This week, I continued to send information about Trail Blazer’s 4 foot assortment and point of purchase signage displaying pruning tools & trail maintenance tools. I delivered & set-up our products at Home Hardware in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. I received news form Home Hardware’s head office in St. Jacobs Ontario.
I set up my second Home Hardware assortment this week in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. This growth may never have happened without our first assortment, I set up in Wolfville, Nova Scotia on a 4 foot wall space. I would like to take this opportunity to thank RafuseHome Hardware for all their support & thank Greenwood Home Hardware for continuing my dream. The assortment in Greenwood was slightly different because they provided me with two 3 foot end-caps. I set up Mark Choice Multi Tool system & pruning saws on one side featuring Mark’s Choice Xtend-A-Saw. While the other side displayed our telescopic pruning tools & Take-Down Buck Saw, Trail Blazer’s founding product. My header sign didn’t fit, so I’ll ask Ben to produce a new header sign for Home Hardware’s end cap displays and deliver them as soon as possible (pictures coming soon).
I received great news this week. Trail Blazer’s Reverse D-Handle Snow Shovels have now received Home Hardware warehouse numbers. These numbers make the Nova Scotia made shovels available through Home Hardware stores across Canada. Once again Home Hardware continues to work with us and show great support to Canadian manufacturing.
Repeat Merchandising with the guidance of Ben Cumming, continued to set up pruning tool assortments at the seven locations of Kent Building Supplies, located in Dartmouth NS, Halifax NS, Fredericton NB, Moncton NB, Saint John NB, Mount Pearl Nfld & St. John’s Nfld. I’m especially excited to see the sales results at Kent this year. Ben is launching his new packaging and signage with a complete new look and feel. He designed the material to promote the proud fact that Trail Blazer is a Nova Scotia owned and operated company with a side panel featuring my Dad’s founding product. The Xtend-A-Saw, which was invented, designed and manufactured in Nova Scotia, launching us towards an international success story in the pruning market. I would like to congratulate Ben on a job very well done … Dad, you did pretty well yourself.
I sent information to Kent Building Supplies last week, headquartered in Saint John, New Brunswick. I continue to wait this week to hear if this Atlantic Canadian home improvement retailer would be interested in offering Trail Blazer’s Reverse D-Handle Snow Shovels, Made in Nova Scotia, in their stores next winter.
My son, Travis, left us this week … He will be spending the next five weeks in Florida … training. Travis competes in paddling each summer and made the nationals last year. My son decided to get a job and saved up enough money to cover all his expenses to attend this five week training camp, including air fair. That took a lot of hard work and discipline while still maintaining good grades. I love him very much and couldn’t be any more proud of him.
My daughters, Natalie & Victoria, also paddle each summer & went to nationals. They will turn 15 & 13 this year … Yes my baby, Victoria will be a teenager!!! Natalie continues training for paddling all winter here in Nova Scotia. They both plan to not only follow their brother’s foot steps … but paddle right on by.
The production of Home Hardware’s Professional paint poles has begun again, with the support of Onward Plastic, our partner, in Kitchener Ontario. [http://onwardplastic.com/index.html] We started injecting our super tough nylon threaded tips (with a custom designed cone shape to accept window squeegees … close up in photo), pin locking button (displaying our proud made in Canada/Halifax … also close up shown in photo), rubber hand grips for comfort and a specially designed stabilizer that provides you with the most sturdy extension pole on the market (even when fully extended). These parts will be added to the aluminum and Home Hardware exclusive honey mustard colored fiberglass tubing, after Robert’s production team completes the Jumbo Ratcheting Anvil Lopper’s for Sam’s Club in the United States, scheduled to be completed this week. The production team will cut & drill the tubing, then rivet everything together to provide 5,000 various lengths of extension poles to Home Hardware stores across Canada.
The production of Trail Blazer’s Jumbo Ratcheting Anvil Lopper slowed down this week. The team produced & shipped 6,816 loppers last week and was only able to produce & ship 3,480 this week. They will produce & deliver the remaining 5,160 loppers and I will find out what went wrong … as the team focuses on continous improvement.
Plans for continuous improvement continued as we met with Dale Thibodeau, our BDC consultant, this week. I shared the results from our first meeting with the team and they started thinking about what actions they will undertake to achieve the financial objectives. When Dale arrived he started digging into and understanding the gaps between current and past performance. The most important questions Dale asked my team was … How much are the gaps to the forecast? What has past performance been? What has changed and why? And, what needs to be done by whom to eliminate the gap by when?
The team presented how they will meet daily, to improve delivery performance. They will work together, to control purchasing & inventory, keeping the required products needed on the shelf. Plus they will determine how they reached the required labour costs in January … to ensure they maintain it each month.
All the Best, Shawn Levangie
A Look back, February 26th 2011
One Year Ago, I took the family on a vacation through Canada & the United States. We first experienced our Canadian winter in Mont Tremblant, Quebec … an unforgettable winter experience. Then we headed east through Maine, USA where we saw much wildlife during our scenic drive to Nova Scotia.
Today, I’m limiting my time away from work to focus on the much anticipated improvements at Trail Blazer. After already experiencing many successes with continuous improvement processes and now working with Dale and determining our benchmarks, I look forward to celebrating Trail Blazer’s future with a much needed family vacation.