Category Archives: Uncategorized

‘Tradie’ brand proves to be more than just undies

‘Tradie’ brand proves to be more than just undies

There is no doubt the well renowned ‘Tradie’ brand continues to grow as it expands its offer throughout the underwear, workwear and work boots segments, particularly within the independent hardware market. 

Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins has worked with the ‘Tradie’ brand for over eight years.
Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins has worked with the ‘Tradie’ brand for over eight years.

Makers of the iconic ‘Tradie’ brand, SOJO is a family business that has steadily progressed for around 20 years now in the outer-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Ironically, founder Ben Goodfellow made his mark in the business when he was just 26 years old, when he came up with the well-known ‘Tradie’ brand name. 

Today, Ben says it is exciting to be working within the workwear/outerwear space, particularly as it gains momentum amongst both male and female Aussie tradies. Ben believes it only makes sense to expand the brand into this space as tradies continue to opt for fashionable work gear under a much-loved Aussie brand.

“The idea around this brand has always been to just have fun. We understand that Australians are very proud of our tradies who are also known to be quite humorous and love the outdoors, so it seemed like an obvious brand name to build.”

“I started the ‘Tradie’ brand name in underwear, which then quickly moved into socks, workwear and work boots. More recently we have moved into the beauty category and launched body sprays and body wash. Ideally, we have achieved a nice balance with the brand now well known in multiple categories,” he said.

When looking at future opportunities for workwear brands such as ‘Tradie’, Ben said it is so good to see so many up-and-coming brands, considering just 10 years ago only a couple of brands dominated this area. In the past, a lot of the brands tradesmen famously wore have now become outdated and daggy, but more recently Ben is seeing more youthful brands come through and “would like to think we are one of them”.

“Companies are doing some fantastic stuff in workwear and the new designs are really blurring the lines between streetwear and workwear. That is what is so exciting about this space at the moment. The local hardware store can now sell some really on-trend workwear as opposed to the brands a 50- or 60-year-old tradesman wants to wear.” 

“The younger tradies seem to be the ones that are really driving this space now because they come into your home, or they work on big corporate sites and they know they need to present well, look trendy as well as professional. There really is no reason why they can only wear stylish clothes on the weekend and then during work time they have to wear things that are not well fitted. They should dress on trend every day of the week,” he said.

Although ‘Tradie’ predominantly stocks workwear and boots within the hardware independent space, the brand does have some underwear in hardware stores during gifting times, such as Father’s Day. Ben said hardware stores act as a bit of a general store in the smaller communities and range a lot of underwear as well, but the core products in this space is workwear.

“In saying this we are certainly most famous for our undies at this stage because we have had so fun advertising with Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins. Nick has worked with the ‘Tradie’ brand for eight years now so we have been on this journey together and will keep doing things with him across workwear, underwear etc.”

“Thirteen-to-eighteen-year-olds really relate to him, and he is an incredible guy – one of eight kids, always helping out his family. When we filmed our baby ad a few years ago you have never seen someone so good with babies because he helped out so much with his younger siblings,” Ben said.

Despite the big push in ‘Tradie’ underwear, Ben said there is still a lot to be achieved within both of the prominent workwear and work boots space, with work boots growing extremely well at the moment.

“The footwear space is interesting in that we are launching some light weight boots. Although they have been around for some time, we are just trying to put our spin on it for both men and women. We are also developing some new footwear for women. We know that women in trades is just exploding at the moment so we are certainly developing some new styles for them,” he said.

Female tradies

It seems that female tradies are becoming more prominent  nationally, which is also great for the ‘Tradie’ brand. Ben says this is particularly evident when women’s underwear outsells men’s underwear in retail outlets.

“This is an indication that there are more females coming through trades. It is so great that people connect with a trades related brand. Ten years ago, I think women may have felt uncomfortable going to trade school or taking on an apprenticeship, but now there absolutely is a pathway and for brands like us that are selling a lot of women’s stuff, this will see our products in a really good place in the next few years,” Ben said.

The success of the ‘Tradie” brand amongst female customers is also boosted with several successful marketing campaigns via some great female ambassadors who are dual Olympians and incredible role models, according to Ben, including world number two freestyle skier, Danielle Scott, and Charlotte Caslick, widely regarded as the best female Rugby Sevens player globally.

“Charlotte is so well loved because she has got such an amazing attitude, she is an incredible athlete and encourages such a positive body image to younger girls. She is super athletic and I think people can really relate to her, particularly our customers in the northern states. Given it is an Olympic year, she has just been to Tokyo so the campaigns with her work incredibly well with our target market,” he said.

“Danielle is also heading off to the Olympics in six months because the winter Olympics is close to the summer Olympics this year. We are so lucky that our two female ambassadors are going to be on screens all over Australia in pretty much the same time frame.”

For now, Ben says the ‘Tradie’ brand will continue to create workwear that is really dedicated to the independent space. 

“We love our independent retailers and all of the mum and dad stores out there. While we have done a lot of advertising around our body spray and body wash recently to become well known in the beauty category, we have also created some great ads for our workwear with the ‘Honey Badger’ so I think there is a bit of a great a mix and people know that ‘Tradie’ plays in a lot of different spaces,” he said.

Looking into the new year there is plenty to look out for from the ‘Tradie’ brand with a new Black Label collection to be launched early next year, set to draw a lot of interest from those customers looking for quality workwear that is on-trend. 

“The Black Label range is more streetwear influenced and premium than what we currently offer and this will be exclusive through the independent space. This will be out in time for the back to work period in late January,” Ben said.

Garden sector invigorated by new green thumbs

Garden sector invigorated by new green thumbs

New and experienced gardeners of all ages are expected to continually upgrade gardens that were revamped during last year’s lockdowns, while a strong trend towards indoor plants is also expected to continue throughout this year’s garden season.

Mt Alexander H Hardware has created an inviting green-life space that its customers continually re-visit.

Although the indoor plant space has steadily grown for the last five years now, COVID has again accelerated this segment as consumers continue to create inviting, green spaces within their homes as they wait out the pandemic, HBT Business Manager, Marcella Indries said recently.

“Just some of the trending plants in this space currently include Spotted Begonia, Zanzibar Gem, Monstera, Philodendron’s and Fiddle Leaf Figs which are all proving to be very popular at the moment. Bolt on accessories are also complementing this space. I believe stores can do so well in this area by adding in decorative pots, as well as products such as the Coco Fibre Sticks that are also on trend. The Coco Fibre Sticks are not only pretty to look at but they create a very Chique and stylish space with any vine indoor plant,” she said.

“Australian plants are becoming on-trend this year and I have already jumped on this trend myself, trying my hand at growing lemon myrtle and finger limes. In saying this, there is no doubt that spring is the perfect season for growing veggies. The tomato season is approaching so there is plenty of opportunity to try out new heirloom varieties.”

“Companion planting is also an amazing way to keep veggies safe especially against garden pests. Basil and marigolds planted next to tomatoes not only make delicious food but are wonderful to look at. The humble radish is also now making a comeback and there are many varieties that can be planted,” Ms Indries said.

One trend that is also making a comeback this season is compost and worm farms, which are an excellent way of creating healthy composts for the home garden. 

“Incredibly, compost bins are not an eyesore anymore. The increasing trend of composting is helping consumers convert their waste and save dollars. Tumbleweed is one particular brand that has introduced a great range recently,” she said. 

Products expected to be particularly popular this season include those that are targeted specifically towards the indoor plant category, including potting mixes and fertilisers, according to Ms Indries.

“Yates has a range that has made it super easy for gardeners to care for their indoor plants. Another supplier to watch in this space is WOLF-Garten Australia which not only has an amazing tool kit range, but users can also change out all of the heads on the tools – so they can have one handle and multiple tools. It is a good quality, versatile system which is set to do well in Australia, because it is such a quality, multi-change system.”

“I have also been finding great success personally with the GROlife range of products as well as the Charlie Carp products. Consistent watering will be a theme for my garden this year so having a go at setting up an irrigation system will no doubt be a lot of fun,” she said.

New gardeners are expected to continually to explore the category, particularly after re-discovering their outdoor space during lockdowns. After 18 months of living with the pandemic, Ms Indries believes new gardeners also now want to upgrade their tools after coming in from an entry level, and will no doubt add more to their backyard range this year.

“All signs from suppliers are that things are tracking very well for the upcoming season, which is great considering there has not been a decrease in the pace of sales in the garden category. The garden category is unique in the sense that once you have invested in it as a consumer, you need to keep going with it to prevent shabby spaces in your garden. What I have found is once you are in it you keep going back for more,” she said.

