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Doric launches EPEC Cylinder – turning doors digitally with ease

Innovators of door and window hardware, Doric, introduced the new EPEC Electronic Pin Euro Cylinder (EPEC) door lock to the marketplace, delivering multi-user PIN code functionality and management for Euro Cylinder lock bodies.

Providing doors with a smarter look, the EPEC quickly and easily replaces traditional fixed or floating cam key lock Euro cylinders with a digital key and turn operation, all while retaining the existing lock body and handle.

While most digital-key entry locks are only a single handle body lock option, EPEC is designed to fit the existing Euro cylinder profile and provide a greater choice of designs in handle furniture and lock bodies.

The EPEC allows users to create and manage up to two groups and a total of 12 unique pin codes, with one significant advantages of the system being that lost keys will be a thing of the past.

Another role of the unique programming function is the ability to add temporary codes for tradespeople and visitors.

Completely keyless, users simply enter a six-digit pin code, which acts as a digital key, allowing the door to lock and unlock.

Intuitive multi-oriented programming means that the pin pad always positions the numeral one at the top left pin location, thanks to an internal orientation sensor.

This design feature also means that the different keys on the pad wear evenly over time.

EPEC’s battery life is good for three to five years of use and 9,000 operations, with the single CR2 battery able to be quickly swapped over.

At the heart of the development of EPEC is Doric’s stringent testing program, ensuring the long service life of the products.

This program included cycle testing, battery life cycle testing, ingress protection testing (IP55 – rating against rain, hail, snow and dust), penetration testing, salt bath testing, ultimate testing and software testing.

The design features Stainless Steel 316 Actuators and Anti Drill Plate for tamper protection, while other components are made from extruded and machined brass and diecast zinc, EPEC also secures against software attacks to the highest standards.

Available in 62 millimetre and 70 millimetres cylinder body sizes, EPEC can be used on front and rear entry doors, French hinged doors, sliding doors, hinged doors and security doors, and is compatible with Doric hardware items such as the DS2400 Mortice Lock, DS1400, DS1500 and DS1600 Hinged Door Locks, as well as the DS2075 Hinged Barrier Door Lock, and the DS2220 Sliding Barrier Door Lock.

Styled to suit these different installations, the EPEC is available in satin black and satin chrome silver, with the package coming complete with an easy to follow, step-by-step installation guide.

Also contained with the product are programming instructions for the system, which are all completed via the keypad, with no computer connection required.

The instructions walk users through the process of adding new PINs, erasing a user PIN, changing the master PIN (which will initially be carried out once the lock is installed), erasing one of the two groups of PINs (for example, resetting six temporary PINs at once), as well as how to activate snib mode, and turning the beep function on and off.

Further details on EPEC and the entire Doric range of window and door hardware products are available on the new-look Doric website, with online sales also now available via www.doric.com.au.

Another sell-out for Ireland’s 2021 Show

Rescheduled from February 2021 until November 2021, the official show of the Hardware Association Ireland – The Hardware Show 2021 – will now run from the 14th to the 15th of November 2021 at the Citywest Hotel and Conference Centre, Saggart, Co. Dublin, according to a recent Hardware Journal (Ireland) report.

With over 85 per cent of the total stand space allocated to date, it is clear that industry support for The Hardware Show has been overwhelming, and there is an obvious pent-up demand from suppliers to have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their customers.

Commenting on the importance of the event to suppliers, one exhibitor, Niall Nugent, Sales and Marketing Director for Ames True Temper said in the report that, “Since its creation in 1971, The Hardware Show has become the single biggest and best event offering exhibitors the best possible opportunity to stage their products and meet with both existing and new potential customers.”

Government clarity was recently secured by The Irish Exhibition Organisers Association (IEOA) which outlines that trade fairs and exhibitions may be run under Levels 1 and 2 of COVID-19 Government guidelines, signalling that planning can re-commence for the organisation of the event.

Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Robert Troy, acknowledged his support for enabling trade fairs and exhibitions to recommence in 2021.

