Here they grow again – Total Tools

Golf, V8 buggies, workshops, awards night and a buzzing trade show, were just some of the many exciting events that took place at the Total Tools Supplier Conference 2017, held on the Gold Coast from September 5 to 7.

The Total Tools group now boasts 68 stores, with 10 more stores to be opened by the end of the year and a goal of 40 more stores to open in the near future.

During his opening address, Total Tools Chairman, Warren Jones, proudly announced the Total Tools group has grown well during the past year.

“There will be another 10 stores opening this year, including a couple of stores opening up in Tassie which will make us a truly national organisation and the only group in our space that has a national presence. The great news is the growth is continuing, so things are tracking just as they have been over the last few years,” Mr Jones said.

“It is important to note that this amazing journey we are on started from just a small company, many years ago. The great news, for all of our suppliers, is that we are only probably about half way on where we want to be with still another 40 or 50 odd stores to come, before we reach what we think will be maturity. This will mean we will more than double the business turnover of where we are at currently, in the coming years. So, it has definitely been a great story and a great ride,” he said.

Total Tools’ point of difference
While touching on the thriving growth of the group, Mr Jones said that suppliers had quite a bit to look forward to in terms of quality, and strategic initiatives, that will deliver a strong distinction between Total Tools and its competitors.

“Not only will we deliver more and more growth but also a significant, competitive edge to your business. We guarantee that we will continue to grow substantially and this should be great news for all of our suppliers. If you don’t double your business with Total Tools over the next three to four years, you will have definitely missed out. So please make sure you and your company make the most of the opportunities ahead of us,” Mr Jones said.

The looming threat of Amazon was not ignored as Mr Jones wrapped up his address, and made a point of touching on the Total Tools’ point of difference, particularly with the retail market set to change substantially.

“We do tools. Nothing else. That is our business and what we are good at. We hold a lot of stock, and stock is ranged and presented so customers can touch it and feel it and try it before they buy it. Our customers can get it now, and they don’t have to wait 24 hours for it to be delivered. This includes the high-sellers as well as the low-sellers,” Mr Jones said.

“We also invest in people to deal with customers face-to-face. We invest in training people. We will also have over 120 walk in destinations before we are done. So that’s what we do. So my message is, if these things are important for your brand and for your product, then you will need Total Tools,” he said.

Mr Jones then went on to thank major conference sponsors including: Milwaukee Power Tools, Makita Power Tools, Apex Tools, Tool Technic, Saint Gobain, Stanley Black and Decker, Spot On Laser and Bosch Power Tools.

“Welcome also to all of our franchisees and the store managers who have made it along to this event and especially the new franchisees, with a number of first timers attending this conference. A big welcome to all of our staff and thank you for the outstanding effort of our support office. I will make the call that this is our best conference ever,” he said.

Golf and 4WD buggy awards
It is a yearly tradition at Total Tools to run a traditional golf day, with several awards up for grabs which are presented during the awards night. Suppliers and franchisees were in for a surprise this year when 4WD buggy racing was also an option, during the day of recreation.

Total Tools Golf Awards
Loud Pants Awards – Shawn Hindley (Total Tools Gregory Hills)
Nearest to Pin – Cam Hocking (Total Tools Bendigo)
Longest Drive – Levi Fisher
Team – Runner up – Mark Hickey, Paul Smith, Glen Issacs, Gerald Kelly
Team – Winner – Mark Timbs, Stuart Willey, Andrew Cronin, Nicole Bemelmans

4WD Buggy Awards
Highest Air – Ben Williams – Sutton
Best Driver – Glen Balk – SNA

Total Tools General Manager Merchandising, Nicole Bemelmans, alongside Total Tools Founder, Geoff Patnaude, presented a number of rep and supplier awards, including winners of the Bailey Ladder (Werner) Grand Final Promotion.

Franchise stores were in the running to win AFL Grand Final box tickets, for greatest sales achievement over the last 12 months and dollar growth throughout the period of the promotion.

Bailey Ladder Grand Final promotion winners were: Total Tools Darwin and Total Tools Midland.

Before presenting Rep of the Year Award, Mrs Bemelmans introduced Geoff Patnaude to the audience.