“As lockdowns continue consumers are reorganising their spaces, including the repotting of indoor plants that may have outgrown their current pots or purchasing more indoor plants. Gardens and backyards are now retreat areas and we want them to look warm and inviting.”

“I do not think avid gardeners ever really stop purchasing products because each season brings a new activity. As consumers become more confident in this hobby they will start tackling more advanced gardening activities. I would expect many consumers will continue to have a go at growing veggies this season or looking to replace winter flowers with a new spring potted colour. They might even wish to establish herb gardens or have a go at a composting system, advancing their skills and tackling advanced projects,” Ms Indries said.

Pre-COVID the garden category was already proving to display good growth, but it seems new consumers are gardening for a variety of reasons, including creating spaces that assist with home schooling, she said.

“Parents and grandparents are learning to create an educational space for children by growing food and flowers and passing skill sets down through the generations. This is why there is a big trend towards creating veggie gardens, because it teaches children about nature, how veggies are grown and how garden systems work. This trend is not just coming from small children either with suppliers telling me they receive calls from teens who are also trouble shooting gardening issues.”

“Australians are also growing their own food to ensure food security- due to panic buying – and also because they want to take control of what they eat by cooking with organics or natural based products. This is a category that is expected to continually grow,” she said.

There is also a lot of evidence showing how beneficial gardening is for mental health with the connection to nature proving to be very powerful. Research shows that Australians place importance on connecting with nature more now than they did pre-COVID, according to Ms Indries, who said getting back to nature has been so important for people during this time.

When preparing for the upcoming season, Ms Indries believes a warm and particularly wet spring is forecast, which will no doubt bring an abundance of snails, as well as other pests and diseases.

“Proper garden preparation will be the key to crop success this season and this all starts with good quality soil environment and consistent watering. This is followed by a range of other plant protection methods depending on what you are growing. There will be plenty of consumers navigating this space. A good range of plant protection is a must,” she said.

Retailers also need to maintain staff knowledge by continually updating them on what they expect to be popular this coming season. Ms Indries said HBT plans to assist members by sourcing as much educational material from suppliers as possible to share with its membership. 

“It is important to talk with suppliers on what is new and upcoming, what are they seeing for the season, how we can prepare properly for the season as well. It is also important for us to engage with our members on what they want to know more about in this space and how HBT can help facilitate this as well,” she said.

Retailer education could also be based around industry issues including the change in bird netting laws for Victorians this September.

“Bird netting laws will be changing in terms of the width of the diamond and the way the net is constructed, which will see consumers replace netting systems they might have for their veggie gardens or fruit trees. This will also prevent possums and birds from getting caught up in nets, to be implemented within Victoria initially and then other states will follow,” she said.

HBT already boasts several outstanding green life stores, including Mt Alexander H Hardware in Victoria, which has continued to work hard to create a garden space its customers will continually wish to go back to. 

Mt Alexander H Hardware has so many outstanding, unique features including its decorative pot selection, which is out of this world. It is more of a regional store but really stands out as featuring one of HBT’s best garden centres. Garden Grove in South Australia is another outstanding centre within the group,” Ms Indries said.

“It is stores like these that continue to inspire me and like most of our garden customers, I am very keen to get back into the garden after winter. While I have had a lot of veggies ticking away during winter, spring is a very popular season because there are so many fun products available to grow during this time.”

“I have been encouraging our members to look at heirloom tomatoes from seed, different varieties of radishes, heirloom carrots and I would really like to have another go at growing pumpkins, as well,” she said.

HBT’s preferred supplier – Greenworks – delivers stand out range

HBT’s National Category Manager, Kevin Marshall says Greenworks has grown substantially within the HBT group over the last season.

As HBT’s preferred garden supplier, Greenworks has grown substantially within the group over the last season, particularly as it continues to provide superior, innovative and sustainable battery-powered solutions that exceed user’s expectations. Incredibly Greenworks has now become the only four level voltage platform in the world, according to HBT’s National Category Manager, Kevin Marshall.

The Greenworks range now offers 24-volt outdoor power garden equipment, power tools and vacuums, 40-volt outdoor power garden equipment, 60-volt pro-outdoor power garden equipment – launched this year – and 80-volt commercial outdoor power garden equipment to be launched next season, according to Mr Marshall. 

The garden supplier also now offers Zero turn mowers, Utility Task Vehicle’s (UTV’s), while developing many new innovative battery products that will be released into the Australian market every three to six months. This is particularly achievable because Greenworks now has over 300 research and development engineers working on developing new Lithium battery products every year, Mr Marshall said.

“This is why Greenworks is a market leading outdoor power equipment battery brand in the USA, because it is such high quality and so well-priced. When you put all of these factors together it really gives HBT members a very compelling offer,” Mr Marshall said.

Just some of the products that remain on trend at the moment include Greenwork’s 24-volt range, with the garden supplier planning to bring a new option within this space soon.

“Having the ability to couple 24-volt power tools with the 24-volt garden tools gives the Greenworks range a unique position over most battery garden tools brands,” Mr Marshall said.

“When looking at some of Greenworks’ latest product advancements, the new 40-volt self-propelled dump cart is expected to be an exciting new product to be launched this year. The product targets anyone needing to move items such as building materials, garden clippings/waste, tools, farming and garden supplies, stock feed etc. Holding up to 100 kilograms the handle also inclines up to 16.7 degrees completely tilting up so users can empty with ease.”

Greenworks has also added two new mowers to its 60-volt Generation II Pro-range including the 46-centimetre push, mulch or catch with side discharge mower and a 46-centimetre self-propelled mulch or catch with side discharge, both featuring a heavy-duty steel chassis.

Additionally, a new 46-centimetre hedge trimmer has also been introduced, now available in a kit form including battery and charger within each box. Greenworks also has six new multi-tool options including edger, head trimmer, pole saw, cultivator, blower and extension pole.

A huge range of first-class point-of-sale material is now available for the 60-volt Generation II range, including three new display stands with TVs. 

“In another exciting development, Greenworks has re-priced its 24-volt range to be more price competitive over the next six months,” Mr Marshall said.

Looking to the upcoming season, Greenworks has some very compelling pre-season deals planned and will combine this with a strong point-of-sale program that is expected to again attract consumers to products in-store.

“All of the indicators show that this season is set for bumper sales so pre-season deals are important to get the early adopters in and when the rush begins, our stores will now easily service those customers as well,” Mr Marshall said.

‘The Landscape Association’ navigates uncertain times

One association that has had plenty to deal with over the last 18 months is The Landscape Association, particularly as landscapers navigate new rules around where they can work during lockdowns.

The Landscape Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Julie Krieger said most landscapers are still able to work, unless they live in the current areas of concern in New South Wales.

The Landscape Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Julie Krieger said the Association remains focused on making sure members are aware of what they can and cannot do during these difficult times.

“In this case, only those who work on unoccupied construction sites and are vaccinated can go out to work. Unfortunately, in Western and South Western Sydney where the bulk of those LGAs are located, this is the beating heart of trade in New South Wales. There are also massive distribution centres and warehouse facilities throughout this region that supply the rest of the country.”

“While the lockdowns are affecting the industry, outside of this people are still able to operate and we are working hard with government to try and safely open up more and more. We have already had a few wins, working alongside Master Builders and the Housing Industry Association, as well as Master Plumbers and various people from government agencies,” Ms Krieger said.

Dealing with the ongoing issues that lockdowns bring is also why The Landscape Association continues to sit in a working group with the Federal Government, alongside industry bodies, and maintaining a voice for the residential construction.

“Currently we are raising issues around landscapers working on large acreage properties. Despite the wide space they are working in, they remain restricted because the rules have not yet been broken down into minute detail. It is frustrating for members,” Ms Krieger said.

“For the most part if you have maintenance crews mowing lawns and trimming hedges, they are in the garden and they do not need to see clients and invoicing is done online. It is a very low risk area. But the decision makers have to be mindful of how they are viewed by the decisions they make – by the rest of society. For now, we are just so grateful we have a voice in the working group and we can take those issues forward and get some responses,” she said.

After dealing with a massive boom in landscaping throughout 2020, Ms Krieger said landscapers had trouble keeping up with demand initially, but now they are just trying to keep up with demand while also working around lockdowns.

“When it all blew up last year, there was a huge sense of panic because members were very concerned about what would happen to their businesses. They then quickly realised that everyone wanted to get their garden done because they were stuck at home.”