“I am delighted to see first-hand the level of preparedness that venues are making to ensure that they can reopen safely when permitted under public health guidance and the Government’s Living with COVID-19 Roadmap. A significant effort has been made by the industry to develop protocols for the safe return to business. I envisage no reason that trade exhibitions cannot reopen in Level 2, subject to a decline in trajectory of the virus,” Minister Troy said in the Hardware Journal’s report.

“As Minister for Trade Promotion, I recognise the value of face-to-face engagement and business networking and I look forward to the reopening of the business events and trade shows in the coming months. 2021 is the year we make trade a priority, and I will continue to work with my Government colleagues to see the safe return of trade exhibitions which give businesses the space to make connections and work together,” Minister Troy said.

Under levels 1 and 2 of COVID-19 Government guidelines, IEOA-drafted COVID-19 protocols are said to be in place at The Hardware Show to ensure best practice health and safety standards are delivered once trade fairs and exhibitions recommence.

The IEOA protocols have been reviewed by the Health and Safety Authority and the Department of Health and are important document in ensuring trade fairs are one of the safest indoor environments during the pandemic, according to the Government.

House-Hasson sets virtual market record

America’s largest independent regional hardware distributor, House-Hasson Hardware, recently saw its January 2021 virtual dealer market blow past all previous markets (in the company’s 115-year history) in sales size and growth, according to a recent hardwareconncetcion.com report.  

House-Hasson President and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Henry said in the report that sales for the January 2021 market were up about 30 per cent over January 2020 and up 20 per cent over its previous largest-ever market, in June 2020.

“The number of dealers and vendors continues to grow, and with it, sales and dealer profitability. Dealer profitability is our goal,” Mr Henry said.

The market, for independent hardware stores and lumberyards, was held January 27-29 and plans are now in place to combine a virtual dealer market with a June 2021 in-person event, according to Mr Henry.  

“Things can change, obviously, given the pandemic, but our goal is to get together with dealers and vendors at the Summer 2021 dealer market in Sevierville, Tenn. Relationships and personal contact are fundamental to our business. While dealers and vendors are making great use of our virtual markets – and a virtual component will remain part of our program – there is a strong desire to get back together,” Mr Henry said in the report.

House-Hasson’s Vice President of Merchandising, Json Monroe said that approximately 1,800 dealers and 500 vendors participated in January’s market.

“January’s market was unique in the sheer number and volume of special buying opportunities. Our buying staff worked closely with our vendors to put together the most comprehensive offering of promotions that we have ever offered, and the result was a 25 per cent increase in the overall number of specials,” Mr Monroe said in the report.

“The simplicity with which the application is laid out and its ease of use is helping customers make their choices quickly and efficiently. We have intentionally kept aspects of our virtual market as similar to our physical markets as possible, and we believe that has helped with the results,” he said.

Ten vendors new to House-Hasson were part of the virtual market and included:  

  • RPS Products – pleated HVAC air filters. 
  • Taylor Enterprises – engine lubrication and fluid products. 
  • Nemadji – CBD and Hemp products.  
  • Alton Industries – wet/dry vacuums. 
  • CircSaw Technologies – skate plates and guides. 
  • Emax – Air compressors. 
  • Mountain View Seeds – grass seed. 
  • Melnor – hoses and accessories. 
  • Legacy Manufacturing – water hoses and accessories. 
  • SitePro – surveying tools. 

Image: thehardwareconnection.com

“Between our market and the general scale of business today, we are as busy – and perhaps busier – than at any time in the life of House-Hasson. Can the sheer size and scale of business activity be a challenge? Yes, but it is a good challenge to take on, for the benefit of our dealers,” Mr Henry said in the hardwareconnection.com report.

House-Hasson’s Summer Dealer Market is scheduled for June 17-19 at the Sevierville Events Center in Sevierville, Tenn. 

 

Homebase launches garden centres after partnering with Next

UK based Homebase is now delivering the best of its gardening products to a selection of Next stores, as part of a new trial between the two well-loved British brands, according to a recent diyweek.com report.

