“…implementing the software was a pleasant and painless experience”
Lee Glass & Glazing of Nottingham, one of the Midlands largest glass processors has recently installed “Glass Office” by Clear Thinking Software to streamline their glass production.
For Martin Lee, Managing Director of Lee Glass, finding software for the glass processing industry was not an easy task. The packages available seemed more of a compromise as the majority of glass software systems in the market are tailored mainly for IGU manufacturing and not processing.
There are packages available for processors, however these have been historically expensive and difficult to use. Clear Thinking Software has bridged this gap with their Glass Office software solution.
A view of Lee Glass’ factory, above
In respect of Lee Glass, the team needed a system that was simple to use, effective and efficient but comprehensive enough to cope with the wide variety of products that Lee Glass can provide. Clear Thinking was at the top of the list in respect of software solutions for Martin Lee. The product was not only easy to use, but also integrated smoothly into existing production methods giving more control over the whole process.
Martin comments, “There are several clear and immediate benefits for our company in using Glass Office. In respect of production, we can now keep on top of delivery dates as well as the day to day running of the factory and labeling for every individual piece of glass. Previously, everything produced was marked in batches.”
For Lee Glass, order entry of processed items is now clear, concise and simple with the ability to specify edgework, drilling, notching, shaping, etc. The package has been designed to make this a simple task, which every member of the office team can easily use with its user-friendly interface. The relevant customer data (agreed special prices, preferences, delivery addresses, etc) is pre-entered into the database and automatically used when pricing jobs. This is also used for the generation of quotations on the system, which can be stored and then used when the quotation turns into an order.
The versatile CAD package enables the creation of shaped work. This can then be easily costed based on the processes chosen and then the system will create an Autocad DXF file which can link to both cutting tables and CNC edgework centres such as Intermac and Bottero. Existing shapes for the extensive shape library can also be used and manipulated for work such as ballustrading. Furthermore, this can be stored as a separate shape and used again when a similar job is required.
For companies who specialise in Armour Plated (AP) door assemblies the Glass Office package enables the door patch fitting detail to be input, this can then be stored and manipulated for use at a later date on other projects.
Glass Office also offers an office based job scheduler system, which allows the operator to effectively plan their production levels and look for bottlenecks, before releasing the orders to the shop floor. This is especially important in the processing field as sometimes many operations need to be completed in sequence to one piece of glass (eg polishing, drilling, notching, sandblasting, toughening) within one order. It’s an enormous help if the office isn’t “asking for the impossible” and can show that the workload that has been scheduled, can feasibly be made in the time allocated to the shop floor and can reliably be made by the due date given
Automatic outsourcing of products and processes, that cannot be handled at the customers premises, is another useful feature of Glass Office. For example, oversize toughening can be flagged up at order entry time and a purchase order created by the system. The software can also tell the user to increase the price if this facility should be charged at a higher rate than “in-house” toughening, this can be at an unique price for every customer.
Processors can also use the EDI order entry system where orders can be input by the customer at their own premises. Subsequently, these can then be imported and checked by Glass Office to ensure the order requirements can be processed, and the order is both priced and costed, so that profitability is established and checked. The Clear Thinking system will automatically detect that the requirements are outside of the production capabilities and will flag this up to the operator.
As well as this, the software system can be linked into most of the major accounting packages such as Sage, Pegasus and Quickbooks, so customer account levels can be monitored from the order entry. The real time credit check compares the outstanding balance owing on the sales ledger, value of work in progress on the shop floor and value of current orders on the system, then depending on the operators authority level, the job can automatically be put on hold, or overridden by a manager.
Martin adds, “One of the major benefits for our company is the integrated support link into our server by Clear Thinking. This vastly improves our efficiency as technical support is readily at hand and we know that any issues can be resolved quickly by Clear Thinking who can securely log on from their office.”
Martin concludes, “The one thing that differentiated Clear Thinking from other software vendors we’ve used in the past, is that they managed the project from start to finish, getting the job done on time, at our pace and within the agreed budget and they made changes to suit us along the way, where necessary. Taking on a new software package can be daunting, but everyone at Clear Thinking made the whole process a pleasant and painless one.”
Article first appeared in The Gl@zine & Fenestration News – 15th July 08