Photo credit:  Impressions Landscape – Design

“The industry went ballistic from about mid-year and most of our members are still frantic. While demand has gone through the roof, the ready workforce has not changed. In fact, with the lock-downs, fielding full teams is more challenging than ever. But landscaping is a very entrepreneurial sector and landscaping business owners are creative by nature – they are adapting. Though it is challenging, they are grabbing this opportunity with both hands,’ Ms Krieger said.

While timber shortages continue to present challenges for landscape gardeners and builders alike, supply constraints in metal is also seeing the price of steel works now sky rocket by up to 40 per cent in the last six months, according to Ms Krieger.

“The supply challenges are obviously coming from shortages overseas and extended delivery time frames. What this now means for consumers is that landscapers are having to change the way they set up their contracts. While a fixed price contract used to be quite common, landscapers now have to protect themselves a bit more by introducing more of a ‘cost plus’ format for their contract. This way they charge a fixed rate for their labour, but supplies and materials are billed at cost plus a percentage,” Ms Krieger said.

“If they do not do this, in many cases they lose their profit, and at worst they lose a substantial amount on jobs. The more experienced landscapers have very quickly adapted to this and are now mentoring younger companies, but they also said it is a harder sell to clients when a firm quote cannot be provided.”

“The alternative though is that the landscape company wears any increase in material costs between quoting and execution and this can erode any profit they may have made, or worse, make operation unviable. The Landscape Association has also recently run a series of ‘Pricing for Profit’ webinars, by a professional estimator, with a big focus on how landscapers can safe-guard themselves because it is such a big issue at the moment,” she said.

After a massive boom in landscaping in 2020, The Landscape Association says landscapers are now struggling to keep up with demand during lockdowns. Photo credit: Impressions Landscape – Design.

When looking to unique trends driving the landscape gardening sector currently it seems that garden features created from formed concrete are becoming prevalent throughout the industry. 

“Instead of concrete being a base for a pathway or practical application we are now seeing specialist concreters forming be-spoke benches or stair arrangements that may double as seats or kitchen benches. While this is very specialised work, the companies that are doing this are going really well,” Ms Krieger said.

The integration of indoor and outdoor spaces continues to be a focus for consumers, which is why landscapers expect to see the vast majority of projects to focus on outdoor liveability, with outdoor kitchens, eating and lounging spaces connected to both the home and the soft landscape elements.

“Outdoor pots are still huge in this sector, while green-walls also remain very popular and are wonderful for people who live in smaller spaces such as apartments,’ she said.

Irrigation also remains a hot topic within this space, stemming from severe water restrictions implemented just before the pandemic hit in March last year.

“Severe water restrictions were enforced throughout Sydney early last year, because dams were down to 35 per cent. It was also around this time that ‘Smart’ watering systems became common place which is why most of our members now also plan irrigation systems when they install gardens,” Ms Krieger said.

“‘Smart’ refers to systems that have moisture sensing capabilities, so they turn on when plants need water, where watering systems sense the moisture in the ground and turn on when the plant needs water rather than arbitrary timers. These can now be controlled via a mobile phone too.”

“When it comes to garden maintenance, automation is also taking off including the increasing popularity of products like the Husqvarna auto mower, particularly popular in smaller gardens. This not only means no more Sunday morning mowing, but their process actively encourages thicker and healthier lawn growth. These kinds of products are certainly gaining in recognition and popularity,” she said.

For now, The Landscape Association remains totally focused on the COVID restrictions and communicating with members and making sure members are aware of what they can and cannot do during these difficult times.

“At TLA we are 100 per cent focused on supporting our members through the COVID restrictions, interpreting the rules, communicating, supporting and advocating for them to the state governments. Given the situation in Sydney at least, I cannot see our focus being able to shift significantly for the coming months.”

Ms Krieger concluded: “For now, we will continue to enjoy the on-going demand within this space, as consumers continually push to create spaces where they can relax and feel revived, while enjoying their outdoor spaces with their family.”

Lockdown gardeners re-emerge in 2021

Greenlife Industry Australia’s (GIA) Chief Executive Officer, Peter Vaughan has witnessed many changes throughout the garden industry over the past six years, but none as prevalent as the increasing number of new gardeners that have emerged from COVID lockdowns. Australians need to be out, nurturing their gardens is now stronger than ever.

It is for this reason that part of Mr Vaughan’s focus has remained firmly on assisting in-experienced and emerging gardeners coming into the market, particularly with the launch of GIA’s ‘Plant Pals’ program designed specifically to provide new ‘green thumbs’ with all the gardening basics, including how to choose the right plant for their garden.

“As the peak industry body or the national body representing production and retail nurseries across the country, GIA has a role in the promotion and driving demand for greenlife and nursery stock. This includes having oversight of Horticulture Innovation Australia’s ‘Plant Life Balance’ program, which is very much a social media approach to marketing, however it also provides inspiration and ideas on greenlife and how to use it around the house,” Mr Vaughan said.

Greenlife Industry Australia’s (GIA) Chief Executive Officer, Peter Vaughan said for now it is vital that GIA continually highlights the importance of the industry to the Australian economy.

“The most important thing to new gardeners is that their plants do not die. If they die, they blame themselves, not the plants. So, we are telling them not to lose faith, offering tips while also advising them to go back to their garden centre where the experts are willing to help them manage their plants,” he said.

While future campaigns will see GIA continually encourage new gardeners to seek support from their local garden centre, campaigns will also focus on younger generations to become more involved in gardening as well.

Mr Vaughan said recent greenlife ‘Consumer Usage and Attitude Research’, commissioned by Hort Innovation and conducted by The Navigators identified specific consumer segments including enthusiasts, garden proud, early bloomers, small space, curators, dabblers, plant curious and leaf loathers.

“Garden proud gardeners only make up 17 per cent of the market but they spend around 33 per cent into the greenlife sector. Younger men or early bloomers sit at around eight per cent of the market so they are an ideal consumer to target directly,” he said.

While the pandemic has certainly boosted sales within the garden space, even amongst early bloomers, there are some challenges that come with this including the supply of nursery stock for those states in lockdown. 

“While there will be stock on hand the challenge is to access stock as current lockdowns are only allowing tradespeople on-site. The garden centres are now having challenges where they have to ‘Click & Collect’ everything across New South Wales and Victoria. We have encouraged this given how sporadic lockdowns are and retailers need to be prepared for this,” Mr Vaughan said.

While the ability to trade remains a concern in locked down states, GIA has also made representation to the government around the nursery industry being an ‘essential industry’, particularly when it comes to fruit, nut and vegetable production.

“It is vital that we stay operating and deliver the planting stock, while also maintaining the health and well-being benefits of greenlife to the consumer,” he said.

Other on-going challenges are based around water scarcity and security, with dams in Sydney sitting at around 30 per cent just before the pandemic hit.

“Incredibly, Sydney’s dams are now around 98 per cent so this situation does change quickly. What we do, however, is make representation throughout various associations, and the water authorities in particular, when the dams are full. We ask authorities that when water restrictions do kick back in, that they not go too hard on garden watering restrictions given the importance of ensuring the greenspace stays alive.”

“By the same token we also ask that gardeners remain very efficient in their water use with the implementation of drip irrigation and watering at the right time of day. We understand that there has to be a trade off with less restrictions and water usability,” Mr Vaughan said.

As an industry representative body, GIA’s major role currently revolves around the four key areas of advocacy, promotion, sustainability and career promotion.

For now it is vital that GIA continually highlights the importance of the industry to the Australian economy, according to Mr Vaughan, particularly considering it has a nursery gate value of $2.6 billion and provides the starter plants for production, ornamental and environmental horticulture across the country. For too long it had been considered a ‘cottage industry’, he said.

“This is simply not the case. We have a levy that is collected on pot sales that goes into research and development, as well as marketing activities. The ‘industry good’ levy is collected so we can look at advancements and plan for the demand and supply sides of production.”

“Another key area we work on is plant biosecurity and protecting against plant pests. Since COVID we are also now seeing consumers relate better to the importance of disease control in plants. At least now they can draw a parallel of the need to control, mitigate and manage the impacts of plant pests,” he said.

For now, with greenlife retailers well-prepared for healthy sales this spring, Mr Vaughan’s biggest takeaway is for businesses to ensure customers have a safe and easy experience when visiting nurseries and stores.

Outdoor spaces evolve during lockdowns

Award winning Melbourne-based landscape designer, Paal Grant, has built his successful design and construction business from the ground up for over 20 years. In today’s market, Paal is not only well known for his landscape design projects, but also his creation of custom designed outdoor furniture often incorporating art, sculpture and furnishings into each project. 