The new Homebase garden centres recently opened in six Next stores in Shoreham, Ipswich, Warrington, Camberley, Bristol and Sheffield, which also coincides with non-essential shops reopening. The trial will allow customers to combine shopping for quality clothing and homeware from Next with a variety of plants, pots and garden tools needed to spruce up or totally transform outdoor spaces from Homebase, according to the report.

While Homebase team members offer expert advice in-store, customers are also invited to take advantage of personalised hints and tips available via the plant care app. SmartPlant. Homebase’s entire range of plants have now been added to the app, and extra help is available to customers just by scanning the barcode.

Homebase Chief Executive Officer, Damian McGloughlin said the Homebase team was, “delighted to be joining forces with Next and bringing our garden products and expertise to its stores. It is all part of our wider commitment to make shopping with us easier and provide even more inspiration and expert advice.”

“We are a great nation of gardeners, with more and more people enjoying the benefits of gardening and being outside. The launch of these new garden centres means we are able to offer more gardeners, both experienced and those just starting out, Homebase products in more locations across the country,” Mr McGloughlin said in the report.

Homebase is also set to open more of its small-format stores by mid- April including a dual-branded Kitchens by Homebase and Bathstore, DECORATE by Homebase, and its first small-format Homebase store. The openings will bring the total number of Homebase’s small-format stores to six across Guildford, Cheadle and Sutton.

NZ Mitre 10’s new CEO creates history

Mitre 10 New Zealand’s incoming Chief Executive Officer, Andrea Scown, recently spoke exclusively with AHJ on her new appointment. During the interview Andrea said she was thrilled to not only be the first female Chief Executive Officer of the Mitre 10 New Zealand group, but also the first internally appointed Chief Executive Officer after formerly holding the position of Chief Operating Officer.

Beginning her career with the group in 2017 as the General Manager of Retail Operations, Andrea brought plenty of retail experience to the role, including General Manager of Millers, as well as acting Chief Executive Officer at EziBuy and Chief Operating Officer of Bendon. However, it was Mitre 10’s culture that attracted Andrea to the group initially.

“While I have always had a high appreciation of the building and home improvement sector, I also knew that I loved the Mitre 10 brand as a customer myself because the stores had such a great feel about them.”

“While Australian Mitre 10s are far more trade orientated, here the customer base is also a little bit more female orientated than Bunnings and you do get a sense of this in-store. In saying this, our members not only deliver a great mix of beautiful gardens in-store but also the hard of the hardware at the other end with drive-though and trade,” she said.

“While we are more strongly retail, this does primarily depend on the store with some stores being 50/50 and others more retail-dominant. However, if you rolled the business all into one, it would be 60/40 retail to trade. Stores deliver different impressions depending on where they are. Some stores are very big in trade and have their own frame and truss plants while all Mitre 10 MEGA stores have a drive-through and a certain range of timber supplies and products. They all have a core range and supplement this with local ranging that appeals to their specific customer preferences,” Andrea said.

Post and pre-COVID challenges

While the past 12 months have presented its own set of challenges to the group – and the New Zealand hardware industry as a whole – Andrea said members and store teams have coped incredibly well with the unprecedented demand throughout several COVID lockdowns.

“Mitre 10 effectively had to slip through four different operating models while trading in and out of alert levels throughout different parts of the country. We first went into lockdown on my birthday last year, so within 48 hours we had to close down the entire store network. As you can imagine this is no easy feat when you have got a lot of live products – we have the biggest garden centres in New Zealand. This had a real impact on us. Then remaining open for essential service providers had its own challenges in terms of what products were essential and what were not,” she said.

“I remember getting a call late one Saturday night from a member who was very concerned about whether or not they could sell shower curtains to the local medical centre because this request was not like selling emergency type building products to the trade. But the medical centre needed the shower curtains for beds. This was one example of when we had to use our own judgement at a local level and do what we thought was right. It was such a crazy time.”

“Luckily, we had already established Click & Collect, but we had to deliver goods outside of the building during lockdown by implementing a drive-through traffic management system where customers stayed in the car while we loaded their car boots,” Andrea said.

