By using a limited number of windows, Colony Homes keeps its entry-level product competitively priced. By Alison Rice

Five years ago, Colony Homes of Woodstock, Ga., used more than 30 different windows to build its houses.

Today, it buys seven main windows, using them in multiple ways to achieve variety and efficiencies.

"We cater to the entry-level market, so every dollar is important to save so we can pass that on to the consumer," says Linda Romano, vice president of operations at Colony, which closed more than 2,000 homes last year. "By limiting the number of products we use, we're able to increase our purchasing power."

It also simplified the process with its supplier. "Because we're using seven versus 35 windows, the supplier doesn't have to inventory them," Romano says. Colony also gets better pricing and, should a window break during construction, virtually no interruption in cycle time because those seven windows are always in stock.

Photo: Courtesy Colony Homes

Colony Homes uses seven windows in 10 configurations to provide design variety without increasing costs for the buyer or the builder.

As a result, the builder has been able to lower its hard costs and maintain competitive pricing (average Colony sales price: $128,000), despite increases in other major components, such as lumber.