The problem of understanding the supply chain as mentioned by Nick (AluminiumTradeSupply) is a very real one. The arrogance of Aluminium Systems Companies is well documented and they have little or no sympathy for their customers, i.e. fabricators and even less for the end user.
Their communication is poor and they fail to keep the fabricator advised of shortages of revised delivery dates, thinking that a piece of faxed correspondence the night before is acceptable.
When there is a problem it is difficult to get any help. It is not uncommon for us to make a dozen phone calls before we can get an answer from an Area Sales Manager and even then the response is usually something sterile such as: ‘Yeah, that’s not still happening is it?’; ‘I keep telling them about that’; ‘I know what you mean, I cant even go to the software meeting any more, I get too angry.’
They release new products to the press for which stock are not available and in some cases the products themselves are not tested to requisite standards.
They issue manufacturing and pricing software to fabricators (for which they charge handsomely) which has errors and omissions which cause products to be quoted incorrectly or specified incorrectly. When this is pointed out they say ‘Thanks, we will correct that on the next software update.’ Actually they don’t say ‘thanks’ and they don’t pay for their mistake either!
I am aware of too many incidents to mention but a good example occurred recently. A large payment we made to a particular Systems Company they claimed they had not received. It had left our bank and the coordinates were correct. We duly arranged for authority for them to speak directly to our bank to find out what had happened, but the Systems Company’s response was: ‘Sorry we are too busy’! Actually they didn’t even say sorry.
The Managing Director of the same Systems Company when facing questions about their poor performance and how they could expect to get any new customers leave alone keep their existing ones, replied ‘ I am not aware that we are looking for any new customers currently’! How arrogant and insulting. He may not be looking for any but his customers are doing so constantly.
My point is that this is what we, as a fabricator, have to cope with and Systems Companies fail to understand that Fabricators and Installers have to make money the old fashioned way. They have to earn it!
To do this we have to look after our customers so that they come back willingly and recommend us. These customers of ours are ultimately the Systems Company’s customers but we have to do all the work and have all the heartache, including eroded profit margins, in looking after them.
So whereas I agree that helping the end user to understand the supply chain is fundamental in servicing them and allowing them to plan their project properly, a much more vexing problem is making the Systems Companies understand the concept of the supply-chain.
>This comment was emailed to me by Mickey at Wades Glass and Glazing: Hi ,installation company from market harborough, small trade counter, couple of fitting teams. like a lot of companies of our size, we experience day to day 'challenges'(!) and cope as we go………….our trade is unique in the general construction trade as many of our contracts are 'small works' adding up, over a year, as a lot of organisation/surveying/ordering and mountains of paperwork! That said, a quality supplier is paramount to the supply only/installation cycle working as efficiently as possible. we are supported very well by our supplier,… Read more »
>Thanks "Wadey" for your comment. We always have to allow a degree of comfort with regards to lead in times, and try to be realistic, but we are consistantly up against companies who promise the earth and dont care about upsetting customers, whereas we cannot function like this. Generally the only way to overcome is to keep customer in the light and up to date with all job details where ever possible. Bad news never gets better with age we feel!!
>what i dont get with pvc suppliers offering 5-7 day turnround on plastic windows is: assuming windows are to be installed what is the point of the 5 day turnaround when most window companies with a reasonable order book and a normal number of fitting teams would be quoting 6-10 weeks to install? How many double glazing companies are quoting 2week installations and apart from trade supply what IS the point of wanting windows in 5 days? I would assume those with no work. Most of the companies i deal with, whether ali or plastic are quoting on average 8-10… Read more »
>I'm with you on that Nick. We get our doors from Door-Stop who advertise a 3 day turn around, but we don't need them anywhere near that quick! It's impressive that they are geared up to be able to do such a thing, but we don't need it. Plus, a short turn around time can often lead to problems with the product.
>It is 100% right that providers who offer such quick turnaround time are either frustrated to get the contract or they have really bad reviews in the market, watch out!
>We're trade suppliers of uPVC sash windows. There are more demands for short lead-time windows than you may imagine. As far as we can tell, most of these requests fall into two camps. The first are from companies who aren't very busy and can install in two to three weeks time. The other group are installers who have left it late to order. Sometimes this is because they're fishing for better prices, but more often than not they've just left the order late. We get quotes back within 24 hours and – because we're busy and sash windows take a… Read more »
>Most of the time, customers have left it way too late to order, and so lead time is very crucial. This is usually due to unforeseen circumstances on building site, weather/complication etc. But we feel as though we have to be as accomodating as possible, without being unrealistic!Our installation order book is confirmed 4 weeks in advance, but even this isnt always set in stone, its surprising how many customers actually cancel fits on a regular basis, leaving us in the lurch!Aluminium is a whole other ball game. We need a much more strict lead in to contract completion as… Read more »