Total Tools – “We can’t be beaten”

Now boasting 70 stores nationally, Total Tools had plenty to celebrate at the recent 2018 Total Tools Supplier Conference, held at the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast from September 4 to 6.

Total Tools’ most recent, ‘We can’t be beaten’ marketing campaign was a pertinent reminder to franchisees, during the conference, that the group is on the right track. This was particularly evident with many success stories of stores achieving exceptional growth conveyed throughout the awards night.

With the awards held on the final night of the conference, it was also reiterated that Total Tools had reached a significant milestone, proudly reporting they were now a national group, with stores opening in both Launceston and Hobart.

It is also no secret that Total Tools will soon be inducting its new Chief Executive Officer, over the coming weeks, with Paul Dumbrell to replace Tim Cockayne. Paul did make an appearance at the conference, and will join Total Tools with a wealth of experience in franchising, retailing and wholesaling, in both privately owned and listed company environments.

However, it was acting Total Tools Chief Executive Officer, Warren Jones, who took to the podium during the awards night. His presentation was quick and complimentary on the business sessions, trade show and team building activities held throughout the conference.

Mr Jones also highlighted the positive feedback on the significant changes that were made to the conference structure this year, with the timetable significantly revamped to allow franchisees to spend two days with suppliers during the trade show, instead of one.

Team building with a difference
The annual Total Tools Golf Day was also replaced this year with an interactive team-building day of filmmaking. Total Tools franchisees were split into groups and given the opportunity to work with a professional film crew to put together a quirky, industry related film clip.

The cleverly constructed clips were shown on the big screens during the awards night and were met with lots of laughs and made for clever entertainment throughout the awards night.
Much to the delight of franchisees, awards were presented to ‘Best Actor’ (Glenn Overlunde – Moorabbin Total Tools), ‘Best Actress’ (Suling Chambers, Braeside and Carrum Downs Total Tools) and the ‘Best Picture’ (Team Number Three) by Total Tools General Manager Marketing, Darren Gunton, for those “who put their body and mind into the craft of film making”.

Best Stand Award
It was during the trade show that suppliers displayed a superior level of stand presence and interaction, particularly with two new ‘Best Stand Awards’ introduced into the awards ceremony this year.

James Cooper, National Category Manager at Total Tools, presented the ‘Best Stand Award’, in two categories, and encouraged suppliers to lift the trade show to a new level.

“Tonight we introduce a brand new award we have brought in this year. I think from what we have seen from many of the stands is that suppliers have lifted their game and this is exciting to see. Not only were some of the stands amazing, but some of the deals delivered during the trade show were very strong. There are two awards in this category, the first being ‘Best Stand’, where we really focus on the look and feel category, while the second award focuses on the strength of the deal offered, as well as engagement with franchisees, which was a high priority,” James said.

Best Stand Award – Offer – Sutton Tools
Best Stand Award – Overall – Bosch

“The winner of ‘Best Stand Award’ had a great offer, and was awarded to Sutton Tools, while the new ‘Engagement Award’ also on offer, saw suppliers definitely stepping up. The winner this year really took their level of engagement to a completely new level. They were highly engaging with a lot of products on the stand so you could see a lot of elements to the business, and this was awarded to Bosch,” Matt Callinan, Advertising Manager for Total Tools said.

Supplier of the Year 2018 (Tier Two) was awarded to Chervon.

Another impressive twist to this year’s Total Tools trade show saw several stands selling off their display stock to franchisees during the show, with all proceeds donated to the ‘Buy a Bale Campaign’. The generous campaign sees bales of hay donated to farmers who are unable to feed their stock due to extensive drought throughout NSW and Queensland. Chervon was one such supplier, putting its stand of EGO products up for grabs during the conference and raising over $42k for the campaign.

Sales Rep of the Year
Total Tools Founder, Geoff Patnaude, along with General Manager Merchandising, Nicole Bemelmans, went on to present the ‘Rep of the Year Award’, as well as several supplier awards including ‘Top 10 Category Supplier of the Year’.

On presenting the ‘Sales Rep of the Year’, Mr Patnaude pointed out that integrity, energy, and enthusiasm from sales reps remains paramount in achieving great outcomes.
“The rep who brings these qualities is always welcome to Total Tools with open arms. These are the people that value add, both for their own company and their customers as well,” Mr Patnaude said.

This 2018 Total Tools ‘Rep of the Year Award’ saw the winner awarded with a $5000 cheque. Franchisees scored reps they believed worthy of the award based on the following criteria: regular call activity, sign in, checks credit returns, inventory reports, showing new line and samples, stock counts and cleanliness, training, regular range reviews, special event support and a strong attitude to support the business.

Geoff Patnaude 2017 Rep of the Year Award finalists:
NSW/ACT – Stephen Creamer, Bosch
VIC/TAS – Lucas Nielsen, Stanley Black & Decker
SA – Ian Morrison, Makita
WA – Grant Price, Tridon Australia Pty Ltd.
QLD – Anthony Marsh, Milwaukee

Geoff Patnaude 2018 Rep of the Year winner – Lucas Nielsen, Stanley Black & Decker (VIC/TAS).