Melbourne-based landscape designer, Paal Grant, believes consumers will continually invest heavily in their back yards particularly as lockdowns continue.

While Paal’s distinctive style has seen his business grow well over the years, he does note several changes that have taken place within the industry of late, including an increasing demand for swimming pools, with installers now the busiest they have ever been.

“I’m seeing a resurgence in clients seeking swimming pools and plunge swimming pools to upgrade their own backyards” he said.

Paal believes the demand is stemming primarily from COVID lockdowns. As consumers save money on travel, they instead turn to upgrading their backyards in look and usability. 

“Most importantly, we are seeing people invest in their homes to provide a sanctuary for their families during these extended lockdowns and seeing the value in this for their relationships and mental health,” he said.

Fire pits and conversation areas are continuing in popularity but Paal says interestingly these areas are no longer necessarily linked to the house as they have been in the past.

“When the outdoor room became a huge phenomenon, the outdoor space was connected to the house but I feel this is changing. The conversation pit areas are more of a separate zone created at the back of the property and are now more of a destination that you go to,” Paal said.

Current plant demands are driven by the industry and wholesalers who tend to stick with the popular varieties, but also plants that are hardy and easy to maintain for the home garden, Paal said. 

“What is changing a little bit, and this depends on the area too, but with larger scale properties and rural properties in particular – is the use of more tough perennials. I think this movement has been influenced from landscape designers in Europe. Tough perennials will grow really quickly and give lots of colours. If you cut them back, they will come up again and you get an instant garden. In the designer’s world this movement is gaining traction, alongside the use of natives, which is also proving to be quite strong,” he said.

When looking at plants not in-trend – Paal said he has noticed an abundance of yuccas pulled out of gardens lately, whereas 20 years ago these were all the rage.

“You basically see them going to the tip now in trailer loads. They have become huge trees and I have many clients needing to remove them” he said.

While Paal said his work has remained steady over the years, landscapers are definitely a lot busier this season. However, many consumers are finding the price of garden construction to be a lot higher than their initial budget.

“Like the building industry, we are finding that the cost of supplying product and materials has become significantly higher. Some clients who have built a new home may have left between $20,000 and $50,000 for the garden. We are finding this is a great starting point, depending obviously on the size, design and materials specified in the garden. However, to create something really special, the budget would need to be increased significantly. It is the un-seen items such as excavation, drainage, tip fees and bin hire that can be quite a substantial chunk of the budget,” he said.

“Also, a lot of landscaping these days includes built elements, which can also add a considerable cost to the budget. It is no longer just about garden beds, but the hard scaping and structures as well. Then the plants come in and soften everything.”

“Another challenge with the increasingly smaller scaled gardens we are seeing now is that it is tricky to create these beautiful big deep garden beds with only little patches of lawn to work with,” Paal said.

As the trend for garden upgrades and transforming homes into sanctuaries intensifies throughout the pandemic, Paal says he looks forward to continuing to create unique and calming spaces for his customers throughout the COVID chaos.

‘Power Tools Plus’ re-builds Parkes store

‘Power Tools Plus’ re-builds Parkes store

Much has changed since the Power Tools Plus group was first established as a steel re-selling business over 30 years ago in the rural town of Forbes, New South Wales, west of Sydney. 

Power Tools Plus Forbes Parkes NSW

Business: Parkes Power Tools Plus
Owner: Graham and Dorothy Haley
Location: Parkes, NSW 
Buying Group: Australian Industrial Supplies Ltd (AIS)

In this time the business has grown substantially from its humble beginnings in 1983, to four sites throughout the region under the guidance of the Haley family. Current co-owner, Graham Haley, grew up working within the business alongside his family before acquiring the original Haley’s Steel and Hardware business from his parents in 2015.

Power Tools Plus General Manager, Carrie Olsen said although the business was initially branded as ‘Haley’s’, after an extensive series of expansions and acquisitions, the business has now grown to four sites throughout the local region under the Power Tools Plus brand, including Forbes, Parkes, Cowra and Mudgee, with the last two stores both acquired in 2010 within the AIS group.

Born and bred in Forbes, Carrie joined Power Tools Plus in 2017 as the group’s Sales and Marketing Manager and went on to become the group’s General Manager in 2020 to assist in the continual evolvement of the well-known business throughout the region.

“Our four stores in Forbes, Parkes, Cowra and Mudgee give us a broad footprint to service customers in the Central West Region of New South Wales, with all stores known for their tailored range of power tools, hand tools, industrial supplies, steel and rural supplies,” Carrie said.

Image Credit: Five Hours West.

New store build

Power Tools Plus Parkes is one particular store that has continued on the journey of growth and expansion since it was first opened in 2004, after the Forbes team identified a surging demand for industrial and engineering supplies in the neighbouring town of Parkes. 

Not only was the opening of the Parkes store the first expansion from the original store at Forbes, but it was also the inception of the Power Tools Plus brand, according to Carrie. 

Power Tools Plus is undergoing a major rebuild in the NSW town of Parkes.

Seventeen years on, the entire store is now undergoing a major rebuild on a new site, ensuring that it continually meets the needs of its loyal customers well into the future.

“For over 17 years, from 2004 to 2021, the Parkes store has operated at the same location and had a firm focus on sourcing and supplying the right mix of products to the local market. This includes key industries such as mining, manufacturing, agriculture, transport, construction and trades, along with civil engineering and associated services. Store Manager, Andrew Hair, is very passionate about customer service and retailing and continues to steer the business in the right direction,” Carrie said.

“Since the Parkes store opened in 2004, we have faced a range of challenges in the competitive environment, from changing businesses to new entrants coming into the market that are a combination of local independents and national banners. The town is certainly well serviced for industrial supplies, particularly power tools, equipment, safety and hand tools.”

“Parkes is also now identified as a centre of regional strategic importance both at a State and National Government level, and continues to attract investment from all levels of the government and private sector. Our core industries are well poised for continued growth, particularly as the rural market continues to recover from the most recent drought,” she said.

To further leverage the current industry growth, Power Tools Plus will also expand its Parkes operation to include steel for the first time.  

“Early this year we commenced construction of a new store and steel yard, which is set to open November 2021. The new site is much larger at 14,550 square metres so there is plenty of scope for future development. The new building is over 2000 square metres and includes 780 square metres of retail floorspace and 1150 square metres of steel sheds,” Carrie said.

“Our retail store will be double the footprint of our current store, allowing us to do more with the current range in each category as well as better cater to the residential DIY market in the absence of a Bunnings or major hardware chain. A large majority of our Parkes customers are currently sourcing steel from out of town, so the opportunity for growth via steel is significant.”

“Four additional jobs will be created as part of the extensive new store including a truck driver, steel supervisor and two customer service assistants. Two of these roles are already filled, both by local residents,” she said.

With a customer percentage of around 50 per cent industrial and trade, and the other 50 per cent rural, government and residential, plenty of planning has gone into the new Parkes site to ensure its diverse range of customers are fully serviced moving forward.

“The new retail section will include approximately 200 square metres of an expansive power tools display, 100 square metres of welding displays and another 100 square metres of generators and compressors which will allow our customers plenty of room to move around the store and engage with our range.”

“On walking into the store, customers will be greeted and served at PTP’s iconic ‘u’ shaped service counter positioned perfectly at the store’s centre. Throughout the store, 262 square metres of gondola shelving will assist customers in easily locating products, aided by the store’s wider aisles and category signage,” Carrie said.

Business values

The Power Tools Plus team pride themselves on knowing their products well and passing this knowledge onto their customers.

Today the store stands out from its growing line-up of competitors by focusing on four key areas of the business, with the store’s values including not only getting to know customers, but also taking an interest in their projects. When it comes to service, Carrie says it is important to make sure customers feel welcome and provide helpful product advice when required. 

“Our team make sure we only supply products we believe in, while providing a variety of options to suit all our customer’s needs. When it comes to our identity, we make sure we know our products and how to help. We pride ourselves on offering a professional approach. We are problem solvers and can provide access to unusual or unique products when needed,” Carrie said.

“We are proud to be a regionally owned and operated business, employing over 40 people across the Central West. We are proud to give back to our community and will continue to invest in sponsorships and donations to a range of rural mental health, education, community building, agriculture and sporting organisations in and around Parkes, and of course across the entire region,” she said.

Sales boost

Like most stores throughout the industrial supplies industry, the onset of the pandemic saw Power Tools Plus continue to operate, supplying many essential industries in the region. Ironically the pandemic also coincided with the breaking of drought in the region, according to Carrie, which has again contributed to a healthy uplift in demand.

