– Simonton Window says its manufacturing locations in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Illinois and California broke production records in December as employees worked seven days a week to fill demand for replacement windows. The output peak was driven to meet year-end federal energy tax credit qualifications.
“The week of December 12 was our busiest week of the year, followed by the week of December 6,” says Andy Shashlo, VP operations for Simonton Windows, part of the home unit being spun off by Fortune Brands (NYSE: FO). “We doubled the manufacturing output of replacement windows from the same time the previous year. Our California facility had the busiest week since the plant opened in 1995.”

Business stayed strong operations closed for the holidays Dec. 23, Shaslo says, with the demand also spiked by Simonton's five-day delivery guarantees for custom made windows. Simonton began hiring early, anticipating the rush.

“We ramped up our operations and hired additional workers starting back in September when we predicted the hard push for the fourth quarter,” says Shashlo. “Towards the end, our plants were operating seven days a week. Although we anticipated a strong fourth quarter, the month of December’s escalated sales surpassed all our expectations." Both November and December set production records for Simonton.

“We were able to take new orders and manufacture products right up until the holidays,” says Shashlo. Simonton's truck fleet was delivering window orders on December 27 and 28, sometimes in very snowy weather. "In several cases our Simonton drivers got to the customer locations in very snowy weather … long before the customers themselves were able to get to their facilities,” he says.

To keep production moving, Simonton embraced an “all hands on deck” attitude throughout December, with many management team members also working to load trucks and finalize orders, including Simonton President Mark Savan.

“Our customers could - and did - order from us right up until December 22,” says Shashlo, who says competitors stopped taking new orders on December 10. "By the time we shut down on December 23, we had every order in our system filled and out the door,” he says.

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