Shop Talk
by John Ryba
technical services manager
Quanex Building Products
April 17th, 2023

Capitalizing on Color with Operations-Friendly Strategies

You probably don’t need me to tell you that alternative color options for vinyl windows are very in. Whether it’s the dark framing that characterizes the modern farmhouse aesthetic or other trending colors, keeping up with today’s consumer demands requires the addition of color to your product offerings.

No matter the business strategy you pursue to meet those demands, there are big implications for your manufacturing process. And that brings me to today’s tip:

Consider how color will impact your operations.

Branching into new colors involves deciding upon the different technology options that are available, and there are a few things to think about when you’re vetting those options and your suppliers.

Labor Requirements

Adding color to a product necessarily adds some extra labor to the process of making a door or window, but it doesn’t have to happen in your plant.

Paint and laminate options have been some of the more common ways that manufacturers colorize their products. Both methods require plant workers to apply such methods to your base frame. This, by necessity, requires you to allocate some time and resources to performing the task.

But alternative technologies that eliminate this step are available. Co-extruded color technology is available from certain vinyl suppliers. Co-extrusion means the color arrives as an integral part of the profile itself, removing the need to add an extra step in the production process. What’s more, co-extruded color mitigates some common performance and longevity challenges associated with paints and laminates. As an integral part of the profile, co-extruded color delivers scratch resistance, durability and the ability to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. And it’s worth remembering here that homeowners expect their investments not to just be attractive, but to hold up for the long term.

Inventory

Another operational challenge associated with offering a variety of color options is the necessity of adding more SKUs to your product portfolio. For example, assume you currently offer one window in two color options. Perhaps now you’d like to offer that same window in a third, or in a dual-color option. The SKUs can pile up with the addition of new colors.

From an inventory perspective, this can create an operational headache. And no manufacturer wants to be holding on to countless varieties of color options in their warehouse. Neither will your extrusion supplier.

But a collaborative vinyl supplier should be able to deliver on your changing needs, in step with the demand you’re seeing, with reasonable lead times. If you’re considering new color options, it’s worth having this conversation with your supplier sooner rather than later.

Capitalizing on color can be an effective way to boost your business, but only if it’s done in a way that complements your operations. Take the time to think it through, work with your suppliers, and take advantage of the right color technologies for your business.

This blog is from Door and Window Market [DWM] magazine's free e-newsletter that covers the latest door and window industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to [DWM] magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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