will the product fit where the client would like to see it?
  • Which valances will work?
  • Are there any obstructions to the smooth operation of the shade moving up and down like window cranks, etc.?
  • Are the products visually compatible? Depending on the size of the blind, we use the appropriate tube and clutch, it is up to you to let us know that the blinds will reside in the same room and that they should all use the same components – which will be the larger of the size – you must ensure that the larger size will work in every window.

How can Sun Glow help?

We have developed a Sample Bag which contains valance samples, bracket samples, chain and bottom rail samples, four operational hand samples, a retail price guide, product order forms and a fabric sample book. The bags are available for purchase and can be customized to display your name or logo on the outside pocket (thanks to our graphic shade process)

Even without a sample bag, valance and bracket samples are available free of charge. Our price guides and web site provide product drawings and specifications and clearly list all limitations as to fabric widths, valances options, seaming and railroading. We also have installation instructions for every product. We will accommodate training seminars either at our showroom or at yours if requested.

Writing the Order

Ensure the order is clearly written on our order forms and double check all your entries. Add a qualitative description or a drawing if the project is unusual or complex.

How can Sun Glow help?

Within 24 hours after receiving your order, we will send you a confirmation with the target shipping date and price. We double check your order to ensure that the product is within limitations and there are no contradictions. When you receive the confirmation please check it, if we don·t hear from you, your order will be released to production.

Manufacturing Stage

There are many steps in the fabrication process such as order entry, material preparation, fabrication, and packaging for shipment. An error can occur in any of these stages.

How can Sun Glow help?

Quality control during the entire throughput is essential and has been implemented.

Shipping Stage

Damage can be caused by rough handling or boxes being lost or mis-delivered. If a box arrives from a common carrier with visible damage, note it on the bill of landing while the driver is present. Look for open box flaps, crushed box ends, bent cartons and puncture holes that may lead to hidden internal damage. Other indicators of possible damage are torn poly bags and damaged internal shade protection packaging.

Of course you would expect to receive a complete, accurate, quality finished product exactly as per your specifications but mistakes may happen: When you receive your finished goods open the box and do a visual inspection – check fabric, colour, valance option, chain selection, bottom bar, perhaps do a count. All these items can be easily checked. Ensure the installation hardware is included and it looks correct.

It is best to identify it before the client sees it. One error and the client will scrutinize the whole job. Time spend before the job goes to the installer could save you and us a lot of aggravation and money.

How can Sun Glow help?

Sun Glow takes extreme care in packaging product to avoid breakage and shifting in transportation. Generally brackets in orders of less than ten shades are included with the individual shade in its poly bag. For shades of 11 or more, the brackets are all put in a separate box.

The success of a job is determined at the installation.

Even if all other stages go well, an inexperienced or sloppy installer could completely derail the job. It is essential for an installer to have full understanding of any proprietary systems they are working with and to be fully equipped the tools and supplies to do the job right the first time. If the installation has certain intricacies that are not completely apparent, the designer or whoever sold the job should be present at the installation to ensure the job is installed as intended.

On the contrary, if there have been undetected errors at the selling stage, the manufacturing stage, or the delivery stage, and are only identified at the installation stage, the installer has the ability to save the day (within reason) if he is skilled and resourceful. I wanted a better understanding of what goes on at a job site, so I decided to go out on an installation with an experienced commercial installer that does work for many dealers. It was a valuable experience during which I learned many tips that will reduce the potential for errors and even solve problems at the installation site.

Installation Tips

Here are some tips from installers who have a technician mindset (able to repair and modify), who are problem solvers, and who do what it takes to complete the job so that the shades are securely mounted and functioning as intended the first time. Of course, if the wrong fabric, colour, options or the wrong size was sent, there is little the installer could do; except to communicate with the designer to find a professional plan of action to resolve the problem.

If the installation is in a residence, the installer must take care to keep the premises clean. This begins with removing his shoes and bringing indoor shoes along. At the end of the job, removal of all cardboard and packaging will be appreciated by the client.

Sometimes the installer will also be the one that has done the site measures and will know what the issues of the installation will be so that he could be prepared. Where the installer has not done the site measure, preparation is even more critical as they are preparing for the unknown.

The installer should go to any job prepared with tools and supplies he may need:

Tools

Screw drivers, Drill, Level, Pliers, Vic Grip, Hammer, Chain Tool or chain connector, Masking tape, Shims, Screws of various sizes, Anchors for hollow walls, Plugs for concrete, Toggle bolt for heavy or motorized shades, ladder, step stool, chop saw with metal blade (if a cut down is necessary), and a vacuum for clean up.

Supplies: Standard Shade Hardware

Various clutch and end plug sizes, extra chain, connectors and stop balls, brackets of varing sizes, including those for valances, end caps etc. Sun Glow has available an Installer·s Tool Box that includes a variety of essentials that allow the install to solve many potential issues on site, without a return visit. We will replenish the items used as they are depleted.

Levelling

In older structures, windows are not always square and shims are required to level many of the shades. In both cases an unlevel shade will result in tracking, the fabric gathering, or the sides fraying.

Secure Handling

Not all environments are well suited for supporting a shade. There are often soft ceiling in spots that will not hold the mounting bracket screws. Anchors must be used to secure the brackets firmly with no chance of falling.

Minimize Handling

The careful handling of the product will reduce the opportunity for soiling and breakage. At Sun Glow, we secure our shades with masking tape to prevent the shade from unwinding. The installer handled the shade by the tape until it was installed and then removed the tape.

Stop Balls

Test the shade by raising it up and down to ensure it functions properly and make certain that the stop balls are added. One stop ball is used to control the raised position and one the lowered position. If the stop balls are not placed correctly, the shade could roll too far up and flip over, or roll too far down and come off the tube. Placement and testing are critical.

When dealing with a series of windows with identical shades, care must be taken to ensure that the stop balls are placed so that each shade stops in the identical position, both when up and down to give a uniform look.

Recognize and Correct Travelling

On narrow and very long shades the probability of traveling is very high. This is where the shade does not roll up evenly or too far to one side. If the shade is traveling towards the clutch, it will fray. To correct this, unroll the shade all the way down so that the tube is visible and place a very small piece of tape on the tube – on the side you want the shade to pull back to. If traveling towards the clutch the tape should go toward the end plug side. This may take some trial and error by varying the size of the piece of tape until the shade rolls up perfectly.