When clients buy products from Thermo-Tech Windows and Doors LLC, they can be sure they are getting vinyl windows and doors made with care. “We have a very good work ethic within our plant,” President Michael Kutay says. “People take a lot of pride in what they do.”
Based in Sauk Rapids, Minn., Thermo-Tech manufactures standard and to-spec windows for residential and commercial projects. Sales and Marketing Manager Doug Cook notes that the company started operations in 1993.
“A generation earlier, [the founders’] father started a small glass replacement company in St. Cloud, [Minn.], called East Side Glass,” he says. “By the time the first Thermo-Tech window was even made, the family had 40 years of experience in the glass glazing business and also understood the dynamics of glazing glass into many different materials.”
Its founders, Cook continues, knew if they used quality materials, they could manufacture rigid and durable products that would continue to perform over time. “They combined the craftsmanship learned from experience along with the innovation of new materials to design and produce quality products that offer the highest value for our customers,” he says.
Today, Thermo-Tech is a leader in its market, Kutay notes. “We have 20 percent heavier vinyl than the majority of our competitors,” he says. “It’s a very robust system that performs in the industry and tests very well.”
Kutay joined Thermo-Tech in 2013 and has implemented growth initiatives ever since. “The company in my view was a diamond in the rough,” he recalls, noting that Thermo-Tech has a plan to double its size within six years. “In the last two years, we’ve had growth in excess of double digits.”
“We plan to do that consistently,” Kutay continues. “We’re taking market share away from [our competitors] utilizing the value proposition that the company has been based upon.”
Part of this plan includes layout changes in its plant. “What we’re doing is introducing a brand new product line which will be a higher-performing window,” Kutay describes.
The product, known as Prodigy, will be a triple-glazed window and door platform. “In addition, there are performance enhancements both thermally and structurally with the frames,” he says.
Although Thermo-Tech’s products meet the current Energy Star criteria, Prodigy will put it ahead of the curve of the new guidelines that are in the works. This also will give us a leg up on the competition.
“As the energy codes have improved and becomes stricter, others have closed the gap on us performance-wise,” Kutay says. “We’re looking to separate ourselves.”
Thermo-Tech’s plant layout changes will give it the additional capacity to make the Prodigy windows, he continues. “[We] are making room for equipment to come in during the third and fourth quarter,” he states.
When finished, Thermo-Tech will have grown its plant by 40,000 square feet. “We’ll introduce the product in 2017 and as we continue to grow, we plan to continue hitting double-digit growth in late 2017 to 2018,” he predicts.
A Quality Lifestyle
Thermo-Tech maintains quality differently from some of its competitors, Kutay says. For example, many firms only keep a close eye on quality when they get a new customer, he says.
“We don’t distinguish between a new customer and an existing customer,” he says. “[We present] a consistent message that [we] don’t make exceptions. Once you do that, you’re telling the customer it’s OK to give some clients a sub-quality product.” All customers are equally important.
Thermo-Tech also continues looking for ways to improve its products, Kutay asserts. “An example would be on a double-hung window,” he says. “If it’s not handled properly and laid on its side, there’s the possibility that the sash could go through the window head due to the balancers which allow for easy operation when in a vertical position.
“We have designed shipping clips to hold the sash in place,” he says, noting that the company works with its customers to resolve such issues. “It almost becomes a lifestyle as opposed to a quality program. It goes back to the work ethic of our employees and the pride they take in their work.”
Ready to Grow
Thermo-Tech plans to expand into more markets, Kutay says. “We’re basically in the upper Midwest, but we’ll go further south,” he predicts.
But the company’s future, he notes, largely lies in the new Prodigy product as the energy codes become more stringent. “We’re looking to capitalize on our value proposition more than we have in the past,” he says. “We’re ready to expand to support our growth.”