Adapting to a changing marketplace

Crystal Direct is modernising window fabrication and delivery. We talk to commercial director, Kevin Morgan, about what this entails, and why it partnered with Aluplast to achieve its goals.

Crystal Direct was established in 1990 by Martin Randall, and quickly became a leading trade fabricator of PVC-U windows and doors.

The company has always prided itself on leading the way when it comes to industry trends and innovation. For example, the fabricator claims to be one of the first to recognise the market potential for coloured windows and doors, and its logo bearing the tagline ‘No.1 for choice, No. 1 for colour’ is said to be one of the industry’s most recognisable.

Looking ahead, the company is building on its success supplying high street DIY firms with windows and doors that are delivered directly to site – known as ‘dropship vending’.

“We have very big plans for the future, mostly in terms of dropship vending, and e-commerce while retaining all of our core business trade,” says Crystal Direct’s commercial director, Kevin Morgan.

“The market became really challenging in the years since Covid, which led to a shift in how people accessed windows and doors.

“We have been dropshipping for big brands such as B&Q and Screwfix since around 2012, but since the pandemic we’ve been getting enquiries from many other well-known brands.”

Kevin explains that Crystal Direct fills a vital role in the expansion of home improvement e-commerce, where homeowners turn to trusted high street names for their windows and doors, who in turn want to pass on the responsibility for manufacture and delivery to a third party.

“Those big companies don’t want to hold the stock,” he says. “They want to have it delivered direct, and they don’t want to play a big part in the touchpoints.

“So, through our own fleet, we offer dropshipping directly from a web platform or in a traditional way, where the end user gets the product directly from us.”

Crystal Direct has invested in all the touchpoints that make the buying journey as smooth as possible for the end user. For example, they are notified when they place the order, they get a delivery date, and they are reminded right up to the point of delivery.

Crystal Direct has also invested heavily in its fleet so that it can confidently meet its promises of a quick nationwide delivery service.

In addition, the company has built relationships with supply partners so that product features, quality and supply security match customers’ demands.

“We recently began working with Aluplast, based on the fact that their product is really quite superb both in terms of its performance, its robustness, but also its sustainability credentials, which is really important to Crystal and our customers,” Kevin says.

“From a sustainability and energy saving perspective, Aluplast’s Ecotech profile – which offers a unique extrusion process ensuring the external walls are pristine and the internal walls isolate recycled material – coupled with a triple glazed option, means that we can offer an industry-leading product.

“We want to be a unique fabricator, at the forefront of sustainability movement, and our partnership with Aluplast underpins the relationship we have with our customers, such as Screwfix, Toolstation and Travis Perkins, as well as our core trade business.”

Aluplast’s investment in product development continues with a new 76mm platform window. The Ideal Neo is an exciting new sustainable window suite which satisfies current commercial needs for both performance and design.

“Some of the big brands we deal with are developing their own sustainability brands, and our relationship with Aluplast helps us to meet the criteria to be a part of that premium offering,” Kevin says.

Aluplast also helps Crystal Direct keep its ‘No.1 for choice, No. 1 for colour’ promise. The majority of Aluplast’s flush orders include colour – now in many hundreds of combinations – and the company has a range of 40 different finishes, including the premium range Woodec and Aludec foils.

The systems supplier continues to invest heavily in it foiling plants with new CNC foiling machines, which allows it to maintain a strong supply.

“We have very big plans for 2024 and beyond, and it is important we have like-minded supply partners to accompany us on that journey,” Kevin concludes.