Pittsburgh Glass Works credits lean for first-year success

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW), the former automotive glass and services division of PPG Industries, celebrated its one-year anniversary as a stand-alone company in October. Since its successful spin-off in October 2008, PGW has maintained its status as one of the leading suppliers of automotive glass and services, while being actively involved in fuel economy improvement research and bringing new products to market.


"PGW is thrilled to mark its one year anniversary by taking note of our successes, new partnerships and our technological advancements," said Jim Wiggins, chairman and CEO, Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC. "During a challenging time for the auto industry, we've worked hard alongside our customers to offer value-added solutions for today while taking steps to ensure we're on the leading edge of glass and services products in the future."


"PGW improved its cost structure and enhanced its flexibility to serve customers through a streamlined organization based on Lean value streams, transformation of our manufacturing footprint from nine plants to six, and through aggressive implementation of lean/six sigma throughout operations," said Wiggins. "Operational performance capabilities have been further enhanced through the rebuild of a float line at Meadville, and investments in our fabrication cold end and bending processes."


Supplying windows, windshields, sunroofs and assemblies to auto and truck manufacturers, PGW was spun off with the mission of continuing the division's culture of formidable work ethic, strong value and intent to deliver solutions. Over the course of its first year, this commitment to the market and to customers was evidenced in the various PGW businesses.


In the Automotive OEM business, PGW:

·        Attained a new contract with Daimler AG to be the main supplier of windshields and laminated glass for Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs;


·        Concluded testing with The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) which showed that PGW's Sungate EP automotive glass improves fuel efficiency, cabin comfort, and driving range in hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles;


·        Acquired a license to manufacture and sell SPD SmartGlass automotive glass products, which give users the ability to control the amount of light, glare and heat entering their vehicle; and


·        Confirmed its products meet the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Cool Car initiative, which calls for a regulation that will require new cars sold in California to have windows that reject more than 50 percent of the sun's energy starting with the 2012 model year.


"PGW is prepared to help its customers meet the tough challenges being presented by the new economic and environmental conditions. With technology that can already meet the most stringent regulations for California vehicles for the 2016 model year, PGW is well positioned to lead the industry with products that are environmentally friendly, improve consumer comfort, safety, and security, and are cost competitive," said Wiggins.


In the Services Business: LYNX Services, the largest of the Services businesses, has continued to bring innovation and increased use of technology to better serve its clients. LYNX is committed to improve client results and continues to invest in services to meet client needs for web solutions and seamless policyholder services that drive high policyholder satisfaction and retention.


Over the past year, LYNX has:

·        Expanded the use of ClaimPoint to better serve Insurance policyholders. ClaimPoint allows policyholders to seamlessly schedule their auto glass repair and replacement, selecting among the broadest list of service providers in the country. Several LYNX clients took advantage of the easy to use tool to expand policyholder claims service to the Web; and


·        Entered into a relationship with one of the largest insurance carriers in the U.S. to render first notice of loss claims management services on an ongoing basis and to assist in quickly responding to serve policyholders immediately after catastrophic events and natural disasters.


GTS Services, the glass industry's leading business management software provider, released GlasPacLX – Version 5.0. This newest version of GlasPacLX, developed with Microsoft.Net technology, represents the software's single largest advancement since its initial introduction in 2000. Entering into the commercial glazing segment, this version also provides expanded capabilities for full-service companies providing commercial, residential and auto glass services.


In the Automotive Replacement Glass Business:

·        The ARG Business brought innovation into its branch operations by improving operational efficiencies with Lean Six Sigma principles and inventory stocking practices to better serve its customers' needs; and


·        PGW Auto Glass expanded its business by partnering with two leading OEM and ARG customers to reduce their net distribution costs by leveraging PGW's distribution capabilities.


About Pittsburgh Glass Works

Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) supplies automotive OEM windshields, rear and side windows, sunroofs and assemblies for auto and truck manufacturers, and it supplies and distributes replacement automotive glass products for use in the aftermarket. It also provides insurance claims services through its LYNX Services subsidiary, glass management software and internet marketing services through its GTS subsidiary, and e-business solutions through its GLAXIS offering (visit www.gtsservices.com for more information about GTS Services).


Automotive glass products are manufactured and fabricated in six North American plants located in Berea, Ky.; Creighton, Meadville and Tipton, Pa.; Crestline Ohio; Evansville, Ind.; and a joint-venture facility in Tepeji del Rio, Mexico. In addition seven satellite parts assembly plants are located throughout North America and Europe, and two LYNX Services claims management call centers in Ft. Myers, Fla., and Paducah, Ky. Combined, the businesses employ approximately 3,700 people.

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