The modern era is presenting new challenges for the architectural glass industry.
There is an increased need for faster delivery times that don’t sacrifice quality. This means an intelligent streamlining of all stops along the value creation chain from quotation entry to assembly to delivery. Also, clients are more likely to demand individualized shapes, colors, coatings, and sizes. Parts lists are becoming more complex and batch sizes are shrinking. All of which adds to the planning and preparation time on your end.
Sustainability is also changing the industry. Clients want products that are both good for the environment and affordable, but that also comply with national and international environmental and construction regulations and requirements.
Globalization matters more because it is increasing competition and leads to rapid innovations in technology and service. For your business, this requires getting your clients the best products and services at the best price, which only happens if your system integrates partners and suppliers, so it is intuitive, accurate, and fast.
Finally, the competitive edge is now defined by time delivery. How and when your clients receive their orders is more important than ever, no matter the scope of the building project or quantity of the order. Making sure your supply chain is geared to forecast stock levels and your packaging/shipping is optimized are absolutes in providing DIFOT or "delivery in full on time."
A+W products are designed to meet all of these challenges from quotation to order entry to delivery to invoicing. We want to partner with you to give your architectural clients a satisfying experience that exceeds their expectations and motivates them to return.
A+W covers the main processes in the flat glass industry, and helps its customers to optimize their value chains and the resulting sales revenues. Using our comprehensive process know-how and extensive analyses, we help you to identify the benefits of software support. We look after your processes while you increase sales revenues.
Profits are made in production, but only if the entire concept is right and production throughput planning has been optimized. Therefore, tailored software systems and integrated solutions are the key to optimized production processes. We want to provide you with tools for the production and multi-level processing of glass, which are powerful yet easy and flexible to use and thus open up additional leeway for planning alternatives.
Capacity planning, job creation, sorting, and filing organization form the basis of production planning in the PPS system.
Production capacities are reserved on the basis of the data that has been entered. The PPS system defines production start dates, which may vary considerably for different items in the same order, so complex production assignments and throughput times for different items may vary between one to a few days. As a result, orders are disassembled and organized into production batches according to time-related and technical criteria. During the course of this reverse scheduling process, the order items follow their own path in accordance with their production depth, and are only combined at the shipping logistics stage.
The orders that have been entered can be examined under a variety of different aspects (e.g., waste-oriented, sequence-oriented, and schedule-oriented), and they can be combined into the corresponding production jobs and optimized using state-of-the-art algorithms. The results are transferred to the machines, where the required working papers and labels are printed.
Production monitors support employees with the difficult task of correctly processing the panels, adding them to the machines and finally placing them on the right shipping rack. The panels can be scanned in using scanners and graphics-based booking stations. The system knows which work steps must be completed for which panel, and displays all of the required information to the employees and the production manager.
At the same time, our high-performance screen displays and reporting tools not only provide information, but also transfer the required data and parameters to the relevant machine and book the work process. Thus, they provide the option of intervening in the process controls on an interactive basis, and they also collect statistical information and provide feedback to upstream systems. The production system and the upstream ERP system are informed accordingly, so displays and status data are updated.
In keeping with the trend towards Industry 4.0, A+W software already provides access to all of the required information on a continuous basis. Depending on the configuration level and assisted by the barcode-supported entry of operational data (BDE), the status and location of all items in an order must be exactly identified at all times. Progress within the production step is permanently updated through status updates for the items at the unit level and can be tracked and checked in detail. Whether in the work preparation stage, order entry, or on the road, you always have access to a full overview and are able to intervene and control processes.
The fight for material is no longer decided at the cutting table. Many glass producers have recognized that downstream processes have a major impact on waste and are just as important. Take shipping for example. Requirements designed to achieve shipping-oriented production and cutting in order to avoid re-sorting and to maintain short and direct routes also have an effect on the cutting sequence and hence cutting optimization. But both aspects occur as part of the daily business - yield-oriented and sequence-oriented production. So why should you have to decide? Why not simultaneously achieve yield-oriented cutting and sequence-oriented production?
Today's world requires continuous systems that can examine and optimize the whole production process from cutting and production lines to shipping and delivery. Because today your reference point may be the amount of waste, but tomorrow it might be total throughput time or a certain sequence of glasses. Hence, you need a system that adapts to your situation and needs.
A+W offers scalable optimization systems for different environments and objectives depending on the product mix, the glass volumes to be cut, and the preferred organizational form and subsequent processes. Dynamic Optimization by A+W is the most innovative concept in the flat glass industry at the moment and a highlight in the market.
Now dynamic optimization concepts in the cutting area can be implemented even at low automation levels; very good results can be achieved particularly in the case of large volumes of mass-produced glasses in a mix, even without fully-automatic sorter buffers.
By using our premium optimization application, particularly in combination with sorting systems and residual panel storage, many insulation manufacturers were able to significantly increase their extraction rates while maintaining the desired production sequence. Other factors include improved efficiency and quality through an interruption-free glass flow without manual handling. Residual panels are almost entirely avoided.
Our optimization systems are configured for the long term, and have been directly coordinated with leading machine and system manufacturers. In this way, we offer solutions that already start to act before the cutting stage and identify glass defects before cutting. This enables you to recognize defects early on and not at the end of the process chain or in the worst case scenario, after the customer sent in a complaint and you must not only deal with the customer but also make additional product.
A modern integrated optimization system is not just good for you and your operating result but also for the environment. Material savings during the cutting stage and a lower breakage risk in the production process save on glass and thus lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions. These emissions are also reduced in the shipping and freight area through optimized route management and truck loading processes. Hence, it is possible to influence the energy balance sheet for the entire process until the delivery of the panel by using local and highly-integrated systems. Intelligent optimization also means 'green production'.
