Masonite keeps the innovation door open

Making new doors is one priority, another is changing the way people buy them.

Masonite's VistaGrande line

Orlando, Fla. — Fred Lynch might possibly be the most vocal ambassador of doors since Jim Morrison, the frontman and lead singer of The Doors.

Lynch, CEO of Masonite, was a busy man during the International Builders’ Show in Orlando — not only unveiling the new Masonite logo, slogan (“Open to Extraordinary”) and the brand relaunch, but also promoting the idea to all visitors that a door is more than a door.

“The door is a defining element in the home,” Lynch said in an interview with HBSDealer. “The biggest piece of art on your wall is the door.”

Lynch met with the media at the Masonite booth fully stocked with the latest products on display, including colorful VistaGrande Three-Quarter Lite and Half Lite doors and the new Heritage Series Craftsman fiberglass entry door. And the company says its trend councils are working hard to keep the design, as Masonite invests in innovation and rolls out new styles to keep up with the times.

But the door category has yet to fully adapt to changing customer expectations. 

“As a company and as an industry, we have to change the experience for the consumer to buy doors,” Lynch said. "We've made it too difficult."

The experience of shopping for a door, making a selection, making the purchase and installing it is not only too time-consuming, he said, it’s too confusing. It takes weeks, sometimes months from beginning to end.

“We know we can do it much faster and much simpler,” Lynch said.

Consider what Masonite is doing in the United Kingdom. Lynch said Masonite owns a sort of laboratory for door retailing in the digital world. A configurator showcases the offering as the contractor makes house calls. The selection process occurs online, and trasactions are made with a credit card. And here’s the kicker: Installation occurs in three days, or it’s free.

“We have recognized that the world is changing,” Lynch said, adding that the three-day-or-free approach is not in the United States, nor is there a timetable for such a move.

Another example of forward thinking is in Ybor City, the hip neighborhood of Tampa where Masonite is investing in innovation with a “Google-like” campus of 40 or 50 agile developers committed to digitizing and improving the customer experience in terms of shopping, selecting and purchasing doors.

“We believe the more that we can simplify the process, the more we will not only increase our share, but also unleash latent demand in the marketplace,” he said.

Lynch spelled out the company’s goal in the Masonite press kit: “To offer a complete solution crafted around success. Everything we do is designed to drive business by making our products, tools and services easier and more focused on supporting our trade partners.”

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