“Since early last year, the overall Power Tools Plus business, including the Parkes store, has seen some of its highest sales results in 30 years. We were very lucky to not only be able to stay open, but we also did not need to pivot to on-line sales. One of the downsides of the pandemic is that like most industries we continue to suffer supply delays and increased pricing, particularly for steel, as demand remains high,” Carrie said.

Throughout these challenging times the AIS group has remained stoic in supporting its members with supply issues by ensuring access to group buying, networking, industry knowledge and insight and catalogue compilation.

“The AIS group also allows us to share ideas with similar businesses via our membership. AIS has been a key factor in helping us develop into the business we are today, and we are grateful for the network it provides.”

Looking ahead…

Although the Parkes store has already sustained a significant share of Parkes’ industrial customers and is now busy developing the new store, Carrie said the team will remain focused on deepening the business over the coming months.

“To do this we will leverage interest in our new store and steel supply and look to capture a bigger share of the residential market. We will also continue to compliment AIS created campaigns with our own radio, press and on-line initiatives as well as deploy our full-time sales representative who will focus on business development and service to mining, construction and government clients,” Carrie said.

Timber Update September 2021

Timber Update September 2021

Advice to check the “claim of compliance” on structural timber

claim of compliance

Queensland’s timber industry released technical advice reminding builders of the information they must look for when using structural timber and how to maintain relevant records.

Timber Queensland’s Strategic Relations Manager, Clarissa Brandt, said the Queensland timber industry is proud of its record as a responsible supplier of high-quality, fit-for-purpose structural timber products, particularly considering some timber in the industry is proving to be below standard.

“Given there is a broad supply chain including from imports, there have been reports of some timber products being used that had not been properly graded or marked. This prompted the release of an Advisory Note to explain how to check structural timber building products have the correct claim of compliance,” Mrs Brandt said. 

“By law, builders and certifiers must check that any structural timber product used on a job complies with Queensland’s non-conforming building product (NCBP) regulations,” she said.

Timber Queensland’s new Advisory Note on Structural Timber Product Identification and Traceability provides examples of the brands, labels, stamps or marks required on a product to claim compliance. Typically, this includes compliance against relevant Australian Standards, Code Mark certification or via a Performance Solution.

Mrs Brandt said if a structural timber product cannot be identified it should be rejected as non-conforming.

“Check the claim of compliance. If it is not correct do not purchase the product or return the delivery to the supplier. Then you need to notify the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) of a suspected non-conforming building product, failure to do so is also a specific offence under NCBP legislation,” she said.

Mrs Brandt said builders and certifiers also needed to be able to prove structural timber products used on a job have the correct claim of compliance.

“We recommend taking photos of products, keeping dockets and maintaining files to ensure you can prove to the regulator that you have ‘done the right thing’.”

Timber Queensland went on to remind the building industry they must pass on information regarding product use and application, through the supply chain to the home owner. 

“To avoid possible action by the QBCC it is imperative that all in the supply chain, including builders, pass on required information to the ‘next in the chain’, and maintain and file accurate and detailed product identification and traceability information so the use of the product remains conforming for each job,” Mrs Brandt said.

Kangaroo Island to burn again

Image source: in

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) has reported that thousands of hectares of its forests will be felled, piled and burned and the company will walk away from the industry following the State Government’s decision to reject plans for a port on the island’s north coast, according to a recent InDaily report.

KIPT last month announced plans to revert 18,6967 hectares of its land to agriculture, a decision that will involve knocking over and burning about 14,500 hectares of pine and blue gum plantations. The decision comes after State Planning Minister, Vickie Chapman, announced that the government had rejected KIPT’s proposal to develop a $40 million port at Smith Bay.

The proposed port was recommended by Minister Chapman’s department that it could be supported, but the Minister vetoed the development due to potential for long-term environmental damage, impact on local businesses and the island’s character.

The company says it is open to salvaging some timber, considering the current timber shortages, but will now shift its focus to converting its estate into farmland.

KIPT has about 14,500 hectares of plantations, about 80 per cent hardwood (blue gum) and 20 per cent softwood pine, which is used to produce structural timber representing close to 10 per cent of the state’s plantations, according to the report.

However, the December 2019 fires damaged about 95 per cent of it burning 210,000 hectares – almost half of the island – across a 612-kilometre perimeter. Following the fires, the company received more than $60 million in insurance payouts and has since been in a race against time to salvage the timber and ship it off the island before it rots, according to the report.

Also announcing his retirement, KIPT Managing Director Keith Lamb, said in the report that the board had been working up contingency plans for some time in the event that Chapman rejected the Smith Bay port.

“Once the decision was made by the minister then the board was ready to execute those plans and that is what it is doing. The issue we have now is the government’s decision to decline the port means there is no chance that any rational investor would back this horse so the company is now in a position where it has to just move on,” he said.

The company’s total estate was about 25,000 hectares in total and included about 14,500 of standing forest, a further 4000 hectares of potential agricultural land and almost 7000 hectares of remnant vegetation, water bodies and streams.

“The company is leaving salvage open but its main thrust for now is to focus on reversion – pushing the trees, heaping them and burning them.”

KIPT said its 2021 results would reflect a write-down in the value of its Smith Bay wharf site of $12-$14 million from $18.2 million and the re-evaluation of its biological assets from $5.9 million to zero.

“Government has had more than 100 years to make some crucial decisions about setting aside land for future development and when you look at Kangaroo Island, the only part capable of development for a port that is not in a marine park or a national park is Smith Bay. Any company that decided it was going to go forward with a proposal to build something in a marine park is asking for trouble – we avoided that yet now the minister has decided it is still unsuitable so there is a real issue for the future of the island. How can the island thrive when it doesn’t have access to modern infrastructure?” Mr Lamb said in the report.

Mr Lamb said pushing the trees over would begin immediately while the burning was unlikely to start until at least April next year. He said the company was yet to decide whether it would manage the agricultural land itself, lease it out or sell it off.

The building industry has flagged the fire-affected Kangaroo Island timber as a possible solution to the state’s timber shortages.

KIPT began using SeaLink’s ferry service from Penneshaw to Cape Jervis in February to begin trucking softwood logs to the mainland. The loaded trucks then drove from Cape Jervis to Port Adelaide where KIPT has established a depot to store timber before it can be on-sold to local sawmills or shipped overseas. However, the quantities have not been enough to make a significant dent in KIPT’s stockpiles or reduce the pressure on supply, according to the report.

Mr Lamb said the company had been trying to establish alternate routes for shipping logs off the island for 18 months including via Kingscote and American River.

“We are very mindful that South Australia has a timber shortage and we have 300,000 tonnes of high-quality structural timber that would make 10,000 homes. We are very mindful that there is great interest in salvaging it but at the moment we cannot get it off the island economically so that is where the challenge lies. We are still doing the harvesting right now but we are down to one truck a day on the ferry because it is a wintertime service and we need to be doing 10 trucks an hour, not one truck a day. We need substantial assistance to get some activity going through Kingscote … but so far we have heard nothing.”

Canada: Production curb, prices sink

At least one mill in Western Canada was forced to curtail its production due to plunging lumber prices and soaring log costs, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

Conifex Timber Inc. has announced that it will temporarily slow production at its sawmill in Mackenzie, British Columbia, due to an “unprecedented collapse in lumber prices” and will curtail production for two weeks starting late August.

It seems that North American lumber companies may have added too much production too quickly, as demand cools and prices for the construction material plunge, according to the report. In the last 12 months prices quadrupled to record highs but now the price of lumber has sunk about 70 per cent since May. Now that DIY purchases have dropped and the lumber rally has priced out some buyers, building a home in the US is more expensive than ever.

Earlier this year, lumber producers were swimming in profits after banks offered rock-bottom borrowing rates during the pandemic leading to a house-building boom. This was exacerbated as locked-down home owners spent money on do-it-yourself renovations, according to the report. 

It was then that sawmills increased production and announced large investments to expand capacity in the US South, where timber plantations are plentiful and log prices are lower. 

It seems that more mills will now follow Conifex’s lead with additional curtailments in the near future. 

Greg Kuta, Westline Capital Strategies Inc. Chief Executive Officer, which specialises in lumber-trading strategies, said if mills do not slow production, they will need to decide how much of their first-half 2021 profits can be thrown away while awaiting higher prices.

“The market is still over-supplied relative to demand. The supply-side needs to be addressed for price stability and future price appreciation,” Mr Kuta said in the report.

