Endless problems with glass and mounting hardware problems are just two of the well voiced gripes from the industry in recent months. And they’re not problems that are going away. On the contrary, it’s becoming a problem more and more reported. If you’re an installer, there is nothing worse than receiving a product on delivery only to find that there’s a problem.
It’s all about the quality control
I cannot impress enough the importance of decent quality control systems at every level. I know that when we get deliveries at our place, we actively check the product for anything defective. The last thing we want is to start installing new products in people’s homes to then find there is a problem. It can hold the whole job up, with payment being withheld at the end.
So when I start seeing mumblings from other companies complaining about issues, I have to start wondering if the same level of quality control is being administered further up the chain.
At the end of the day, installers have to trust everyone else further up the chain to make sure that the products are produced, handled and delivered with care at every stage. If a mistake is made in the beginning, and it’s not picked up at the end, that means every level of QC has failed in between. Or, if it’s not made at the beginning of the chain, and there is a problem, it means someone in the middle dropped the ball.
A solid quality control system has to be able to pick up mistakes be it as one part of the chain picks up from the other, or at the very least spot them before the product gets delivered to the installer.
Catching mistakes before they progress
The whole idea of quality control is to ensure that any windows and doors with mistakes are spotted and prevented from being delivered to installers. The system of course isn’t perfect, humans are involved. We’re good, but we make mistakes.
Except given the types of grumblings I’m seeing and being told of in private, the same mistakes are happening continuously, and increasing in number. Poor glass quality and hardware issues are the two popular ones at the moment.
It is vital that companies further up in the chain find and remove these mistakes from products before they are delivered to installers. Windows and doors with marks, with scratches and scuffs on the glass, with the wrong hardware, with chunks out of the product etc are no good to the installer. They can’t fit them, and when they can’t fit them they cannot get paid.
I believe there is a problem with quality control linked to the general attitude to construction and manufacturing in Britain. That is a post for another day. But if our industry is to deliver on the promises of supplying high quality products to installers and them homeowners, a robust, effective quality control system has to be in place at every level to filter out problem products.