After the lock down, the group was then challenged with re-opening stores with social distancing in place.

“With Auckland being a major city and reverting back into alert level three at times, this meant we had to trade throughout the country in very different ways. The beauty of this co-operative is that they have the ability to pivot very quickly. So while I was at the centre of directing what we needed to do at each level, I also knew with absolute confidence that the stores were executing amazingly. This was particularly evident through our outstanding customer feedback on how easy it was to deal with us through that whole period. We are very proud of this, especially with so much of our team standing up during that time and really showing what they were capable of,” Andrea said.

Supply chain woes

While supply chain issues continue to ravage the hardware industry currently, particularly within New Zealand’s timber sector, Andrea said she was grateful that all members had made the choice to buy stock at large pre-COVID.

“This turned out to be a great move because when doors did reopen, we had the product to sell. Our members also stood by the purchase orders they had made with trade partners before COVID and our partners really saw that we were all in this together. It would not have been right to just stop buying. Suppliers do not forget when you honour purchasing promises,” she said.

“Now we are having the opposite issue with people knowing far more about supply chain than they ever wanted to know. Every day our category team just tries to manage stock along with our trade partners and it is taking a tremendous amount of focus.”

“Long term retailers are so used to looking to the past to predict what is going to happen next. If there is anything I have learnt in this past year, it is that history will not help us and we really just have to play out what is in front of us,” Andrea said. 

While structural timber supplies remain an industry-wide issue throughout New Zealand, Andrea believes the Mitre 10 group will not be impacted as a whole given the group’s current model.

“Our stores are locally owned businesses and our members have local relationships and supply agreements with local providers. Supply issues sit more with pockets of stores impacted by Carter Holt Harvey’s ceasing of supply. The beauty of a co-operative is that often other members have stock supplies and availability. We are currently working internally to help run another route for those pockets of stores that are running short and so far we are managing quite well,” she said.

When discussing the increased utilisation of locally made product as an ongoing solution to supply issues, Andrea said greenlife and timber is already bought locally and Mitre 10 New Zealand imports a lot less than people think. 

“In saying this, I think any business is open to a sustainable supply chain today. It makes sense to source locally because the freight costs would certainly be lower, so if it was sustainable and reliable, all businesses will be open to that,” she said.

Mitre 10 MEGA in Wanaka New Zealand is one of many popular MEGA stores based throughout the country.

Future plans  

For now, Andrea’s number one strategic priority is Mitre 10 New Zealand’s substantial five-year transformation program which has now progressed into its second year. The program not only includes complete changes to the group’s technology systems but also the reimagining of the group’s operating model and processes.

“This includes changing how work is done to become a more efficient retailer and one that is capable of delivering an even better customer experience than we do today. In saying this, we will be implementing the transformation program on the back of substantial over-trading throughout the past year,” she said.

“Our consistent new waterline means we are trading at levels that would be typical of the four to five weeks around Christmas and this has been going for 14 months straight. This brings its own challenges, including ensuring the team has sufficient holidays.” 

“Our number one priority is looking after the team because they are the ones looking after the customers. The backdrop of how flat-out things are at the moment is top of mind for me. I think me being an internal appointment and really well-known within the co-operative has meant that I am truly delivering stability to the team. We also understand that the transformation program is now being run on the backdrop of continuing to run a great retail business,” Andrea said.

For now, Mitre 10 New Zealand will continue to deliver on several strategic projects, including improved customer programs and improved team engagement programs. 

“The group is currently launching a brand-new customer feedback program, as well as a major new brand campaign that kicks off in July. We have also have developed mindset training for everyone involved in the transformation program and we are looking at the store of the future and evolving the store footprint,” she said.

“We are in the thick of omni-channel retailing and that true online to offline customer journey. This means continuing to deliver initiatives in this space such as Click ‘n’ Collect lockers, in-bay digital displays in our paint colour centres, and implementing ways to connect those channels to customers just to remove any friction.”

