“A+W is the Glue that Makes the Company Run”

Published on 04 February 2022

“We’ve found a winning formula.”

  --- Eric Fortin/Northwestern Glass Fab

Northwestern Glass Fab prides itself on delivering the experience their customers desire. For more than 100 years, they have focused on superior customer service. The company culture is rooted in satisfying customer expectations. Eric Fortin’s words embody this cultural belief: “We like to grow relationships with our customer and at times educate them.” Additionally, by enabling team performance through enhanced technology, Northwestern Glass Fab stays ahead of the competition.

“Right person. Right seat.”

Eric Fortin is the General Manager of Northwestern Glass Fab. A former military man, he oversees the company’s 100,000 square foot facility in Fridley, Minnesota. Protecting company culture to ensure employee fit & focus is a big part of his job. “We put the right person, with the right skill set, and the right attitude into each position. Because when we do this right, each person strengthens the collective culture and increases the functional contributions of their role.” This feeds into Eric’s belief that by putting “our people and culture first [it’ll] lead to [a] better customer experience.”

Equally important is equipping the team with the right tools.

“Putting it all Together”

Soon after joining the company, Eric realized their ERP system was not being fully utilized. “We owned all of the modules. But we were using only 10% of what we owned.” And it was holding the organization back. Eric challenged A+W to help them rebuild the software system, so Northwestern Glass Fab “could be a good news story.”

“The [A+W] team made a serious and dedicated effort to fix things. And they incorporated new tools like barcode scanning, seeing the product, [and] production scheduling [all of which have] really helped us improve our On-time in Full (OTIF) number.” Over the last four years, Northwestern Glass Fab’s KPIs have improved dramatically. “We are now shipping on-time 97-98% of the time.” This has allowed Northwestern Glass Fab “to take care of our current customers and take some market share because of our lead time.”

Even though “change isn’t easy,” it is worth it as Eric reminds us. “We put our people and our culture first, which will lead to a better customer experience.” Tie that together with configurable software from A+W, which “is the glue that makes the company run,” and Northwestern Glass Fab has a winning formula in a competitive Minnesota glass market.

Summary Information

  • A division of Brin Glass Company founded in 1912
  • This leading glass fabrication and distribution company services the Greater Minnesota and Western Wisconsin as well as large portions of the Continental U.S.
  • Company Core Values: We Show Up! We Bring It! We Do It Right!
  • Fabricate flat glass, safety & fire-rated glass, insulated glass units, mirrors, shower glass, glass walls, specialty glass, and architectural aluminum.
  • Northwestern Glass Fab serves glass dealers, commercial interior designers, contractors, & contract furniture dealers.
  • The products offered include flat glass, flat glass fabrication, safety- & fire-rated glass, IGUs, mirrors, shower glass doors & walls, glass walls, specialty glass products, architectural glass & aluminum, aluminum storefronts, and glass protection for easy cleaning.
  • When it comes to assisting the commercial space, they help with glass for balconies, handrails, demountable glass walls, glass marker boards, shower glass, and glass for interior offices.
  • A+W Software Solutions/Products: A+W Business, A+W Production, A+W Realtime Optimizer, A+W Residual Stock Manager, & A+W Smart Companion
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