This week I continued sending information about Trail Blazer’s 4-foot assortment & signage of pruning tools (including Mark’s Choice branded tools for Home Hardware) and continued booking appointments for delivery & set-up. I have deliveries scheduled to begin next week with both Home Hardware stores & Coop Atlantic Country Stores.
The production of Trail Blazer’s Jumbo Ratcheting Anvil Lopper continued, while Robert and his team try to take care of customers waiting for deliveries. We were scheduled to deliver in January and a month later we’re scrambling to deliver half the orders … Yes, only half, the second half is still waiting for components that we suspect will arrive in early March. The team has worked very hard this week, to produce & ship 6,816 loppers (just like the photo) and must produce & deliver another 8,640 loppers next week. Robert will have to step up his team’s game to produce & ship approximately 30% more loppers next week.
We received all the required aluminum material needed to produce Trail Blazer’s Sawvivor Saw and all back-orders were produced and shipped this week. Our next project will be to schedule plastic injection of our super tough nylon threaded tip. This will allow Robert’s team to produce more Professional Paint Poles for Home Hardware.
The stores are now going through some exciting transitions or are in the middle of the hard work involved with renovations to remodel their displays. They do this each year with anticipation for the upcoming spring season. They definitely are not looking to purchase any more snow shovels (can you blame them … we didn’t get much snow this year). This most certainly does not mean our launch of Trail Blazer’s Reverse D-Handle Snow Shovels is over. While I complete the paperwork this week, to make these Nova Scotia made snow shovels available through all Home Hardware stores across Canada. I sent out more information to the purchaser at Kent Building Supplies in Saint John, New Brunswick. I would love to see this Atlantic Canadian home improvement retailer become interested in offering Trail Blazer’s Reverse D-Handle Snow Shovels, Made in Nova Scotia, through their 34 store locations throughout the Atlantic Provinces.
Our partner, Repeat Merchandising with the guidance of Ben Cumming, started setting up pruning tool assortments at seven locations of Kent Building Supplies, located in Dartmouth, Halifax Nova Scotia, Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John New Brunswick, Mount Pearl & St. John’s Newfoundland. I look forward to receiving and sharing photos.
Continuous improvement continued at Trail Blazer Products Limited when Ben Cumming showed great leadership and took the much required initiative to start a daily meeting. These daily meetings will allow my whole management team (Ben Cumming “marketing & product development”, Betty Millard “shipping & receiving”, Monica Furlotte “sales & customer service” & Robert Woodman “production & purchasing”) to work together as a team. They must work together on a daily basis to address our #1 concern and requirement needed to improve & increase profitability. Adding more profit to the company, especially in the slow seasons, will improve cash flow. Our #1 concern being the low percentage of on-time deliveries to our valued customers. They must develop & control, on a daily basis, an inventory system that keeps enough products, at any one time, to meet our customers delivery requirements and not too much products that will be difficult to sell at the season’s end.
I received a presentation prepared by Dale Thibodeau, BDC consultant. Benchmarking our expenses based on a 2 day discussion we had last week. The presentation showed me how to add benchmarks to financials, compared to industry averages, with a detailed look at our material costs, new product development, shipping expenses & advertising.
All the Best, Shawn Levangie
A Look back, February 19th 2011
One Year Ago, I participated in a steering committee in Ottawa. Where we reviewed the results of a pre-assessment from an international trade study & made recommendations of actions for the FITT (Forum for International Trade Training) Board of Directors. (2/3 of the Canada’s economy is focused on International Trade)
Today, FITT received funding to move forward with our recommendations. I’m not participating in phase 2 while Trail Blazer requires more of my attention. I would like to wish Caroline Tompkins and her team at FITT all the best & I look forward to working with you in the future.