“The group has implemented a good strategic road map that is endorsed by our board and our membership. Anything I now bring to the role is a build-on rather than a fundamental change. In terms of strategic areas, it is about cracking on with what already is in place,” Andrea said. 

On-line space

While Andrea believes the co-operative’s customers continue to seek both an online and in-store experience, much of the shopping does start online, even if the purchase journey is finalised in-store. Mitre 10 New Zealand will continue to fully embrace the omni-channel retail approach, with customers looking for a seamless cross-channel experience, hence continuing the focus on developing the online offering, according to Andrea.

“Obviously our online channel grew exponentially from a low base pre-COVID and the pandemic has taken this to a whole new level. So our continued annual investment in accelerating our online capabilities will not stop and this includes everything from content to product searches. Content is very important given that this is where customer journeys often start, so we are completely up for anything that prompts customers to come to the store or order with us online. While we are only partway through this journey, online will be a growing feature for us, particularly when I look at where overseas markets are in this space,” Andrea said.

Combatting competition

As the largest home improvement retailer in New Zealand currently, Mitre 10 New Zealand continues to build new stores despite Bunnings expanding its footprint, according to Andrea.

“Bunnings certainly is a competitor to be respected and we watch them closely. I personally admire numerous things about their business but we are quite a different proposition in that we are a higher customer-serving model. We have to stick to that as our competitive advantage.”

“We have been gauging market share growth over the last year particularly and this is slow but steady. While you need to know your competitor, you need to focus on what you are known for and dial that up,” she said. 

Growing into the future

For now, Andrea says, the co-operative will stay the course of not only building new stores but developing its online channel, while also ensuring its trade business continues to grow through recent launches such as the SmartMate Customer Accounts. The new innovation may be used by trade, commercial and business customers across multiple stores and has been a massive boost to new customer acquisitions, according to Andrea.

“We will continue to launch initiatives that hit the right note with retail, trade and online customers and ensure that we certainly do not take the foot off the gas and become complacent,” she said.

Big River Group expands its offering with Timberwood acquisition

Building industry leader, Big River Group, has continued to expand its national network and increase its architectural product offering with the recent acquisition of specialty manufacturer, the Timberwood Group. 

The acquisition sees the strong and successful operating histories of both businesses combine to create a larger and more diversified business.

While Big River Group is recognised as an industry expert in plywood and decorative panels, the opportunity to buy a quality player with niche manufacturing and distribution capability across a range of panel products was especially attractive to group. This was because the purchase was consistent with Big River’s strategy for geographical and segment growth, transforming the group into a major player in the plywood and architectural panels markets across both Australia and New Zealand.

Timberwood has operated in the market for 13 years now and is has proven to be particularly strong in the architectural product area as a specialty manufacturer and distributor of a range of panel products including veneers, veneered and coloured boards, plywood, particleboard and MDF. 

Big River’s Chief Executive Officer, Jim Bindon, said he was excited to announce that Big River was embarking a significant step in progressing its growth strategy in the specialty panels market, “with a transaction that will transform us into a leading player in plywood and architectural panels markets.”

“This is highly complementary with the expansion the company undertook into New Zealand in 2019, together with the long history Big River has across a range of specialised panel products,” Mr Bindon said.

Boasting a strong, diverse customer network, Timberwood has operations across three sites in Victoria and the ACT, customers across all Australian states and territories as well as locally based overseas suppliers.

With the acquisition of Timberwood, Big River Group now owns and manages 21 sales and distribution outlets around Australia and New Zealand, as well as manufacturing and fabrication facilities at Grafton and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide Perth and Auckland New Zealand.

Big River Group has been operating for over 110 years, manufacturing and distributing timber and steel formwork products, timber flooring, building products, structural plywood and related timber products. It also distributes a broad range of other building products, including MaxiWall and MaxiFloor, primarily to the commercial, residential and infrastructure construction market segments.