“Geoff will help present the Rep of the Year Award, as one of the founding fathers of the business. Many of you who know Geoff know he is very passionate about Total Tools, and is also passionate on the benefit that a great sales rep can bring to you and your store and the help they provide in terms of training people within your environment, clearing obsolete stock and the many elements that they bring to the fore,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

Geoff Patnaude 2017 Rep of the Year Award finalists:
NSW/ACT – Luke Henderson, Bosch
Vic (tied) – Glenn Murray-Lee, Apex and Steven Yeouart, Husqvarna
SA – Ian Morrison, Makita
WA – Christian Martin, Bosch
QLD/NT – Andrew Kell, Makita
Geoff Patnaude 2017 Rep of the Year winner – Andrew Kell, Makita (QLD/NT)

Supplier of the Year 2017
To be in the running to win the coveted Supplier of the Year Award, those who were eligible were put through quite a scientific process in terms of measurement, according to Mrs Bemelmans.

“Contenders are scored on sales growth, overall margin return, front end and back end, and product vitality is really important to our business etc., but it is not only those areas that are scored. The stores also have the opportunity to provide feedback across a multitude of areas such as supplier training, product quality, and complaints handling. These are all important areas where we establish who our Supplier of the Year is,” she said.

Supplier of the Year 2017 – 2nd Tier Winner
2nd runner up – Husqvarna Constructions

“Husqvarna Constructions was a company that started from humble beginnings, but in the last fi nancial year achieved a 37 per cent growth, with a 385 per cent growth over the last two years,” Mrs Be-
melmans said.

1st runner up – AG Pulley
“AG Pulley was also awarded the core range award last year aft er doubling their sales and this year they doubled them again. A healthy margin increased stock turns, an exciting promotional program and as a newbie to the centre stage, I would like to invite AG Pulley to accept their award,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

Winner – Tridon Australia
“This company has worked really hard. Th ey set about a trial and then they proceeded to not only win a core range, they personally went and merchandised every single store. Th ey provide excellent service, they are down-right great people who are passionate about ensuring a success in their space. I would like to extend big congratulations to Tridon Australia.”

Top 10 Category Supplier of the Year (Tier One winner)
2nd runner up – Stanley Black and Decker
“This team works closely with us on a weekly basis with all the category managers, and each and every store individually, achieving above average growth last year. With DeWalt growing a whopping 61 per cent in Total Tools last year, it is my pleasure to announce Stanley Black and Decker as our second runner up,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

1st runner up – Makita Australia
“Strong promotional activity and exclusive deals saw Makita grow with Total Tools in June by a whopping 63 per cent year on year; an extraordinary feat on which is our biggest month of the year,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

Top 10 Category Supplier of the Year (Tier One winner), Milwaukee Tools – Techtronic Industries.

Winner – Milwaukee Tools – Techtronic Industries.
“What a special partnership this one has become. And this year we celebrated our tenth anniversary together. Our businesses are quite strategically aligned. Our standards are the same in innovation, growth, vitality and despite the size of their turn over, they also achieved one of the lowest levels of obsolete stock within our business. For an amazing fi ft h year in a row, taking out the quintuple is Milwaukee Tools,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

When accepting the award on behalf of the Milwaukee team, Milwaukee Group Managing Director, Michael Brendle, said to win fi ve Supplier of the Year awards in a row was something very special.

“This stuff doesn’t happen by itself. There is a massive team behind the season, with our distribution and our warehouse, our finance team, customer service and the whole nine yards. They work relentlessly to ensure our service levels are maintained and we are absolutely wrapped with what is going on in the space,” Mr Brendle said.

Store of the Year Awards
While presenting the much-anticipated Store of the Year Awards, Total Tools Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cockayne, said a couple of years ago the awards were changed slightly when the Rookie Franchise Store of the Year was introduced.

“This is because there is such big growth in years two and three (of a store opening), that we wanted to separate this from the normal Store of the Year Award. There is a number of criteria with Rookie Store of the Year, including: total sales, sales growth, sales against budget and sales against forecast, exclusive brand penetration, margin, mystery shopping and internal operational review of the store. We put all this together, along with compliance and following the model and doing all the things they are supposed to be doing,” Mr Cockayne said.

