The role of software in the flat glass, window, and door industries is growing in importance. The future of our industry depends on how we as an industry embrace new software and machinery solutions. Software solutions continually enable the increased automation- and technology-based changes witnessed throughout our industry. Companies, such as yours or your competitors, are looking to implement new or upgrade current software solutions, ERP systems (similar to A+W Enterprise, A+W Business, and A+W Production), or e-commerce solutions (such as A+W iQuote for glass and fenestration fabricators). Available options can be overwhelming, and thus cause inaction on your part. To help you through this process, review my January 2022 Buying Software three-part blog (Part I, Part II, and Part III) series to help you. Remember, it is far easier to accept change than to oppose it.
The goal of software solutions is to streamline operations, handle challenges related to product quality and proficiency, and facilitate employee efficiency. Addressing all three challenges, e-commerce solutions, such as A+W iQuote for glass and fenestration fabricators, were designed to improve efficiency, reduce errors/remakes, and automate the office, while at the same time increasing your customer service and providing salespeople/dealers the opportunity to sell 24/7 in this increasingly digital world. These solutions are simple yet sophisticated allowing you to speed up order entry, reduce phone calls from customers checking on orders or initiating an order, and thus freeing up employees to do different tasks. When customers can check an order online, they feel more connected to the company, while also reducing the anxiety of not knowing what is happening and providing immediate value.
E-commerce is nothing new to yourself or your customers. Amazon, Etsy, and eBay have helped make e-commerce a household affair. Instant access to options allows your customers to speed up the purchase process, thus allowing you to potentially take business away from your competitor(s). By meeting your customers where they are, which is online, you gain the advantage. E-commerce software enables you to add new features behind the scenes that give your customers more options, such as tracking production or shipping of the product and adding rendered images to entice people to buy your products. All these options are available in A+W’s iQuote software solution. For some, like myself, it is easier to imagine adding a specific door to my house, if I can see the rendered product online, where I can change its color, panels, etc. This visual rendering encourages me to work with one vendor over another because I can see what I am buying. Thus, less uncertainty and clearer transparency increase trust by the consumer.
With some industry-specific e-commerce solutions, such as A+W iQuote, you can restrict specific options for certain customers for any number of reasons, including their order history, your capacity at certain times, or an employee shortage. Notes can be added to your website indicating any capacity constraints at certain times to improve communications with customers because, as we all know, your customer service reputation is a top priority.
As you roll out an e-commerce solution, we recommend you select trusted customers to first test the process. Allow them to find and report any issues before you begin a larger roll out. As the process and your interaction with solution improves to meet your specific needs, start adding new customers slowly. An increased reliance on e-commerce software enables you to move employees to different office tasks, thus reducing your need to hire new employees. Allow software to be your extra employee!
It is impossible to deny the growing importance of software in the manufacturing sector. Fabrication of flat glass, windows, and doors has been touched by the digital transformation. Have you thought about adding an e-commerce solution to enable your customers to order 24/7 and track their orders quickly, while also freeing up your order entry people? Take time to research e-commerce solutions, talk to your peers, understand your competitors, and then contact a sales representative, such as Josh Rudd at A+W Software. Start embracing change before your competitors take the upper hand.