For more information visit www.bigrivergroup.com.au

NZ Com Com investigates timber supply shortage

The New Zealand Commerce Commission is set to investigate Carter Holt Harvey’s decision to halt timber supply to select retailers, while choosing to supply large customers, according to a recent stuff.co.nz report

The competition watchdog said it wants to resolve why the timber company, partly owned by New Zealand’s richest person Graeme Hart, has ceased supply to Mitre 10, Bunnings and ITM, while choosing to supply its larger customers including Fletcher Building-owned PlaceMakers and its own subsidiary, Carters.

The Commerce Commission also reported that it is aware Carter Holt had not specifically advised it of intentions to cease supply to the relevant parties, despite the increasing issue involving building supplies currently.

Carter Holt Harvey’s decision has not only led to stockpiling of timber, but also created additional pressure to building supplies, according to the stuff.co.nz report, with retailers forced to seek new suppliers due to the fear and uncertainty within the current market.

“So far we have only been mildly affected for certain products but it is the longer lead times that are concerning, more than not getting it at all. Up to three weeks in some cases which is outrageous,” Auckland builder Blake Cooper said in the report.

Master Builders Association Chief Executive, David Kelly, said small building businesses would be hit the hardest.

“The larger builders typically have arrangements in place and supply agreements are less likely to be impacted than the standalone builder. Merchants will be searching around for materials and it is likely there will be delays in supply which will have a flow-on effect,” he said.

“We have already got issues with price escalations in the construction industry, and I hope the merchants behave responsibly and do not take advantage of this to start pushing up prices. It is critical to the industry that we communicate so builders know how to plan,” Mr Kelly said in the report.

New Zealand Institute of Forestry President James Treadwell also said in the report that while local demand was increasing for timber, it was not enough to impact supply. The issue was more a “power move” to fight low prices dictated by Bunnings, Mitre 10 and ITM.

A number of 10-year contracts with suppliers had also come to an end and Carter Holt Harvey had decided not to renew them, Mr Treadwell said in the report.

The four causes of timber shortage in NZ and how it may be resolved

Red Stag Timber Group Chief Executive Officer, Marty Verry recently released an opinion piece that not only investigates the four causes of timber shortage in New Zealand, but also what can be done about the current crisis. The following is an excerpt from his piece.

New Zealand’s current shortage of framing timber is a result of a global phenomenon compounded by unfortunate timing missteps by New Zealand’s largest supplier Carter Holt Harvey (CHH).

Just one year ago, the construction industry was at the top of the cycle, with saw millers, like any manufacturers, investing in capacity based on forecast demand.

Then COVID arrived, interest rates were slashed, borders were closed, and people around the world decided that was a great time to build, extend the house, or catch up on the global housing shortage. A further building boom ensued, pushing demand beyond what was already the top of the natural market cycle.

There are now similar shortages in Australia, the UK, Europe and the USA. This also explains why New Zealand cannot readily turn to imported framing timber to solve this short-term problem.

The global shortage might not have affected New Zealand had it not been for two events at CHH in the last 18 months. To put this in context one needs to understand the structure and trends in the framing supply market in New Zealand.

There is a long term global trend toward very large scale sawmilling operations, and consolidation of the sector as a result. Red Stag has led this with the construction of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sawmill in Rotorua. It produces over 600,000 cubic meters of timber annually and supplies 25 percent of the New Zealand framing market.

CHH owned the second, third and fourth largest sawmills based in Kawarau, Whangarei and Nelson respectively, with a market share of around 45 per cent.

In response to a shortage of high density ‘structural’ sawlogs in Northland – created due to the overcutting on young forests for export a decade ago – CHH elected to close the Whangarei mill and scale up the Kawarau mill.

That was an entirely rational thing to do and something the industry expected would happen for many years. It would have been fine had the Kawarau upgrade worked as planned. Unfortunately, the upgrade required an extra-long Christmas shut this year and the site has struggled to produce the capacity expected since then. With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to await the successful Kawarau upgrade before closing the Whangarei mill this time last year.

All of this has now created a shortage of timber over the traditionally busy summer and autumn period. CHH was struggling to supply its sister company Carters and its supply contract to PlaceMakers, whilst also supporting customers from other merchant chains, some of which the mills had supplied for decades.

