With high-tech insulated glass and extensive expertise in modern façade construction, Flachglas Schweiz, with locations in Wikon and Thun, Switzerland, is the leading supplier of building glass in the Alpine republic whether for demanding window manufacturers or large, compelx projects.
In addition to the entire range of modern high-performance insulated glass, Flachglas Schweiz processes and delivers Pilkington Pyrostop® and Pilkington Pyrodur® fire-resistant glass. The company specializes in different kinds of insulated glass with interior blinds and electrochromic glass to control light and energy transmission, as well as all classes of burglar-resistant glass. In addition to these high-quality products, Flachglas Schweiz offers its customers important services, such as advising, calculations, and installation, for example in the structural glazing sector.
During the past year, the company has made extensive investments with one being a new fully automatic laminated glass system installed in Wikon. As an extension of this extensive investment, Flachglas Schweiz decided to expand and update its A+W software in order to further optimize processes in the office and in production.
With new Benteler laminated glass production coming online,Flachglas Schweiz can now also laminate jumbo sizes. The SIGAP 002 building safety regulation (analogous to the EU standard 18008) went into effect in Switzerland in 2018, which meant that in Switzerland, as all across Europe, there is an increased demand for laminated safety glass. Since one of the three high-performance insulated glass lines in Wikon can also handle jumbo sizes, delivery of even large-format safety glass is no problem meaning that Flachglas Schweiz is well positioned for the changing market conditions.
Synergies with partner companies
This Swiss insulated glass manufacturer is part of the Flachglas Group, along with the partner companies Flachglas Wernberg, Glasprofi, and Flachglas Nordost. The Group members’ product ranges complement one another perfectly, so components from different locations can be combined into a single product. In particular, Flachglas Wernberg and Glasprofi supply high-quality tempered glass products for insulated glass and interior glazing to their Swiss partner.
For more than a decade and a half, Flachglas Schweiz has been working with A+W software on both the administration and production sides. In 2003, the A+W Enterprise ERP system was introduced for order processing and corporate management; it is especially well-suited for companies with several locations. At the same time, an older production system was replaced with the current A+W Production PMS system.
Within the next year, the entire Flachglas group will be using this A+W software suite – Glasprofi has been using it for a while already, and it is being rolled out now at Flachglas Wernberg. When Wernberg goes “live,” Flachglas Nordost will follow.
This standardization of group software will provide many opportunities: the new system will no longer control individual companies, but rather, after the roll-out is complete, network the entire corporate group. That’s why the other locations are already considered as part of the Wernberg system– a site structure is being prepared, which when the expansion is complete, will ensure more reliable processes between the branch offices. “We have to further optimize our internal flows,” said Beppino Candolo, Managing Director of Flachglas Schweiz. “Each order, each purchase order that is transmitted within the group must arrive completely and correctly; there may be no double entries. We know we can perfect this with the new site structure.”
In 2016, Flachglas Schweiz replaced the networked computer centres in Wikon and Thun with a cloud solution, thus eliminating the company’s internal server structure entirely, which greatly simplified the company’s IT operations.
The current A+W Production PMS system was implemented during the software update in 2018. Flachglas Schweiz is already profiting from A+W Production’s greater flexibility and many planning functions. In addition to the planning tools for work preparation, Flachglas Schweiz uses A+W Production Terminals to keep employees informed on the insulated glass lines, during laminated glass production, and during shipping. Iwan Schmid, IT Manager at Flachglas Schweiz, “With A+W Production, we can plan and conduct our production much more efficiently, especially in conjunction with production control and completion reporting by plant data collection. Currently, we are working with A+W on the implementation of a breakage pool, with which we can reproduce defective lites quickly.” The breakage pool enables Flachglas Schweiz to report damaged lites to the A+W Realtime Optimizer system on the cutting tables by reading barcodes; remakes are generated from the next possible (residual) plate of the same glass type. These remakes are put through production with the highest priority and placed with the matching lites that await them.
The highly flexible A+W Realtime Optimizer also makes interventions into the control of batches possible even after the optimization has been completed. What’s this mean? Now Flachglas Schweiz’s system can chain, split, and reorganize cutting batches, so the machine operator can react immediately to current requirements.
In Switzerland, where both wages and prices are high, digitalization is critically important. This is why Flachglas Schweiz relies on the quick implementation of intelligent IT processes. Beppino Candolo explained how “only in this way we can remain competitive with companies in neighbouring countries. A+W is an expert, innovative partner.”
Currently, the team working with Beppi Candolo and IT manager Iwan Schmid is testing the A+W iQuote webshop. According to Candolo, Swiss customers are increasingly likely to order 24/7 and rely on web-based tools to do such.
With A+W iQuote, Flachglas Schweiz’s customers can no longer make errors during order meaning that anything that is ordered can actually be built. The order, once received, is subjected to an automatic restriction check based on master data stored in A+W Enterprise. Iwan Schmid stateed, “This way, the customer transmits a technically correct and complete order. There are no questions and time-consuming clarifications by telephone or e-mail, excess work in order entry is eliminated.”
Tackling innovations – designing the future
Flachglas Schweiz will continue to invest in complex, networked system technology. A new laminated glass cutting system with integrated residual plate management will be installed in the Wikon location. The Remaster will be integrated into the optimization intelligence of the A+W Realtime Optimizer: it will ensure that initial cuts are made automatically at the right time in the optimization.
This constant readiness to innovate, the expertise of its 200 employees, and the company’s experience with complex projects provide the prerequisites for Flachglas Schweiz, as part of the Flachglas Group, to maintain and further expand its leading position as an architectural glass manufacturer and specialist for custom solutions.