YLTNO stands for: Your Lead Time, Not Ours. It was a manufacturing principle introduced by one of the industry’s well known aluminium manufacturers, Origin. At first they applied this principle to their bi-folding doors business back in 2011. This was the press release at the time:

UK-based sliding folding door manufacturer Origin has become the first in the industry to remove lead times on a selection of its Easifold door systems.

It is the second industry-leading development by the Buckinghamshire-based company which recently introduced a 20-year guarantee on its Easifold door systems, and one which is already receiving plaudits from installers.

The new delivery standards, “Your lead time, not ours,” are effective immediately, enabling Origin’s nationwide network of approved installers to order Easifold folding sliding door systems in any configuration and from a choice of their most popular standard colours, to suit their customers’ requirements.

This has already helped installers such as Bristol Bifold and Sliding Door Company win orders they may not otherwise have won.

Managing director Simon Lippett said that within a few weeks of the launch of this initiative they had won several orders worth on average £3,500 to £8,000 due to this facility.

“It has made the difference between making a sale and not as most manufacturers have a four to twelve-week lead time,” he said.

Disgruntled customers, faced with builders explaining they had to wait weeks for the folding sliding doors to arrive, have been hugely grateful to discover that Origin can supply the doors when they were needed on site, without delay.

“For us to be able to say we can get Easifold doors when we need them makes all the difference.”

In addition to the “Your lead time not ours,” capability there will also be a new “Awaiting dimensions,” facility which will allow orders to be placed but sizes to be confirmed at a later date, helping to ensure that Easifold doors will be ready to install as soon as they are required.

Bristol Bifold are so impressed with both facilities they will be promoting them on their own websites.

“Origin are definitely moving in the right direction as no other manufacturer offers these facilities,” said Mr Lippett.

Origin sales director Andy Halsall said: “We have a range of cleverly-designed, beautifully-made and exquisitely-finished sliding folding doors but our research confirmed that is not enough if they are not available quickly so we introduced the “Your lead time, not ours” to cater for the customers’ need.”

View the article on the Origin website here

At the time this was a big deal. We were just coming out of the worst of the recession, and the industry was starting out on it’s path towards mass-diversification. In 2011, as the press release shows, lead times for bi-folding doors were anywhere between 4 weeks to 12 weeks. So to come out with such a bold move drew much attention.

Some saw it as revolutionary, some saw it utter madness. Presumably competitors. Yet, here we are, 6 years later, and Origin are about to do it all again, but with their windows.

YLTNO on aluminium windows

To go with their bi-folds, Origin has now launched what they describe as a “world first” in the manufacturing sphere by offering their “your lead time, not ours” service on their aluminium windows.

In an article published on Window News:

Andy Halsall, MD at Origin, comments: “We first introduced our ‘Your Lead Time, Not Ours’ delivery promise on the Origin Bi-fold Door, which revolutionised the fenestration industry’s manufacturing and lead times standard. The logical next step was to bring the Origin Window in line with this, but manufacturing a window is more complicated than a bi-fold door. It can come in a variety of sizes and configurations of squares, so the manufacturing process is unique each time a window is made. So, as with everything we do at Origin, we wanted to ensure we were 100 per cent confident in our offering, before launching it to our partners. We are now at that stage, and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have on our partners, and to see how much disruption it will cause in an already innovative marketplace.”

Origin has invested over £350,000 in introducing the Origin Window to its YLTNO promise, predicting that it is going to have a significant impact on the way the fenestration industry operates moving forward. This investment includes leasing additional space to house the increased levels of stock being kept on site. This means that Origin has a contingency plan in place, and is not reliant on any third parties to ensure that the 100 per cent record Origin currently boasts stays intact.

After six years, if anyone doubted whether YLTNO would work, here’s your proof. Origin have laid down a few quid to make it happen, in anticipation of increased orders, increased stock and generally higher demand. Extra machinery and materials have had to be bought too. This is a major step for any business, but to implement that investment to be able to fabricate and deliver high-end aluminium windows to any delivery date is a big deal.

DGB Business

It will change things

Look at the Amazon example. The digital revolution has allowed us to live in a world where we can order pretty much anything and expect it a few days later, or even just hours later now. Amazon were (from memory) the first major business to understand the power of the internet and commerce and have since revolutionised the way we shop. Every other company was left caught in it’s wake and have been catching up ever since. Amazon even make little buttons you can press around your home to let you re-order certain household products.

Back then, there weren’t many companies in the business of rapid lead times. There were one or two, but nothing on the scale of what Origin had just announced. Since then, fabricators have been working hard to reduce their own lead times in response, and we now see an industry that is able to delivery many products, not just aluminium bi-folds, in a matter of days, or a couple of weeks max.

This is what I think is going to happen again. Giving installers the ability to order their aluminium windows with Origin, pick a delivery date even if it is on extremely short notice, and crack on with their installation gives both company and home owner rapid turnaround and rapid cash flow. So long as Origin deliver on product quality and customer service too, I’m pretty sure this is going to be another hit.

From here though, I expect others to be following suit. Perhaps not in exactly the same way as Origin, not every fabricator has £350k to spend. But, I do expect many fabricators, not just in aluminium but cross-materials, to be looking at how they too can streamline their processes and work to bring down their own lead times and increase their delivery flexibility.

Some may argue as to whether we need to create a culture where windows and doors, be it value end or high end, can be made and delivered in a matter of days, when most installers have lead times of at least four weeks. Honestly, I would tend to agree. And with a traditional manufacture and lead time systems I would say that those worlds are incompatible in reality. But with Origin’s system, they are able to organise their production lines in such a way as to send the longer lead time orders to the back, and the more urgent ones to the front. I would guess that they hope that all their customers don’t suddenly get an onslaught of orders where they’re all required in three days!

This is the world we now live in. Modernised manufacturing techniques and equipment, coupled with the online world pushing our expectations of what is possible even further, our very own world of windows and doors cannot be immune to it all. It will be interesting to see in a few years time what impact this announcement has had, and if the window industry overall adapts in a similar manner.

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