US lumber futures are trading around $470 per thousand board feet, after reaching more than $1,700 in May.

CIBC Analyst Hamir Patel said in the report that producers in B.C.’s key Interior region are now “underwater” with regional mill cash costs around $525 to $575 per thousand board feet in the second half of 2021, with an estimated 14 per cent of North America’s lumber comes from British Columbia.

Apprentice wage subsidy extension boosts jobs and the economy

Apprentice wage subsidy extension boosts jobs and the economy

The extension of the Federal Government’s 50 per cent apprentice and trainee wage subsidy is expected to provide new job opportunities in the industry that will spearhead economic recovery.

“The $1.2 billion extension of the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) scheme will also be a boost for economic recovery,” Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Officer Denita Wawn said recently.

Apprentice wage subsidy
 Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Officer, Denita Wawn.

“Governments around the country are harnessing the building and construction industry’s huge economic multiplier effect to accelerate the build to economic recovery. The extension of BAC will give employers confidence to take on new apprentices and trainees to help meet future demand for skills.”

Master Builders Australia called for the extension of employer support to take on apprentices and trainees in our Pre-Budget Submission, especially given the major success of the program so far. Making the extended program demand driven is a good move that will support more people to take up pathways to careers in our industry as it leads the build to economic recovery,” Ms Wawn said.

Victorian/Tasmanian Hardware Industry Awards

Victorian/Tasmanian Hardware Industry Awards


On October 22, the hardware industry of Victoria and Tasmania came together for its yearly night of nights with the hosting of its 2016 Victorian/Tasmanian Hardware Industry Awards.

The room was packed to capacity to enjoy with guests not only treated to a night of awards, but also entertainment and fine dining at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne.

30+ Years’ Service Awards

This year also saw the inaugural awarding of 30+ Years’ Service Awards. These awards recognise recipients who have achieved over 30 years in the industry and saw a mix of sales representatives, employees, managers and business owners all being acknowledged by the industry. The prestigious award was awarded to:

Bob Kershaw Ocean Grove Hardware
Robert Patterson Gisborne Hardware
Idilio Amora Mitre 10  – Caulfield
Peter  & Sue Moore Inglewood Hardware
Michael Green Doncaster Mitre 10
Doreen Brown TM & H Home Hardware  – Moe
30+ years of service recipients

Recipients of the 30+ Years’ of Service Awards.

Supplier award winners

Award winning suppliers were also announced on the night in the categories of bathroom, building, timber, electrical, hardware, paint & accessories, tools, garden & outdoor living, as well as Overall Supplier of the Year. Supplier of the Year Awards were presented to:

Supplier of the Year Bathroom Interbath
Supplier of the Year Building Mapei
Supplier of the Year Timber ITI
Supplier of the Year Electrical HPM
Supplier of the Year Hardware ITW
Supplier of the Year Paint & Accessories Dulux
Supplier of the Year Tools Sutton Tools
Supplier of the Year Garden & Outdoor Yates
Overall Supplier of the Year   Yates
Bathroom supplier of the year - Interbath final

Tynan Murry, Airco Brands’ Victorian manager accepts Bathroom Supplier of the Year Award for Interbath, presented by Mitre 10’s Greg McKean.

Building supplier of the year - Mapei

Catherine Callaway of Mapei accepts the Building Supplier of the Year Award, presented by Mitre 10’s Greg McKean.

Garden and outdoor supplier of the year - Yates

David Cripps of Yates (R) accepts the Garden & Outdoor Supplier of the Year Award from HTH Vic/TAS regional manager HTH, Tony McGeorge.

Hardware products supplier of the year - ITW

Andrew Coffey of ITW Proline (R) accepts the Hardware Supplier of the Year Award from HTH Vic/TAS regional manager HTH, Tony McGeorge .

Paint and accessories supplier of the year - Dulux

Dulux Victorian manager, Colin Jeoll (R) accepts the Paint and Accessories Supplier of the Year Award from Mitre 10’s Greg McKean.

tools supplier of the year - Sutton tools

Ben Williams of Sutton Tools accepts Tools and Accessories Supplier of the Year Award, presented by HTH Vic/TAS regional manager HTH, Tony McGeorge.

Overall supplier of the year award

David Cripps of Yates (R) accepts the Overall Supplier of the Year Award from HA chair, Ian Cornwell HA Chair.

Sales Representative of the Year

The Lou Turco Sales Representative of the year Award was this year sponsored by Sutton Tools and was awarded to Jenny Davies from Trio Australia.

sales rep of the year

Jenny Davies of Trio Australia accepts the Sales Representative of the Year Award from Ben Williams of Sutton tools.

Jenny won the award against some tough competition and during her acceptance speech, Jenny said she was completely stunned by the win. Jenny also said she was very thankful to Trio as a company for their support.

Store of the Year Awards

The Store of the Year Awards were again a hotly contested category of awards, with this year’s finalists and winners being:

Small Store (under 1000sqm) sponsored by Seasol International

Ocean Grove Home Hardware – Winner
Inglewood Mitre 10 – Finalist
Richies Mitre 10 – Finalist
Numurkah Home Hardware- Finalist
Limos Home Hardware- Finalist
Small store of the Year - Ocean Grove Hardware

Paul Drake of Ocean Grove Home Hardware accepts the Small Store of the Year Award from Robyn Stewart of Seasol.


Medium Store (1000sqm – 2500sqm) sponsored by ITW Proline

Wells Mitre 10  – Latrobe – Winner
Peters Mitre 10  – Caulfield – Finalist
Daylesford Mitre 10 – Finalist
Provan’s Home Hardware – Finalist
Medium store of the Year - Wells Mitre 10 - Latrobe

Steve Longmore of Wells Mitre 10 La Trobe accept the Medium Store of the Year Award from Andrew Coffey, ITW Proline.


Large Store (over 2500sqm) sponsored by Valspar

Diamond Valley Mitre 10 – Winner
Richmond Mitre 10 – Finalist
Womersley’s Mitre 10 – Chelsea – Finalist
Beaconsfield Home Timber & Hardware – Finalist
TM & H Home Timber & Hardware – Moe – Finalist
Holts Mitre 10 – Finalist
Large store of the year award - Diamond Valley Mitre 10

Paige O’Connor of Diamond Valley Mitre 10 accepts Large Store of the Year Award from Constance Bram of Valspar.

It was especially exciting to see Wells Mitre 10 Latrobe in Tasmania feature in the winning stores, with the store owners travelling from interstate, to attend the awards night and accept the award, according to Hardware Australia’s executive officer, Scott Wiseman.

Employee of the Year

Sponsored by REST Industry Super, the Employee of the Year award was presented to Jessica Mauro of Doncaster Mitre 10. Jessica is Doncaster Mitre 10’s paint manager, and is described as their ‘Jill of all trades’ with six and half years’ building understanding across many departments. Jessica was honoured and humbled to have been nominated and was ecstatic to have won and receive the $500 cash.


The finalists were:

Michael Bell Ocean Grove Hardware
Tony Kenshole Diamond Valley Mitre 10
Employee of the year finalist - Jessica Mauro

Employee of the Year award was presented to Jessica Mauro of Doncaster Mitre 10, by Hardware Australia chief executive, Scott Wiseman.


Rising Star of the Year 2016

Sponsored by National Retail Association, the 2016 Rising Star of the Year Award was presented to James Domaille of Doncaster Mitre 10. James took home not only $500 cash, but also a $4000 training voucher to further his development and will represent Victoria in the National Hardware Awards in early 2017.

The finalists were:

Emma Steuten Diamond Valley Mitre 10
Thomas Webb Ocean Grove Hardware
Rising Star award - James Domaille

James Domaille of Doncaster Mitre 10 accepts the Rising Star of the Year Award 2016 from the National Retail Association’s Troy Wild.

Hardware Legend Award

Sponsored by Dulux, the major award of the night, the Hardware Legend award, saw Colin Jeoll from Dulux presenting Barry Fagg – Fagg’s Mitre 10 with the award. Barry was acknowledged for a lifetime in the industry and his outstanding contribution to Mitre 10 over many years.

Barry is part of the fourth generation of the family to devote a lifetime to the hardware industry and has successfully carried on the traditions of his Geelong business, which has over 160 years of history.

The Fagg’s business is one of the longest running family businesses in Victoria and the eighth oldest family business in Australia. After a career in accounting, Barry joined the business full time in 1980, together with his younger brother Keith. Backed by the support from the company board, the brothers grew the business from two stores to five, and now has stores in South Geelong, North Geelong, Wallington, Torquay, Colac and more recently in a joint venture with Mitre 10.