“Lucas started with Stanley Black & Decker around 12 months ago, as a sales rep in the power tool team. He has quickly climbed to a leader role and has instilled a culture of accountability and value adding principles. Lucas has been promoted to State Sales Manager, looking after both the hand tool and power tool range,” Mr Patnaude said.

Supplier of the Year 2018
When presenting the ‘Supplier of the Year’ award, General Manager Merchandising, Nicole Bemelmans, said, “We couldn’t be successful without the suppliers that are in this room and I really do mean it when I say our success is your success.

“I would love to give each and every one of you an award but these days it is pretty tough going to get on the podium with such fierce competition. Recapping what constitutes the voting in relation to the ‘Supplier of the Year ‘award, is a 50/50 split. The franchisees do a vote based on invoice accuracy, profitability, new products, training, product quality, store representation, complaints handling, and most importantly the in-store support. In addition to this, it is about profitability. It is so important that we have a sustainable business model moving forward, including front end and back in margin, innovation, new product technology and offering exclusive opportunities are all key criteria in the voting,” Ms Bemelmans said.

Supplier of the Year 2018 – Second Tier

With over 100 suppliers in the running for the Second Tier, it is very tough to win a position in this category, according to Mrs Bemelmans.

2nd runner up –A.G. Pulie

“This year’s second runner up made their way to the podium last year, so it’s a real testament that they backed it up again this year. With double digit growth, margin gains, they have brought us many, many exclusive deals,” Mrs Bemelmans said when presenting the award to A.G. Pulie.

1st runner up – Josco

“This team actually got the highest vote from the franchisee network. Again, they have made massive improvements in margin. They also have a great distribution strategy, amazing growth in what is a very mature category within our business. It is hard to get those high double-digit growth levels that help enable you to find a position on this stage. Congratulations Josco,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

Store Manager of the Year Award was presented to Alison Barwick of Total Tools Townsville.

Second Tier Winner – Chervon

“What a Cinderella story our winner of Tier Two is tonight. They are a relatively new supplier to Total Tools, only just entering into the third year of business with us and have not been in the Australian market place for too much longer than that. There is no doubt that they have been riding the wave of technology in this particular market and they top the sales growth chart given that their growth is up triple digits on previous years. They excelled in many other key areas. Congratulations Chervon,” Mrs Bemelmans said.
Chervon General Manager, Barry Crowhurst, said it has been an amazing journey, since taking a risk in 2016 with the Total Tools trial program.

“Twelve months later we agreed to a range and then 12 months after that, to receive this accolade is definitely an achievement for our business. Certainly, I guess innovation comes in many waves, but the innovative wave in which Total Tools goes to market has certainly helped EGO be successful in this new category,” the spokesperson said.

Top Ten Category Supplier of the Year Award (Tier One) was presented to Milwaukee.

Top 10 Category Supplier of the Year (Tier One)

“The Top 10 Category Supplier of the Year (Tier One) is a really tough class because these suppliers all bring something to the table and the race gets tighter and tighter every year. In fact when separating second place to sixth place, out of 100 per cent, was less than two per cent,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

2nd Runner Up – Bosch

“This winner had the highest store score award, including 38 per cent growth, improvements in margin, and a channel strategy that we absolutely applaud,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

1st Runner Up – Stanley Black & Decker

“This winner did make it to the podium last year after somewhat of a long drought. They continue to claw their way through many areas of our business and I have to say this particular supplier worked as hard if not harder than anybody did. We get a lot of support across all levels of the business, across all brands and they had a stellar double-digit growth. They also brought a lot of exclusive opportunities in their product ranges and launch advantages,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

Winner – Milwaukee Power Tools

“This is just a remarkable effort with amazing store support across all facets of their business. They continue to be the innovators in this industry, but they look at the business from all aspects, right through to user engagement. They drive significant demand, and traffic into our stores. With remarkable double-digit growth, these guys pulled it out of the bag year after last year. And this is the sixth occasion. Congratulations Milwaukee,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

Techtronic Industries’ Managing Director, Michael Brendle said, “It was really 11 years ago that we put a strategy together around how we go to market and one of those was not selling to the Big Box – that will continue. The results we are getting with this group is absolutely stellar and we really appreciate the feedback and the support that we get across the board.
The journey is a long one and is one I feel still has a long way to go. We are really excited by what the future looks like. We are really quite humbled getting this award for the sixth time.”

Store Manager of the Year, Most Improved Franchise and Store of the Year
Total Tools General Manager of Operations, Scott Fitzgerald and acting Total Tools CEO, Warren Jones, finished the awards night off by presenting ‘Store Manager of the Year’, as well as ‘Most Improved Franchise Award ‘ and ‘Store of the Year’.

