Thought provoking industry views and news

Welcome to the Crystal blogs/news. From industry news and product development, to omnichannel selling and marketing to Crystal's latest news!


Crystal's purchases Supercut 6 from Avantek Machinery

Avantek image

As part of Crystal’s philosophy of continued investment and improvement, we have recently purchased the Supercut 6 from Avantek Machinery.  The Supercut 6 is a purpose built, technologically advanced machining centre, custom built for the UK PVC-U window industry.

The new Supercut 6 will have a phenomenal effect on productivity.  By speeding up the line and increasing output it will enable us to improve workflow, accuracy and ensure all of our windows and doors have the same high standard of finish – whilst improving our current lead times.  The Supercut 6 is also very energy efficient with fully integrated dynamic batch optimisation software ensuring the best use of materials and reducing wastage. It also has an automatic feed table folding up to 10 profile lengths, giving the ability to machine and cut simultaneously allowing for greater output. And with automatic labelling – the Supercut 6 will ensure Crystal can continue to supply its customers with high quality products in the future.

Martin Randall, Crystal’s CEO says “As a proud UK manufacturer, we are pleased to acquire a new Supercut 6 from Avantek, demonstrating a significant financial investment in our future. The right equipment will go a long way in helping Crystal to streamline the production process.  We are always looking for ways to continually improve by investing in plant, processes and our people.  The installation of this new machine is just one of a number of investments we are making to help grow our business whilst delivering operational efficiencies and importantly, achieving additional capacity”


Don't forget the millions on the table in front of you - May 2019

There’s an A and an O road to growth, says Kevin Morgan, Group Commercial Director of The Crystal Group. Acquisition is exciting and quick, organic less risky, cheaper and a bit slower.

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Customer experience is what it's all about, and customers are driving - November 2018

Omnichannel is not an end, it’s an opportunity, says Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of The Crystal Group. It’s on the way to an easier, quicker, friction free customer experience. End to end.

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Crystal Continues to Strengthen Board - September 2018

Crystal Direct, suppliers of made to measure PVC-U and aluminium windows and doors to the Merchant sector are delighted to announce the appointment of Kevin Morgan as Commercial Director.

Kevin has been recruited to oversee and continue to develop Crystal’s Approved Installer scheme, which provides a national fitting service to its Builders Merchant customers.  Kevin has a wealth of installation experience, organising and running service offerings for Blue Chip companies including MFI, Homebase and more recently Kingfisher B&Q, where he created, led and grew a new set of installation services for B&Q Homefit.

“I am thrilled to be joining Crystal at such an exciting time in their progression” said Kevin “and I am very much looking forward to helping the brand further cement their position as the first choice of merchants for
PVC-U and aluminium windows and doors”

Steve Halford Group Managing Director adds “Having worked with Kevin previously, we are convinced that he is perfectly qualified and experienced to drive our new Crystal Approved Installer scheme. Many of our Merchant customers have asked us for an installation capability and it is our intention to offer a comprehensive nationwide fitting service for windows and doors over the coming months”


New Chairman appointed at the Crystal Clear Group - September 2018

Tim Allen the recently retired Chairman of NMBS has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Crystal Clear Group Limited. His appointment commenced 1st September. Crystal is the leading supplier of PVC-U and aluminium windows, doors and conservatories to builders, supplied directly via builders’ merchants. The position is a new one reflecting the Group’s continued growth and future direction, with current Chairman Martin Randall now assuming the role of CEO.
Tim is extremely well known within the merchant sector and is an experienced Non-Executive Chairman and Finance Director of both UK and international businesses, with a strong commercial and accounting focus, and a passion for building successful enterprises. He spent 20 years with Williams Holdings, a major FTSE 100 Group, and was Director of Corporate Finance, responsible for over £2 billion of acquisitions and £3 billion of disposals performed all over the world. Williams built up one of the most impressive collections of branded building products businesses in the late 1980s and 1990s with brands such as Crown Berger Paints, Cuprinal, Rawlplug , Swish, Valor, Chubb, Yale and Kidde, now one of America’s largest manufacturers of smoke alarms and fire safety equipment.
Since Williams, Tim has specialised as an investor and non-executive director, building a portfolio of companies. As chairman he sold Birchwood Products – a group that owned brands such as Defender, Rhino, and Scruffs to the BSS Group and more recently Anchor Fast Products a specialist outdoor furniture manufacturer

I'm delighted to be joining Martin Randall and the Crystal Clear Group,” comments Tim. “Crystal has achieved a great deal in recent years, enabling merchants to build their share of a significant and valuable market, and I’m looking forward to helping Crystal continue to build on that foundation.”
CEO Martin Randall adds: “Tim has a wealth of knowledge within the building industry and merchant sector, acquired over many years with the biggest and best companies, and he knows how to help companies grow at a serious scale.
“We’ve worked very closely with the NMBS over the past five years and we’ve got to know each other very well. I have enormous respect for Tim and what he has achieved at NMBS and throughout his career. I look forward to building something exciting together.”


End of the road for traditional retail business models? - August 2018

Are we at a retail tipping point, asks Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of The Crystal Group. Could trade be next?

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Missing a few million in sales? - May 2018

"Are you leaving a lot of easy sales on the table for your competitors?" asks Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of the Crystal Group. 

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   Omnichannel is starting to bite - March 2018

The impact of omnichannel is hurting retailers that have been slow to act on the accelerating convergence of ‘bricks and clicks’, and rewarding retailers that are on their omnichannel journey. 

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2018: The Year of Omnichannel - January 2018

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of Crystal, looks at the disruptive effects online technology is having on traditional industries, and how merchants need to adapt to thrive in this new environment

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When virtual reality meets reality! - November 2017

Bespoke PVC-U windows and doors have opened up a big, new market for merchants, but those merchants who create a seamless customer experience between the ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ world will really scoop the benefits of sustainable growth.

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Joining up the touchpoints on the customer journey boosts sales - October 2017

From static corporate brochure to always-on anytime anywhere sales supremo, websites have evolved massively over the last 15 years. They’ve become the linchpin to how we live and work. They’re the threads that string most customer journeys together, whether we realise it or not.

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Training supercharges sales - because it’s easy when you know how! - September 2017

The last 15 years has seen a revolution in the way we buy and sell. The evidence is on our high streets as a growing number of charity shops fill the gaps left by closed retail shops. At one time, pundits were predicting a mass migration to an online world, with ‘clicks’ leaving the ‘bricks’ behind, but instead it’s fast becoming an Omnichannel world, with online merging seamlessly with traditional branches and showrooms.

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Have you changed how you sell to match how people buy windows? - August 2017

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of Crystal Direct, asks if merchants are keeping up with changing purchasing trends.

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Sales success for merchants in fast-growing PVC-U windows market - July 2017

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director of Crystal, looks at the changing PVC-U windows market and how it can bring sales success to merchants.

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