Barry was a director within the Mitre 10 group including Mitre 10 Southern Region and Mitre 10 South West from 1987-2004, and served on various committees during this time. In 2000 he became an inaugural board member of Mitre 10 and was chairman of the board from 2002-2004.

Barry is most proud of working together with his brother to successfully continue and grow the family business for over 35 years and his accomplishments as national chairman of Mitre 10.

Over his time in the industry, Barry notes the introduction of big box hardware retailing and computerisation as among the major changes to how we do business and also welcomes the involvement of Metcash in the industry as part of securing the future of independent hardware operators.  He believes we will continue to see the consolidating of independents who will survive by being specialist in their areas and in serving niche markets.

When accepting the award, Barry paid special tribute to his family, his brother who he works closely with and to his wife, who has visited thousands of hardware stores all around the world.

Hardware Legend Award - Barry Fagg

Colin Jeoll from Dulux presents Barry Fagg, of Fagg’s Mitre 10 with the Hardware Legend Award.


Hardware Australia’s executive officer, Scott Wiseman, said the night was a great success as a celebration of our great industry and the special people who are passionate, dedicated and genuinely love hardware.

Hardware Australia also thanked its sponsors on the night including:

Gold Sponsor:  Dulux, Sutton Tools and REST Industry Super

Silver Sponsors: Mitre 10, ITW Proline, HTH, Valspar, Seasol International

Bronze Sponsors: National Retail Association

Media Supporter: Australian Hardware Journal

“Please remember to support these companies who generously support these industry events,” Mr Wiseman said.


Over $2 million dollars spent at AIS trade show

Over $2 million dollars spent at AIS trade show

AIS topped off a successful week at its 2016 annual Annual General Meeting and Trade Show Conference, by breaking the $2 million barrier on purchases with suppliers at its annual trade show, held in Melbourne in September.

The week began with the customary AGM, where all of the AIS Shareholders attending are presented with a summary of the business activity for 2016 and the forward company strategy for 2017.

AIS group general manager (GGM), Stephen Wallace, said that the AGM is a vitally important part of business because it is an opportunity for all shareholders to truly understand what is going on in the independent group they are part of.

“AIS had a breakthrough year on a number of fronts, not all of which may be easily presented in shareholder updates. This event allows each shareholder an opportunity to openly discuss the direction of the company, and if required, vote on key strategies to move the group forward,” Mr Wallace said.

While the group has struggled to maintain its shareholder base over the last three years, it is pretty clear that the shareholders that remain, are forming a solid foundation by working much more closely together, Mr Wallace said.

“The essence of an independent group is to have the ability to join together to maximise your buying and selling opportunities. With AIS, we deliver this on more fronts than other groups; with our key buying power across the industrial suppliers and our ability to continue to drive demand into our shareholders stores with our marketing program,” he said.

One of the big successes of the AGM this year was a workshop on buying collectively, according to Mr Wallace, who said the workshop was very rewarding and allowed all of the AIS Shareholders to come together and enjoy a fun filled strategic session.

“In 2016 our group has grown its purchases with AIS contracted suppliers with fewer shareholders than the previous year. This says a lot about the deals that were offered to shareholders and the value our marketing program brings each of them. They would not be purchasing the product if there wasn’t demand for it,” Mr Wallace said.

“In 2017 we believe we can do even better than last year if our shareholders embrace the collective buying power even more and the workshops helped shareholders to embrace that ethos,” he said.

Mr Wallace also commented on the growth of the sales data project that is now delivering results through the group.

“To truly operate a marketing program that delivers, many things need to be in place. Your stores need to manage and improve on their retail disciplines, while the support office needs to deliver on key buying opportunities that are not only attractive for our shareholders, but also for the end customer. To do this you need to understand what product you are selling, when you are selling it and how many of them you are selling. If you do not have this basic information, then you are just flying blind and your stores will not achieve the outcomes they are looking for,” he said.

“The implementation of this project at the end of 2014 has allowed our support office to understand the product and buying demands of the group. This will ultimately provide AIS shareholders with more return from each of the marketing campaigns and better buying opportunities in the future,” Mr Wallace said.

Supplier breakfast

Following on from the AGM on Thursday, Friday was a jam packed day of engagement. The day kicked off early with the supplier breakfast. Suppliers enjoyed a full catered breakfast, while Mr Wallace presented (with his category team) the key strategy for the coming year while.

During the presentation Mr Wallace noted that, “our key preferred supplier’s partners are critical in the shareholder and support Office relationship. Our aim is to continue to provide value for our key supplier partners across a number of different metrics. We have and will continue to deliver their brands and products out to over 2.5 million readers each year with our promotional catalogues and over 2.1 million email recipients with our extended e–marketing campaigns. We believe collectively we deliver more to suppliers than other groups on this front.

“One of the key initiatives with our suppliers in the coming year will be a focus on training. AIS shareholders are experts in their fields, but to do this, they need to remain up-to-date with the changing market, industry and product trends. In 2017 our focus is to collectively deliver a training program that our shareholders can engage with, and a program that our key supplier partners will benefit from. This will ultimately lead to more purchases of suppliers’ products and increased returns for our shareholders,” he said.

Trade show

After the breakfast, shareholders engaged with the key suppliers at the annual trade show which was held at the Mooney Valley Racecourse, in Melbourne. The trade show is an all-day event and a key part of the year for both shareholders and suppliers. The annual event reached a record high in purchases on the day for 2015, so all eyes were on the 2016 event results.

With a record percentage of shareholders attending, there was all possibility for improved purchases on the day.

“To get the most out of a trade show you have to bring great deals on the day. Suppliers have done that this year and our shareholders have acknowledged this by their attendance and their purchases. Some suppliers commented that even before lunch on Friday their purchases from the group on the day were over the previous year. By close of business many were commenting that AIS had delivered a larger amount of purchases than any of the other independent groups at a trade show event this year. That is a big rap for a group like ours,” Mr Wallace said.

Gala awards

Group general manager, Stephen Wallace; Small to Medium Format Shareholder of the Year award winners Peter Dyson and Karyn Dyson Shareholders from C & J Engineering and company chairman, Dean Candy.

The finale to the entire week was Gala Awards Dinner held at the Langham Hotel Grand Ballroom, Melbourne on the Friday night. With key awards including Supplier of the Year, Small/ Medium Format Shareholder of the Year, Large Format Shareholder of the Year, and the charity auction, MC Brett Rutledge (procured for the fourth year), kept the program running smoothly as always.

Large Format Shareholder of the Year

Large format shareholder of the year) Group general manager, Stephen Wallace; Large Format Shareholder of the Year award winner Bevan Branson of Alltools Geelong Pty Ltd and company chairman, Dean Candy.

MC Brett Rutledge

MC Brett Rutledge with Dr Mark Cruickshank – Senior Researcher representing the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation.

“Recognising excellence is something that we feel obligated to do each year. Those who put in the effort can help lead others to achieve improved results in the future and the awards ceremony allow us to acknowledge who we believed were the best of the best. We are also proud to be once again associated with the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation, of which Justin Langer is the patron for, as our chosen Charity for 2016,” Mr Wallace said.

“Our shareholders independently support many local charities and community groups which is part of being locally owned and operated, so it is great to be able to offer something from the whole group to this important charity. Over the last four years we have raised over $70,000 for Australian charities and are looking to ask our guests tonight to reach into their pockets one more time and support this organisation,” he said.

Presenting for the charity was Dr Mark Cruickshank, who with Brett Rutledge took the guests through the important work the foundation is doing to find cures for such debilitating diseases.

The auction was held across four prize packs, with the auction providing a lot of fun and enjoyment for all, while the quick witted wordsmith, MC Brett Rutledge, added significant humour to the auction. At the conclusion of the auction, Dr Cruickshank received a cheque for $11,250.00. In addition the auction table donations were accepted on the night and the group finished with a total value of donations of $19,102.55.

Charity Presentation

Group general manager, Stephen Wallace with Dr Mark Cruickshank – Senior Researcher representing Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation accepts the cheque, with company chairman, Dean Candy.

With the event at a close Mr Wallace indicated that they are well underway in planning for the 2017, event which will be AIS’s 20th anniversary. The Gold Coast is the chosen location for the week’s event. Changes to the normal week plan will be occurring with an extra day of engagement for suppliers and shareholders. Mr Wallace believes it will be another successful event for the group.