Today people expect to be reached on their mobile phone at any time, edit their e-mails or make on-line bookings using a banking app. Modern mobile applications have also become a standard feature in sales activities and the production of flat glass products.
Mobile and web applications from A+W offer the option of entering offers and orders online via the Webshop, clarifying different options for projects, and building projects with your customer on location. These options are based on your production utilization, tracking production progress, and production stats all gleamed from your iPad, thus empowering you to make decisions even when you are not in the office and so much more.
Enable your customers, dealers, and sales staff to calculate and enter offers and orders, while viewing their status anytime and anywhere with the most modern Webshop in the industry. Even small trades operations and dealers, who have so far avoided complicated order entry systems and always forwarded inquiries by fax or e-mail, will love your Webshop. Why do you ask? Because your Webshop saves them time and increases order quality!
As soon as an online purchase order has been accepted in your A+W ERP system, the purchase is compared against your inventory in real time. Once you have approved the orders, they can be forwarded directly to production. Double order entry and/or constant changes are no longer needed since the customer can enter their glass needs by themselves. Technical restrictions and feasibility checks, which you have filed in your ERP system, help the customer with this task.
At the production stage, you can read the panel data from the labels using modern scanner solutions based on Win CE, and can therefore enter bookings easily and on a mobile basis, which triggers the required processing steps on the machine and forwards the corresponding status feedback regarding the location and status of the glass to the upstream PPS and ERP system.
Using a mobile capacity display, you subsequently monitor the status and production progress of the orders and the capacities of the entire production process. You can view the capacity utilization of your production lines on a mobile basis at any time, and can also query details regarding the orders and jobs that have been entered. This also helps you with coordinating orders and lead times for larger building projects and other projects with your customers and suppliers, if needed, directly at the construction site.
Using a mobile machine control panel, you can also monitor the status of individual machines or machine assemblies so that bottlenecks or a decrease in output can be identified early on and counter measures can be implemented.
Once the orders have been completed and packed, they must be delivered to the customer in a timely manner and if needed, directly to the construction site. Here too, you and your employees can benefit from A+W's mobile applications. Drivers can call up routes and delivery information on-line and report completed deliveries. Breakage and the unloading of racks can also be entered and reported directly to the office. Using the integrated A+W systems, this data can now be posted and additional production processes can be initiated in the case of breakages or incorrect amounts. DIFOT - Delivery in Full On Time - no problem!
In keeping with the trend towards Industry 4.0, A+W software already provides access to all of the required information on a continuous basis. Whether in the work preparation stage, order entry, or on the road, you always have a full overview and are able to intervene and manage processes.
The standard version of the entry order process already offers an extensive pre-defined catalog of shapes and Georgian bars, so typical special forms can be entered quickly. It is only when this catalog is no longer sufficient that CAD designs must be used to prepare freehand forms and grill patterns.
All shapes of sheets and grill patterns can be entered easily and correctly using A+W software. Similarly, it is now also easy to process and digitize patterns or transfer the DXF files of your customers.
The worker handling the order becomes a designer even without additional CAD knowledge. The worker produces virtually the entire special shape with all of the technical details, and also generates the CAD data that will be transferred to monitoring systems and CNC machines during the production process. The software is designed in such a way that even employees without drafting qualifications and AutoCAD experience will be able to work with the software. Training requirements are thus reduced to a minimum.
Once the drawing of the complex geometry has been completed or the grill patterns have been constructed, the file can be directly attached to the order and the technical bills of materials can be added to the commercial bills of materials. Attaching separate files is just as easy as adding external DXF files, such as those of your customer or supplier.
The A+W ERP system catalogs frequently occurring basic patterns (i.e., shapes, processing, sash bars, etc.) and makes them available as templates. A template may consist of a highly-complex multi-level design. Required technical modifications resulting from new measurements, for example, are automatically calculated and transferred.
Together with the order, the data being transferred to production, is verified on a technical level and then directly transferred to the work station for visual display and machine control. It is also possible to transfer the CAD data directly to the respective machine. In this way, you have access to all required information, just as you need it.
While there is a multitude of business software systems available in the market, only a few are specifically suited for the glass industry. Glass is produced and processed both in series production as well as complex individual panels, which can vary considerably in terms of dimensions, processing, and configuration, but most are a combination of these factors.
To manage this large number of variations, you need a software solution that has been designed especially for this industry. Customer orders must be entered quickly and securely. Quick in the sense that a unique piece and/or series glass with any number of features can be defined in the entry dialog in just a few steps. And secure in the sense that the defined products can be seamlessly reviewed for technical feasibility and completeness, all while prices are calculated correctly on the basis of the terms that have been agreed upon with the customer.
A+W has the right business solution for any size company, including trades and retail operations, medium-sized businesses, conglomerates, and corporations. All business divisions are closely connected. Maximum flexibility and optimum ergonomics secure long-term profit and growth.
Our business solutions can be used to enter, copy, and manage quotes, orders, credit notes, invoices, inquiries, and purchase orders, but they can also manage all other company segments. These segments can include warehouse, purchasing, and shipping. The integrated price calculation process is performed automatically, but can be manually reviewed and modified at each step. Reliable scheduling information, optimum order organization, and the targeted management of logistics processes are the result of the perfect collaboration between integrated solution components. It also creates perfect transparency in your company since the exact status of each event is known at all times, which means this information can be provided to customers at each step of the way.
By using A+W software, you are well on your way to Industry 4.0 by being connected with your customers, internal and external suppliers, freight companies, your production processes, and all of your machines. It means that you always have access to all of the required information, and thus are able to intervene and manage processes, if required.