Rookie Franchise Store of the Year winner – Total Tools Darwin.

Rookie Franchise Store of the Year
2nd Runner Up – Total Tools Gregory Hills
1st Runner up – Total Tools Mackay Winner – Total Tools Darwin

“Three years ago, Anthony, Warren and I went up to Darwin, to visit a little store up there who have spoken with us a few times about joining the group. Since then they have grown their business well and it is also the first store that we have put the new fixtures in. I also believe without Warren taking the chances that he does, and trying new things, he probably wouldn’t achieve the things that he does. If we ask him to try something different, he will always say yes. Alan was also the manager of Geelong and he and his wife moved to Darwin to set up for two years. It is a team effort, but with the effort they have put in, they are certainly well deserving winners,” Mr Cockayne said.

In accepting the award, Mr Jones thanked Alan for moving his family to Darwin to establish the store.

“You built the team and got it up to a very high standard before returning to Geelong. While Alan is the father of the store, Tony is the mum. We were lucky to get Tony on board and under Alan’s leadership he has taken the reins of the business, and carried on the momentum,” Mr Jones said.

Most Improved Store of the Year Award joint winner – Total Tools Townsville.

Most Improved Franchise Store of the Year
Runner up – Total Tools Lonsdale
Winner – (Joint winners were awarded for the first time) – Total Tools Traralgon and Total Tools Townsville

On presenting the joint award winners, Mr Cockayne said, Tony and Mike from Total Tools Traralgon were always looking at the bigger picture and how they can improve on their business, including constantly relocating their stores to bigger and better sites and being advocates for the new fittings.

Mr Cockayne also said David from Total Tools Townsville put in a lot of hard work to get through the tough times, sometimes sleeping at the store “But recently David said to me that he has got the best job in the world and he loves it. Sometimes you have to go through the tough times to achieve the good. David is relocating into 1800 square metres with the new fixtures as well,” Mr Cockayne said.

Franchise Store of the Year Award 2017
The Franchise Store of the Year criteria is based on sales growth, exclusive brand penetration, a mystery shop and many other things, including compliance as well, Mr Cockayne said.

“What stores need to know is that they don’t have to have the highest turnover to win. You could be half way down the ladder board and still win this because there’s so many factors in it. It is not about the bigger store, or the second biggest store, so everyone has an opportunity,” Mr Cockayne said.

2nd Runner Up – Total Tools Townsville

1st Runner up – Total Tools Wingfield
“Before Brian came into Total Tools, he was a CEO in healthcare, which is not the back ground you would expect, but when it comes to his out of stocks with his core brands, no one is near his level. He has the right people around him to help him with the business. Looking at the level you have got the business to is an inspiration because we say to other franchisees this is what can be achieved,” Mr Cockayne said.

Franchise Store of the Year award winner – Total Tools Lonsdale.

Winner – Total Tools Lonsdale
On presenting the Franchise Store of the Year Award, Mr Cockayne pointed out that this is the holy grail of the awards which represents a lot of effort, there’s a lot of things that you have to do right, with a lot of stores competing for the awards.

“As the first ever back-to-back winner, Jeremy made a big decision to do a big relocation, across the road and in 21 months he has had record sale aft er record sale. And not only that, his business sales have grown over 51 per cent in those 21 months. Amazing effort. He also has his three boys working in the store and they do a great job,” Mr Cockayne said.

On accepting the award for the second year in a row, Jeremy Atkinson first thanked the suppliers, saying that all the work and effort suppliers put into the stores made a big difference.

“I have also spent a lot of time with the support office team this year. They certainly bleed for us and it is so pleasing to hear in the couple of days how proud they are with their GP and their penetration. It is not just a job for them, it is a career and they really want to achieve for us. I take my hats off to you. I am also so very lucky to have my three boys in the business because they care about and have grown up in this business,” Mr Atkinson said.

As the award ceremony concluded, delegates were entertained with comedian Davie O’Neil and MC Colin Lane.

A bumper trade show was held the following morning with 36 suppliers presenting innovative launches and their most popular products to franchisees. Both suppliers and franchisees were pleased with the productiv-
ity displayed during the busy show.