The surprising move came on recently when ITM, Mitre 10 and other independents were informed that their supply would be stopped forthwith. It is important to note that not all stores in these chains are affected.

Red Stag supplies many of the larger stores in these chains as well as PlaceMakers so its customers will be largely unaffected. Others have good relationships with other sawmills, of which there are around two dozen.

What tends to happen in these circumstances is suppliers look after their most loyal historic customers. Merchants will do the same. Those that miss out are likely to be the customers that have shopped around too much, haggled too hard on price, paid late, or been difficult to deal with. The point is, it will be business as usual for much of the industry.

My estimate is that there is a current shortage in New Zealand of between five and 10 per cent. Others may say more, but what typically happens is the short-supplied stores or customers search around the market for supply giving the impression that there is more shortage than there really is.

However, even at five to 10 per cent, this is a problem at a time when the government is trying to scale up construction. Red Stag and the other sawmills will flex to try to supply more in the short term, but capacity is already stretched. It takes several years of planning, plant manufacture, ordering and installation to bring on meaningful capacity in sawmilling.

In Red Stag’s case, it has increased capacity from 200,000 to over 600,000 cubic meters in the last 15 years, and will likely push on to one million capacity in the coming decade.

One of the issues in the short term is that customers are committed to three months in advance, meaning it is hard to divert volume from export customers already committed to.  Once CHH gets comfortable with its Kawarau output and stocking levels I expect it will make volume available again to spurned customers.

That might take until June, when things start to slow down a bit in the market anyway due to winter. The proviso here is whether this is a market share play by CHH’s owners Rank Group to sell its sawmills – something it has been trying to do for over a decade.

The main volume of new material coming into the New Zealand market will be from [Red Stag’s] new Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) factory in Rotorua, to open in May.

The Red Stag factory has the capacity to supply 2,000 apartment units annually, so around five per cent of New Zealand’s housing needs, and much of the current timber shortage if the market adjusts to use that product. CLT is ideal for mid-floors of terraced houses, so will also help alleviate the market shortage of ‘wide’ boards.

Kaianga Ora is the most experienced user of CLT in its apartment blocks of three storeys and above. It forecasts building hundreds of dwelling units annually with the product, yet it makes up only a portion of its build program.

If the government wanted to act strategically to alleviate the timber shortage, it would focus Kaianga Ora on using a lot more CLT, and in doing so free up framing timber for the general market to use. Across the foregoing factors, I expect the timber supply could be back in balance in six months.

Bosch PT wins ‘Best Brands Award’ after record sales

Bosch Power Tools recently won the prestigious German based ‘Best Brands Award’ in the higher-level category ‘Best Brand Overall’ for 2021, prevailing against other well-known global brands from various industries, according to a recent AftermarketNews.com report.

Upon receiving the award, Chairman of the Management Board of Robert Bosch Power Tools GmbH, Henk Becker expressed his sincere thanks – especially to all consumers who had placed their trust in the brand.

“We see the award as an incentive to continue on our path of consistent alignment with the needs of users and thus continue to offer them tangible added value in the future,” he said.

The Best Brands Awards has been presented annually since 2004, based on a collaboration between GfK, Seven.One Entertainment Group, Markenverband, WirtschaftsWoche, ZEIT Verlagsgruppe, RMS Radio Marketing Service, Media Impact and the Serviceplan Group.

The awards were initiated to honour successful brand leadership and provide a forum for trendsetting communication solutions, according to the AftermarketNews.com report.

The awards are particularly prestigious because they are based on a representative consumer survey conducted by GfK, decided by two criteria, including the economic success of a brand as well as the attractiveness of the brand, as perceived by consumers.

The announcement comes off the back of substantial sales growth by Bosch Power Tools, in the 2020 financial year, after achieving sales of 5.1 billion Euros in more than 190 countries. Adjusted for exchange rate effects, this corresponds to an increase of nine percent compared with the previous year, according to the report.

