Supply chain

The app for new windows

The windows are delivered straight to the construction site from the production facilities. (photo)

The windows are delivered straight to the construction site from the production facilities.

An apartment’s windows connect it to the outside world: They protect the home from moisture, cold and noise, while letting warm sunlight into the apartment. Windows have an impact on the room ambience and living comfort – but can also be hard on the wallet. After all, windows that are poorly insulated or haven’t been sealed properly can sometimes end up costing the people who live in the apartment a great deal of money. In order to make sure that Vonovia’s customers don’t have to think about their ancillary expenses as they enjoy the view out of their windows, the company from Bochum is pursuing a new approach here, too.

  • Low quality
  • Medium quality
  • High quality

“Throwing money out of the window” – particularly in older buildings, this saying can hold true in a literal sense as well. Poorly insulated old windows can soon push heating costs up considerably. But new windows are a costly affair as well, especially if you opt for the conventional method of replacing them: The window manufacturer makes an on-site visit to measure up. He prepares a quote. An agreement is reached. The windows are manufactured and then installed. At smaller real estate companies, this process is repeated time and time again – in different locations, with different craftsmen’s companies, with varying results and with a different price tag each time around.

Other companies, particularly those that have slightly bigger portfolios, negotiate overall packages with window manufacturers right away: the windows are measured, produced and installed by one and the same partner. This ensures uniform standards and a good price.

A well thought-out approach to the division of labor

Vonovia takes things one step further again: The company splits the overall package into sub-processes: Its own craftsmen’s organization, the technical service team, assumes responsibility for the measurement and installation of the windows. Vonovia purchases the window elements directly from German manufacturers and has them assembled elsewhere in Europe. This cuts out the need for a middleman. This approach offers huge advantages: The fact that the processes are managed internally allows Vonovia to maintain a considerable degree of control over quality and the results, allowing it to react to short-term demand in a fast, flexible manner. This means that Vonovia can keep the costs even lower than other companies can.

This coordinated interplay between in-house and third-party services is possible because Vonovia’s portfolio allows it to think big in terms of the volumes involved – and because it has a technical support team whose employees know the individual locations like the back of their hand from their day-to-day work. This allows us to combine individual needs with industrial production.

The window manufacturer assembles the individual parts, which are produced in Germany, adhering to the very highest quality standards. (photo)
The window manufacturer assembles the individual parts, which are produced in Germany, adhering to the very highest quality standards. (photo)

The window manufacturer assembles the individual parts, which are produced in Germany, adhering to the very highest quality standards.

The ideal combination of Made in Germany, Engineered in Germany and Manufactured in Europe

The process is one that is now running very smoothly in practice. Take an example: A large-scale project to install new windows is underway at a Vonovia apartment building in the Hamburg district of Jenfeld. An employee from Vonovia’s technical service team does the measuring work. And this is where the first special feature comes into play: In order to prevent mistakes and ensure that the measurements are as accurate as possible, Vonovia uses a digital solution. Instead of using a pencil and paper, the construction manager is equipped with a tablet. It communicates with a laser measuring device via Bluetooth. An app is used to perform a plausibility check on the data when the measurements are entered. The measurements can be sent to a Vonovia SQL server via a web interface on the spot from the construction site. From the SQL server, an individual employee can edit the information directly before uploading it to the in-house craftsmen’s portal to generate a corresponding quote. The employee can also send the data directly to the manufacturer.

The digitalization of these steps has once again allowed the technical service team to speed up and improve its own processes considerably. There is no longer any need to stop off at the branch office to upload the data. The construction site becomes the office. And the window technician can move from one construction site straight on to the next one. This saves time and unnecessary trips.

The perfect fit, just in time – the installers fit the new windows as soon as they are delivered. (photo)

The perfect fit, just in time – the installers fit the new windows as soon as they are delivered.

Better safe than sorry

Once it receives the order, the window manufacturer executes it using state-of-the-art machinery. All of the individual components are produced in Germany and meet the highest possible quality standards.

The production steps are standardized and employ high-tech methods: First of all, the window profiles are cut, milled and welded together using a special procedure. Next, the brackets are mounted, the components are pieced together and the window panes are added. Before the finished windows are finally packaged for transportation and loaded into the truck, they undergo extensive quality controls. In order to make absolutely sure that the windows meet the company’s high standards, Vonovia also has German quality managers in place to inspect the goods on site on arrival. The company specializes in cooperation with window manufacturers and performs quality checks to ensure that the windows meet international standards. Spot checks are conducted to check for reliability, ability to withstand wind loads and resistance to air and driving rain. Particular attention is also paid to the stability of the weld seams. Once the windows have passed the test, they are sent directly to Hamburg to be installed in the multifamily residence in Hamburg-Jenfeld.

It is crucial that they arrive just in time, because intermediate storage would push up the price of the product. But before the windows are actually installed, checks are performed to make sure they did not sustain any damage during transportation. Vonovia’s technical service team then takes over to install the windows. The new windows will not only ensure a positive room ambience for more than a generation; they will also cut heating costs in the long run.

Vonovia believes that one of its responsibilities lies in ensuring that its customers can afford their rent. It is important for the energy transition to remain affordable for them. This is something that the company is helping to achieve with a combination of efficiency and effectiveness.

Vonovia is using real team spirit, innovation, ongoing effectiveness and efficiency to achieve this goal.

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