Making the Most of Downtime

03 December 2019

Making the Most of Downtime

With parts of the industry taking a break over the Christmas and New Year period, as well as customers holding off on making major glazing purchase decisions, many businesses find they have a slow period or a bit of downtime. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of that time to get everything in order and set you up for success in 2020.


Review & Plan

When you're in the thick of it, planning for the future is usually the last item on the to-do list which is why dedicating time to do it is a good idea. Here are a few activities you could consider tackling for the new year:

  • Take stock of the year that's been and establish what went well and what didn't as a starting point
  • Split the upcoming year into quarters and set performance goals and objectives for you and your team to work towards
  • Plan out your marketing campaigns for the following year, taking into account possible seasonal promotions like 'prepping your home for winter with insulated glass windows'
  • Work with your team to set individual professional development goals for the following year, including coursework, trade events and local networking groups
  • You could also take advantage of the downtime to put new ideas into place and test them while you haven't got as many customers to worry about
  • If you're planning on implementing new software, doing this during a period where you have time to test and learn the software will help you get the most out of it
  • It's a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with new tech and industry developments and figure out how that could work for your business

Identify Profitable Areas of the Business

Identifying which jobs are making the most money and taking the least amount of time can help you focus on what jobs to chase and which ones you might send elsewhere. Some glass shops don’t have the information they need to work this out and are just assuming that the work they do is making a profit.

Glass businesses using Smart-Toolbox can easily identify margins and the most profitable types of jobs. They can see margin levels on individual jobs, including when jobs with adjustments and reworks start affecting the profitability. Let us know if you want to see what this information looks like in Smart-Toolbox and how that could work in your glazing business.

Analyze Supplier Costs and Choices

Which suppliers are giving you the best deals? Do you know off the top of your head? Even a small decrease in supply costs, multiplied out across all the work you do, can have a big impact.

When reviewing this, look for alternatives that don’t have too many opportunity costs in other areas. The best choice is not always price related — if a supplier is regularly late or making costly mistakes, having the lowest rate may not be enough of a reason to stick with them.

Glass shops using Smart-Toolbox can work this out easily. You can review all your supplier options directly in the software. Once you’ve factored in the non-financial criteria and made your selection, that will update your costs on the job, showing you accurate margins so you know the impact each decision has.


Process Analysis

Reviewing how long you spend on different parts of your business is a great way to see where you can be more efficient as well as where you have a bottle neck.


If you are spending hours each evening quoting because you are the only team member who can accurately work this out, consider finding a more efficient method to free up your time. Getting back to customers faster might mean you win more of the jobs that you quote. Using software that you can rely on to get the right glass at the right prices can give you the confidence to have more of your team members able to quote – perhaps even while out on site.


Improving your scheduling process will help you make the most of your resources. Many glass shops use simple, reliable methods like whiteboards and paper, but in a modern environment, with staff out on the road and visiting customers, digital tools and shared calendars can keep your team on track.

Google Calendar or Outlook are good tools for centralizing this information and sharing it with the appropriate team members on their own devices. To take it to the next level Smart-Toolbox allows you to manage all of your team members, drag and drop jobs to allocate them to the staff in the appropriate area and even see it update immediately on an interactive map with route tracking! Once you’ve seen this in action you won’t want to handle it any other way.


What to work on first?

Getting started on any of these areas will help your glass business be more efficient. If you only have the time to tackle one of them, pick the area where you have the most information available and the one you feel will have the biggest impact.

If you are looking for a solution to help you improve all areas of your glass business and give you all your critical business information in one place, you need to see what Smart-Toolbox offers. A demo tailored to the areas that are important to your business is easy to arrange. You can email or click below to fill in a demo request form and we will be in touch.

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