Total Tools in New Zealand

The Total Tools conference went off to a rapid start with all franchisees jumping aboard jet boats in Queenstown almost directly from the airport once the planes landed. The jet boating experience seemed to wake people up with a few splashes during the adrenaline-filled water ride. Afterwards, a welcome lunch was provided by Stanley Black & Decker.

Later that night, a memorable dinner was held atop the Heritage Hotel that is famous for the view of the towering Remarkables mountain range rising from the rippled waters of Lake Wakatipu; a perfect picture postcard scene. As sponsors for the evening, Milwaukee, impressed by providing heated jackets to the franchisees once the sun went down and the cool mountain air came through.

Climbing new heights

The theme for the 2011Total Tools conference is “The Climb” and well suited to the mountain location of Queenstown. It also relates well to the experience of Total Tools that has gone from strength to strength since it was established in 1989. With over 150 people in attendance including suppliers, franchisees and support staff from head office, the conference was a culmination of the group’s success. National marketing manager Jon Yarnall says, “Our annual supplier conference keeps getting better every year. Not only do we have a growing group of franchisees, we have the commitment and support of the leading suppliers and their CEOs to ensure its success.”

During the conference, all the franchisees are given a dedicated time to hear from the Total Tools team about what is coming up in 2012 that includes exciting plans of new marketing campaigns, exclusive supplier offers and more store openings around the country. This is just a few of the initiatives to come from the group.

Supplier support

There were over 30 different suppliers in attendance for the week in Queenstown, and there were many opportunities to build on the strong relationships between Total Tools and its supplier companies. Amongst the idyllic surroundings and numerous activities, supplier representatives are able to get to know the franchisee store owners. Platinum sponsors Stanley Black & Decker as well as Milwaukee along with Gold sponsors Hitachi, Irwin Tools and Bosch Power Tools all had several opportunities to get in front of the franchisees to foster even better communications.

One of the most notable days involved the early morning helicopter ride to the top of the Remarkables mountains for a champagne breakfast. The scenic flight took them to the spur of the Remarkables, 1538 metres above Queenstown.

Back on the ground, the annual exhibition where suppliers are able to showcase their range, deals and upcoming campaigns is never dull with every franchisee busily trying to visit each booth in the time allocated. General manager of merchandise Andrew Illichmann, explains, “The expo is a perfect opportunity to foster and grow the strong product offer we have at Total Tools. We see bigger and better offers from our suppliers every year that enables us to put together the strongest possible offer to our customers.”

Golf play

What conference in the hardware industry can occur without the obligatory golf game? It is usually a time where there is a mix of golfers and non-golfers trying to ensure that embarrassment isn’t the end outcome. Queenstown has one of the most picturesque golf courses in the world, surrounded by the clean waters of the Lake Wakatipu. At the Total Tools event, there were over 70 people playing and the striking, photographic scenery definitely added to the enjoyable day.

Gala awards
As a pleasant way to end the golf day activities, the Total Tools Gala Awards night was held at the Skyline ballroom, a unique New Zealand attraction, that allows visitors to experience the majestic landscape from a different perspective. Attendees were transported up the mountain location by gondolas high above Queenstown for panoramic views over the lakes and towns.

Entertainment for the night was a band called The Hitmen who sang swing tunes and emceed the event that provided the backdrop for the much anticipated annual awards. First up were the Golf Awards. The winning team consisted of Total national operations manager Rob Klaassen, Brian Grabham (Total Tools Granville), Chris Marion (Bata) and Aaron Jamieson (Bosch NZ). The NAGA Award for 2011’s losing team was given to Tim Feldman (Total Tools Ballarat), Tom Haynes (WTW magazine), David Card (Total Tools support office).

Franchise development manager Neville Bruns also spoke about the criteria involved in the Franchisee of the Year Award. In-store merchandise, training, stock control and sales are just a few of the key criteria. The 2011 winner of the prestigious award is Warren Jones from Total Tools Brooklyn (VIC) who was happy to receive it from both from Bruns and Klaassen.

Geoff, Chris and Alex Patnaude from Total Tools Albury were presented the 2011 Store Achievement Award by Yarnall and Director of Total Tools Michael Tonkin. “The Store Achievement Award is awarded to the most improved store from the previous year, and not only focuses on sales but other important KPIs across the business,” explains Yarnall.

General manager of merchandise and imports Andrew Illichmann was proud to present the Total Tools Geoff Patnaude Sales Representative of the Year Award. The award and joint $5000 cash prize was presented to a very deserving John McNamara from Milwaukee Tools.

Illichmann along with Ian Chambers, founding member and franchisee of Total Tools Braeside, had the honour of presenting the Supplier of the Year Awards for 2011. The awards are divided into two categories: over $1million in purchases and under $1million in purchases. The under $1milion Total Tools Supplier of the Year Award was presented to a proud Alan Stewart from Bahco. Soon after, the Total Tools over $1million Supplier of the Year Award was given to Kai Schmid, Jean Claude Kathriner and Gary Milne from Bosch Power Tools. As hard working companies who have thoroughly supported the group, Working hard and strongly supporting the group, Bahco and Bosch Power Tools were deemed as well deserving winners of the awards.

To wind up the conference and a week of lively events, a farewell dinner was organised for all franchisees and suppliers. Most agreed that Queenstown was a spectacular venue for the laest Total Tools conference that left the attendees feeling excited and enthusiastic for 2012 and beyond.

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