Store Manager of the Year Award
Mr Fitzgerald, said, “This is the second year we have presented the ‘Store Manager of the Year Award’, but this year we are introducing Runner’s Up awards as well. The calibre of our store managers continues to improve year on year.”

“The criteria for this award is someone who is with the business for at least one year, has a commitment to business, works well with the support office and regional manager, as well as the overall performance of the store, which includes sales, margin and inventory performance. This is along with the support of special events, willingness to embrace new ideas and make an impact beyond their own store,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

2nd Runner Up – Jason Williams – Total Tools Brooklyn

“The Second Runner Up kicked off the year in a magnificent new store and a grand opening event over three days with over half a million dollars in sales. This store manager achieves growth without compromising standards and processes, which can be a difficult thing, including a sales growth of 49 per cent whilst maintaining a healthy margin,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Runner Up – Tony Wood – Total Tools Darwin

“The Runner Up is a very well rounded store manager who is not easily flustered when put in tough conditions and things just get done. He is very driven, very motivated producing an amazing result for the year with the store with double-digit growth in a store that is maturing,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Winner – Alison Barwick – Total Tools Townsville

“It has been a challenging year for this store manager. Running a store that is relocated is a monstrous task for a store carrying 10,000 products. With a double-digit sales growth, the store also had one of the best ever-grand opening events, while remaining impeccably merchandised regardless of what is happening in the business. This manager runs a tight ship, follows the model and keeps everyone moving in the right direction, while always recognising the efforts of the team, Mr Fitzgerald said.

In accepting the award Alison said, “It is very humbling to win the award. I have a strong team up there so it makes my job easy. I look forward to growing with Total Tools. Where we are going as a company is amazing.”

Store of the Year Awards

Rookie Franchise Store of the Year (stores that have been trading for three years or less).

2nd Runner Up – Total Tools Midland WA
1st Runner up – Total Tools Kewdale
Winner – Total Tools East Brisbane

This year’s Rookie Store of the Year winner has only been open for about a year, so it is tremendous it is in this position,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“It is the second store for these franchisees and is already a strong business with strong sales achieved in their first full year. This store also has one of the healthiest margins in the business, boasting a standard score at over 98 per cent. It is a very progressive franchisee with an exceptional store team,” he said.

Upon receiving the award, Mark Timbs of Total Tools Brisbane said, “I think the benefit of already owning a store for a long time and starting a second store in good area which does not have lot of competition probably helps a bit. I cannot thank Johnno enough. He is a key member of the team. And it has been a great year and a half.”

Most Improved Franchise Award

2nd Runner Up – Total Tools Warner’s Bay – NSW
1st Runner Up – Total Tools Epping – VIC
Winner – Total Tools Melton – VIC

The winner in this category was a surprise, according to Mr Fitzgerald, who said this was because the store flies under the radar a bit.

“With a high turnover and terrific results in terms of their standards and mystery shops, their scores were at 94 per cent, 97 per cent respectively. They also have a really strong support of the program, a great looking store, positive team, and a store manager that could not do more for you. Congratulations Warren and Shouk of Total Tools Melton.”

Warren Jones said, “Shouk and I are just receiving this for our manager, Darren Block, who is just 100 per cent committed to that store. He is the one who should be here to receive this so all credit goes to him.”

Store of the Year

2nd Runner Up – Total Tools Wingfield – SA
1st Runner Up – Total Tools Brooklyn – VIC
Winner – Total Tools Toowoomba – QLD

Mr Fitzgerald said when looking at the growth of this business, it was easy to see why the winner of this award achieved an exceptional result and was certainly a very worthy winner.

Total Tools Store of the Year Award was presented to Total Tools Toowoomba.

“The store recently undertook an impressive relocation to a store, with now over 2000 square metres of retail space, which is a far cry of what they once were. Sales from this store grew by a considerable amount in the year. The store also held amazing insider events, which was well supported by many suppliers, as well as local area marketing that includes Agfest. This generated over half a million in sales and does take a lot of work.”

“With sales for the year very high and a new single month’s sales record, the store has continued strong growth throughout the year. We will be expecting this store to produce results somewhere that are even greater,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

On accepting the award, Stefano Hlaca shared a significant story with dinner guests.

“In about 1984, Dave and I were at school together. On the last day of the school term, we were in Mass, because we went to a Catholic school. Dave nudged me in Mass and said, ‘Hey Butch! Bring me one of those biscuits.’ The next thing you know we were pulled up the back of the hall by the scruff of our necks. Brother Warren took us up the back, and he said to us, “You two will never amount to anything.” Tonight I can say this award is for you Brother Warren!”

The award night wrapped up with Egyptian/Australian comedian and actor, Akmal Saleh, who entertained delegates with anecdotes on ethnicity, as well as some of his most popular pranks he has pulled on the general public over the years.

On leaving the conference the next day franchisees and suppliers said they were pleased with the new format of the conference, including the new style of team building implemented, and looked forward to creating many more success stories throughout the year ahead.