“In 2020, we achieved a sales record in a very dynamic environment due to a pandemic environment. We owe this primarily to the trust of our users and customers and the commitment of our employees. The business performed much better than initially expected. After the sharp drop in sales in the spring, the industry experienced a significant increase in demand in the second half of the year due to a change in purchasing behaviour in the wake of the Corona pandemic,” Mr Becker said.

The Bosch Power Tools division also recorded a sales increase of 13 per cent for Europe after adjusting for exchange rate effects, while growth within Germany was at 23 per cent.

Bosch Power Tools achieved a 10 percent increase in sales in North America and 31 percent in Latin America, according to the report with the only declining region being the Asia-Pacific which was eight per cent below the previous year’s level. The decline was attributed to limitations of the much longer lockdowns in within India and the ASEAN region.

Government to unlock carbon storage potential

The Federal Government will ramp up efforts to unlock the carbon storing potential of Australia’s forest industries, drive growth in the plantation estate and boost future timber supply, Federal Assistant Minister for Forestry Jonathon Duniam recently announced.

Speaking at the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Members’ Forum in Canberra yesterday, Assistant Minister Duniam said the forest industry’s significant contribution to climate change mitigation is not well recognised, and he will work with the Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor to unlock forestry’s potential.

Assistant Minister Duniam said he is focusing on carbon abatement and the role forestry has to play in this.

“The story around carbon abatement is critical to redefining what we as an industry do…we are actually part of the answer to the carbon problem that our country faces,” he said.

Assistant Minister Duniam also told the forum that the Federal Government is prioritising the urgent need to grow the plantation estate.

“The main aim for us is to grow the resource to make sure we have an expanded plantation estate so that we can start finding a pathway to meet the demand…so any policy setting that we can come up with to support industry to reach that goal is something that we are going to put all of our efforts into,” he said.

AFPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton welcomed Assistant Minister Duniam’s commitment to put forestry at the centre of Australia’s climate change strategy and to put policies in place to grow the plantation estate.

“The biggest challenge facing our industry is ensuring that Australia has the plantation resource we need to meet our future timber needs. The timber shortages we are seeing right now reflect the failure of decision makers 30-odd years ago to plan for our country’s future timber needs,” he said.

“We urgently need governments to work with industry to make this a national priority. Growing the plantation estate will have the added benefit of significantly boosting carbon storage in our forests and contributing to Australia’s emissions reduction goals.”

“Key to achieving this will be fast-tracking the removal of existing barriers to plantations participating in the Emissions Reduction Fund, and developing a carbon accounting method to incentivise timber construction, as recommended by the Federal Parliament’s Standing

Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources in its report published this week, ‘Aussie logs for Aussie jobs’,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Accent Group’s new workwear brand

pic: insideretail.com.au

Footwear and fashion retailer, the Accent Group, will soon launch a new retail brand aimed at work gear.

 The new ‘4 Workers’ brand is specifically designed to focus on several areas including healthcare, hospitality, construction and corporate gear, according to a recent Inside Retail report, with the store design set to appeal towards female shoppers

Announcing the brand during a recent presentation to investors and analysist on March 25, the Accent Group said the brand will be a “shopping centre based business” and is a significant opportunity to capture share in a fast growing market, with the first store set to open in May, according to the report.

The launch of the new brand is the latest in Accent’s growing portfolio, including purchasing and expanding Stylerunner last year, as well as the launch of The Trybe, Pivot and online marketplace, Crèmm.

The group reported strong half year results last month, with a net profit after tax growing 57.3 per cent to $52.8 million off the back of digital sales doubling, according to the report.

Accent Group Chief Executive, Daniel Agostinelli said the group is on track to launch 90 stores this financial year.

Nathan Bush, founder of the Brisbane-based retail consultancy 12High, told Inside Retail said that the Accent Group was perfectly placed to take advantage of the gold rush because they were all in before it hit.

pic: insideretail.com.au

“It is well known that Accent Group have heavily invested in team capabilities, technology, inventory visibility and fulfilment options for many years. COVID was where they cashed in and accelerated,” Mr Bush said in the report.