Maximizing Wall Panel Design Productivity and Accuracy

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Issue #12247 - February 2020 | Page #68
By John Croll, Portfolio Manager

As a wall panel designer, there are two critical performance metrics to hit: efficiency and accuracy.  In a competitive component manufacturing landscape, maximizing designer productivity on both quotes and orders is paramount to running a successful business.  Quickly generating an accurate quote for a builder can help win a job and turning finished designs around quickly can keep the shop humming with work while ensuring a CM gets the most of its high-value design resources.  Equally significant: call-backs and repairs eat away at profit margins and can tie up the whole production workflow.  Avoiding these mistakes allows a CM to move on to the next profitable job with confidence.

Alpine’s iPanel wall panel design software solution provides new tools to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy for panel designers.  Paired with the revolutionary STITCHER wall input method, iPanel enables panel designers to produce an extremely accurate bid in record time.  STITCHER enables the designer to capture the wall layout with just a few clicks.  Once in iPanel, the new Fabrication Rules and Openings Manager offer a streamlined and flexible way to design the panels exactly as the builder requests.  These tools are useful during bidding and production design and allow iPanel customers to automatically control specific design choices on a builder or project level.

Fabrication rules are groups of settings that dictate specific design choices for the system to make during panelization.  This includes header size and material, the number of trimmers per jack assembly, and how to space cripples in openings, just to name a few.  These settings can be customized for small, medium, and large openings, as well as per level of the building.  iPanel users can have a unique fabrication group for each project or builder, producing efficient consistency between jobs from the same customer.

The Openings Manager presents an easy-to-use interface for designers to further standardize the openings they will use in their jobs.  Each opening can be fully designed and customized graphically and by modifying settings, including finish height and header material.  Multiple openings can be created and shared between levels.  This allows the user to quickly define the opening inventory to be used for a project and apply that inventory to the layout with ease.  Changes made in the opening manager can be synced with other designers using a simple upload/download mechanism, which allows complete control over which designs are shared across the system.

Both tools enable a manager to standardize the specific design choices made by their designers, while accounting for the innumerable builder-specific preferences they must deal with in the field.  Initial setup is easy and sharing fabrication groups and openings across designers is simple.  When a panel designer panelizes a layout, iPanel uses these configurations to automatically frame the house the way the builder wants it.  This cuts down on design time during both stages of the process, while reducing the number of mistakes that get shipped out resulting in call backs.

Alpine’s workflow from STITCHER to iPanel is uniquely powerful in its ability to produce rapid, accurate bids and enables users to frame a house to exact specifications with minimal manual manipulation.  Talk to your local Alpine sales rep about how to leverage these tools to improve your wall panel business today.

You're reading an article from the February 2020 issue.

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