REAL Aluminium by Customade – an Introduction

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Nick Dardalis

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Customade UK is one of the longest established fabricators of PVCu and Aluminium in the UK. One of the earliest manufacturers of the former and best-selling Monarch aluminium system, they are now firmly set up with Smarts.  They are also behind the brilliant Atlas Glazed Roof product meaning that Customade is a very experienced aluminium fabricator and installer in the UK, and they have now introduced the REAL Aluminium brand.

For a while, Customade has provided installers and the trade market with a broad range of fabricated aluminium windows and doors.  They have now launched a new branded product and trade service to help the trade buy and sell aluminium better. Consumers will benefit as well.

‘REAL Aluminium’ from Customade.

smarts windows and doors.
REAL Aluminium features great systems from Smarts

The REAL Aluminium brand from Customade is designed to help their existing or new customers, their network of installers and anyone interested in benefitting from the growing aluminium domestic market.

We already know that this is the growth area for doors and windows in the UK, but it is also the case that many small and medium-sized installers want to sell aluminium but don’t rightly know how to.  Weaknesses that constrain some smaller installers from selling aluminium well can include:

  • Lack of product training
  • Lack of product literature and information to help them sell
  • Not understanding how to order aluminium and the processes
  • Lack of staff and salespeople training and knowledge.

In these areas and more Customade hope to provide a solution with their REAL brand and service.

Does REAL Aluminium provide benefits to installers and the trade?

the bifolding door is one smarts product that trade supplies are offering cheaper and cheaper and cheaper
The business benefits from being able to price, sell and order bifolding doors, residential doors and windows easily and efficiently.

We think so if an installer can sell aluminium and is given the tools to do so. REAL certainly appears to do this. The good thing about how Customade have developed the REAL Aluminium brand is that the typical residential products that will be required by a homeowner are covered. These include:

  • Bifolding and Sliding Doors
  • Casement Windows
  • The superb Atlas roof
  • Residential doors.

Customade has cleverly looked at all the areas where an installer may struggle to specify, sell and order aluminium to the end user and appears to have covered all bases. Let us look at these individually.

REAL Aluminium Marketing, Sales and Technical Support.

Customade has put together well-designed trade and consumer-facing literature designed to help their installers sell their products.  REAL will also have in-store displays, samples, swatches and even local area advertising. Also available will be profile charts, assembly instructions and installation information.

Fast Quotations on REAL Aluminium.

A promise is made where quotations are provided to their customers in 24 hours or via immediate pricing online. Customade are using their Custodian window pricing and surveying software.  Custodian is designed to be linked directly to the company price list so that their customers can obtain real-time quotations for their products.

Two versions of the Custodian Software are available.

  • Custodian Basic Version offers an estimating service for doors, windows and lantern roofs. The facility exists to build a frame via the software, design the windows and doors as well as create drawings that the end user can understand. Also, the software is branded with the customer details so as not to confuse the end user.
  • Custodian Full Version provides the Basic software with more functionality and features.  Custodian Full Version will be of great benefit to window companies that want a deeper analysis of their costs, profit margins and other critical data.  The software produces far more detailed reports for both the installer and the end user, offers to price for a wider range of products and can even add goods and costs from other suppliers.

Software addresses a wide number of issues installers have had for a long time such as estimating and processing aluminium.  We look forward to trying it out. The facility to place orders, to raise invoices and other administration is very useful indeed.

Any special products that the software can’t price will be priced on application and in line with the fast 24-hour turnaround service on quotations.

For the many that still prefer to work with a paper price list, Customade offers the REAL Aluminium Price Book.

REAL Aluminium on consistent delivery times.

Customade promise to hold profiles and stock colour aluminium extrusions so deliveries on these products are consistent and on time. On-time deliveries are essential where previously colour or material delays would hinder the promised delivery of an order.  By having a choice of profiles, a range of products and a delivery promise, installers can more confidently quote their installation times to their customers.

A two week turnaround time is promised for all aluminium stock products.

Homeowners benefit from a consistent brand with REAL Aluminium.

retail double glazing brochure.
REAL Aluminium offers an easy to understand yet highly comprehensive retail brochure that sells and informs on aluminium.

Customade has developed a very modern, easy to understand and complete retail brochure with the REAL Aluminium brand. It features the expected high and medium end images of properties with new windows, glazed extensions and bifolding doors to reach out to the typical customer and beyond.

The brochure simply yet accurately explains the fine details such as security, weather performance, U-Values and guarantees that today’s customer wants to know but not be confused with technically.

The brochure covers the complete range of products and is designed to not only sell the brand to the end user but also give Customade’s customers an efficient selling tool without relying on a range of literature that often confuses customers with multi-branding.

The colour, glass and hardware options are very well explained and having read this brochure cover to cover it sells a product yet informs and educates about aluminium at the same time.

Aluminium Systems used with the REAL Brand.

Customade moved from the SAPA brand some years ago (although they still provide the SAPA Crown Patio Door) and focused on Smart Systems.  The REAL Aluminium range is based on Smarts and their respective products as well as the Atlas Roof.

On offer is the Alitherm 300 and Classic-Al windows, the Alitherm Plus Door and Visofold 1000 and Visoglide Plus.

Should the trade consider buying REAL Aluminium?

real aluminium trade service.
REAL Aluminium will be of great benefit to the smaller and medium sizes installers that want service and products, with easy ordering and pricing.

One of the most important factors about buying ready-made windows and doors is about service and well made windows and doors – not the lowest prices.  When an installer gets a consistent and reliable service from their aluminium supplier, it benefits their own business.  Installations run smoothly, products arrive on time. The installation is done on time and they get paid. This is far more important than buying windows and doors at the lowest possible prices to save money.

We have known of Customade for many years and they are an excellent and experienced trade supplier with the systems, products and procedures in place to deliver.  If you are considering buying fabricated aluminium Customade should be considered.

The delivery promises, the quality aluminium systems (notably the magnificent Atlas Roof) and the software and pricing tools on offer we think address the vast majority of issues suffered in the supply chain. Getting prices quickly has always been a frustration with installers and this is something that remains an issue although many good firms are addressing it.

The REAL Aluminium brand offers a one-stop shop solution for the trade and a potential homeowner.

If we were to be critical, it would be about using the Smart Systems product names such as Alitherm and Visoglide. In our view, it would have been better to re-brand these with a different name. Having said that, the Smarts brand is immensely strong in the UK and their products are in a vast number of showrooms.

For a smaller or medium-sized installer that wants to sell aluminium and have none of the multi-supplier issues, pricing and ordering headaches, REAL Aluminium appears to offer a great solution.

Images courtesy of REAL Aluminium and Smart Systems.