This week I attended the National Board meeting for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters in Halifax including a dinner with Darrell Dexter, the Premier of Nova Scotia. I spent the remaining 3 days at the office reviewing supplier performance and production requirements for snow shovels to begin shipping in October.
The week started off with the National Board meeting for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. As Chairman of CME NS, I have the privilege of attending the National Board Meetings with manufacturers & exporters from across Canada to discuss our members needs. Also, on occasion I join distinguished guests at the head table during dinners. Just like Monday when I joined Jayson Myers, President & CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and The Honorable Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia.
I’m not sure what I contribute to CME, but I learn a lot listening to members like Apex Industries from New Brunswick, Bombardier from Quebec, BL Innovative Lighting from British Columbia, Ford Motor Company from Ontario, Hitachi Industries from Saskatchewan, Restwell from Newfoundland, Stanfield’s from Nova Scotia & many more.
Back at the office, all suppliers but one is meeting delivery schedules. This may sound good, but one supplier caused a two month delay in shipping Mark’s Choice loppers & shears. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to all the Home Hardware stores, we’ll start using black parts again to begin shipping immediately and no longer consider other options but make the necessary changes to improve delivery. As you may be aware we’re working with CME consulting to improve our productivity performance. We’ve studied our shipping performance & started implementing corrective action in areas with unfavorable gaps.
We have heavily involved our production & shipping team in the development of a realistic operating model. We have improved purchasing & production schedules & we’re meeting 98% delivery (when red plastic is not involved). We believe this level of performance is realistic & sustainable for all parts (including red)
After visiting a manufacturing facility in Bathurst last week, we decided to send our Xtreme™ Hatchet mold to them. They’ll be running our 13” Ergo Hatchet in multiple colors Pink, Mark’s Choice Red, Trail Blazer Blue & Hunter’s Orange. We’ll look at the possibility of offering our Extreme™ Hatchets in multiple colors from New Brunswick. If the test goes well and our present supplier is still having difficulties, we’ll start manufacturing our lopper & shear components in New Brunswick as well.
I’m excited about the possibilities this supplier is offering. The components would be produced in the Maritimes and only 3 hours away from our factory, improving quality management. Plus they’ve offered to maintain an inventory of components to ensure next day delivery, allowing us to ship to dealers on time.
As always, Trail Blazer’s new products come from feedback and suggestions we receive from our customers. This is still the case with the additions of new colors we have chosen for present products, such as the Extreme™ Hatchets. Our local outdoor retailers, in Atlantic Canada, purchase product from Glenn’s Ammo & Outdoor Gear Inc based out of Elmsdale Nova Scotia. During one of my visits with Glenn Collacutt we discussed what the retailers like or need. He shared with me that his retailers really like a line of fixed & folding knives he was offering, especially in the colors pink and orange … separately not together.
We’re presently waiting for round two of prototypes for the two new products I mentioned last week, products for the lawn & garden market that will be made here in Nova Scotia. The new products started by listening to Janet with Rafuse Home Hardware and Katharina with Manufactum in Germany.
The week ended with Victoria, my youngest daughter, joining me Saturday for an in-parking lot demo at Gow’s Home Hardware in Bridgewater. Bridgewater is where my wife Dawna is from and I could tell … I was visited by her father, mother, 2 sisters, brother-in-law & the father-in-law of her maid of honor. Victoria passed out flyers while I answered questions about which products to use for certain jobs. I was asked about many jobs including how to trim back trees that are down hill from your sitting area. When you walk down the hill the branches are too high. I recommended purchasing a Home Professional 16 foot extension pole & a Mark’s Choice Xtend-A-Pruner to screw on the pole. Overall it was a great day and extra special when my angel, Victoria, can join me.
I will be traveling with Mark Cullen next week to answer questions about our Mark’s Choice Tools (the ones we make in Nova Scotia) and Trail Blazer Products Limited. You will be able to find us at Wilson’s Home Hardware in Barrington Passage on Friday evening June 22 and Sissiboo Home Hardware in Weymouth on Saturday June 23.
All the Best, Shawn Levangie