Supplier of the Year

Group general manager, with Supplier of the Year award winners Michael Brendle – Techtronics Industries (Aust) Pty Ltd (Milwaukee) and Joe Mancuso – Techtronics Industries (Aust) Pty Ltd (Milwaukee), with company chairman

Supplier Stand of the Year

Group general manager Stephen Wallace, with Supplier Stand of the Year award winner Leigh Royle from the Sheffield Group, and company chairman, Dean Candy.

Outgoing Director Dean Hall

Outgoing director Dean Hall with company chairman, Dean Candy.


Total Tools Supplier Conference 2016 – Cairns

Total Tools Supplier Conference 2016 – Cairns

The 2016 Total Tools Supplier Conference was held in the tropical surrounds of Cairns at the Shangri La Hotel, from September 5 to 8. With over 180 in attendance, including suppliers, franchisees, store managers and support office staff, the conference was a buzz of excitement from beginning to end.

Following a year of rapid growth, the Total Tools network now boasts 56 stores in total, and as such, there was a substantial amount of content to get through over the four days that the conference was held. With such a full agenda, there was no time to lose and no sooner had the 180 delegates landed, they were served lunch and whisked off to the first official conference session, which was an address from Total Tools’ chairman, Warren Jones. Day one also saw platinum sponsors, Milwaukee and Bosch, take centre stage to showcase future road maps to attendees. Th e Milwaukee and Bosch teams then had the opportunity to connect with the network in a less formal manner at the Platinum Sponsor Dinner that night. The agenda was at its peak on day two, which saw the bulk of conference sessions covering importing, merchandising and marketing. However, the day also included an inspirational ‘management’ session, led by motivational guest speaker, Rachael Robertson, who was the youngest woman to lead an expedition team to Davis Station in Antarctica. Concluding the day’s formalities was the traditional Gold Sponsor Rotating Dinner, which saw the group enjoy pre-dinner drinks and canapés upon a private yacht thanks to Apex Tools. Attendees were then split in half where they enjoyed entrées, mains and desserts in two different venues, each hosted by a different supplier – Makita and Saint Gobain.
Day three began with the supplier breakfast, which included a presentation from chief executive offi cer, Tim Cockayne, while franchisees were treated to the Gold Sponsor
presentations from Stanley Black & Decker (Dewalt) and Werner. Th e official golf tournament proceeded the Gold Sponsor presentations, and include the now renowned ‘loud pants’ contest.

Total Tools Awards Dinner
After a full day of golfing, and loud pants, the Total Tools Awards night and gala dinner was a welcomed change of pace, which included a three course meal and entertainment from well know Australian performer Paul McDermott and international comedian Arj Barker. The night also included the much anticipated Supplier and Franchisee Awards Ceremony.

2016 Geoff Patnaude Rep of the Year KickinGolf day 1g off proceedings was the Geoff Patnaude award, which is named in honour of one of the founding members of the Total Tools group and who also is an advocate for the importance of building strong relationships with key sales representatives to bring true value to businesses “There is a set criteria when choosing the winner for Rep of the Year, which includes: management of inventory, merchandising of stock, training is particularly important for stores, regular call

cycles and certainly support for a store’s key local events,” said Nicole Bemelmans, Total Tools general manager of merchandise and marketing. Winner of the 2016 Geoff Patnaude Rep of the Year was awarded to Evan Jeffery – Bosch Australia (QLD).

Supplier of the Year Awards “Total Tools would not be in the position that it is today, as Australia’s number one professional tools retailer, if it was not for the support of the suppliers in the room” Mrs Bemelmans said. “Again there is certain criteria that needs to be met to win this award, which amongst others includes sales growth. Important criteria, in addition to sales, is margin and innovation,” she said.


Supplier Of the Year - T2

(L-R) – Total Tools CEO Tim Cockayne presented the Supplier of the Year Award – Tier Two to Kate and Mark Hunter from Spot-On Tools, along with Total Tools general manager of merchandise and marketing, Nicole Bemelmans.

(L-R) - Total Tools CEO Tim Cockayne presented Supplier of the Year Award - Tier One (Top 10 Category) to Milwaukee group managing director, Mike Brendle; Milwaukee national key account manager, Greg Osmond; Milwaukee senior product manager, Sam Nogueira of Techtronic Industries (Milwaukee), along with Total Tools general manager of merchandise and marketing, Nicole Bemelmans.

(L-R) – Total Tools CEO Tim Cockayne presented Supplier of the Year Award – Tier One (Top 10 Category) to Milwaukee group managing director, Mike Brendle; Milwaukee national key account manager, Greg Osmond; Milwaukee senior product manager, Sam Nogueira of Techtronic Industries (Milwaukee), along with Total Tools general manager of merchandise and marketing, Nicole Bemelmans.

Supplier of the Year Award – Tier Two, was awarded to Kate and Mark Hunter
from Spot-On Tools. Mark and Kate were particularly con- gratulated for their overall service and support to Total Tools members, not to mention their recent 42 per cent growth.


Second Tier Supplier of the Year Award Runner up – Ben Pevreall and Mick Hogan from Husqvarna Construction Products Second Runner up – Scott Douglas and Ron Garlepp from Werner Co. Australia Supplier of the Year Awards – Tier One Award (Top 10 Category) was presented to Techtronic Industries (Milwaukee). Milwaukee was particularly congratulated not only for its attention to detail from a store perspective, but also for working
closely with the support office. “They are one of our strategic partners and they are clearly committed to investing in the marketing of their brand. Milwaukee’s marketing to the end user is also second to none and this is what is driving the significant growth that we continue to enjoy from Milwaukee Power Tools,” Mrs Bemelmans said.

(L-R) – The 2016 Geoff Patnaude Rep of the Year Award was presented to Bosch Australia’s (QLD) Evan Jeffery by Geoff Patnaude’s sons, Alex and Chris Patnaude.

(L-R) – The 2016 Geoff Patnaude Rep of the Year Award was presented to Bosch Australia’s (QLD) Evan Jeffery by Geoff Patnaude’s sons, Alex and Chris Patnaude.

Top 10 Category – Supplier of the Year Award 2016 – Tier one Runner up – Andrew Cronin – Makita Power Tools Second runner up – Blair Brydon – Tooltechnic Systems – Festool Australia
Rookie Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 The Rookie Franchisee of the Year Award was introduced to recognise excellence amongst ‘new’ stores that have been open for less than three years, and which also have a full trading year under their belts. Mr Cockayne said Total Tools has some great new stores, with eight stores opening in the last financial year and two more in the last couple of months.
“We have had a lot of new stores coming on and everyone knows we are up to 56, so there are quite a number of people who were eligible this year,” he said.

Second Runner Up Rookie Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 – Total Tools Mitcham – Russell and Lily Taylor
Although the Mitcham store had a few obstacles to get over in the early days, the store’s first full year of trading was fantastic, according to Mr Cockayne.
First Runner Up Rookie Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 – Total Tools Wingfield – Brian Rousseau
Mr Cockayne said he remembered when Brian first came into the business, he certainly did not come in knowing all about tools and tradesmen, but he does know about numbers and spreadsheets.
“Brian really had a great year this year, and is without a doubt the best in the group at retail stock management,” Mr Cockayne said.
Rookie Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 – Total Tools Gregory Hills – Shaun Hindley
“Total Tools Gregory Hills has had a magnificent year,” according to Mr Cockayne, who said, in its very first full year of trading, the store exceeded all expectations.
“In the very first full year this store has entered the top 20 list within the group,” Mr Cockayne said.

Most Improved Franchise Store Award 2016
Award presentations then moved onto Most Improved Franchise Store Award 2016, with Mr Cockayne revealing that this award was specifically developed to recognise stores that have made substantial changes within their businesses, which may include expanding the store, relocating or growing the business.
“The weighing of this award is very much factored along growth and change. We also ensure that compliance is included as well,” he said.

(L-R) – Total Tools operations manager, Scott Fitzgerald; Rookie Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 winners Marty Andrew (store manager), franchisees Tina and Shaun Hindley of Total Tools CEO Total Tools Gregory Hills, with Total Tools CEO, Tim Cockayne.

(L-R) – Total Tools operations manager, Scott Fitzgerald; Rookie Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 winners Marty Andrew (store manager), franchisees Tina and Shaun Hindley of Total Tools CEO Total Tools Gregory Hills, with Total Tools CEO, Tim Cockayne.

(L-R) – Total Tools Operations Manager, Scott Fitzgerald; Most Improved Franchise Store Award 2016 winner Mark Timbs of Total Tools Coopers Plains, with Total Tools CEO, Tim Cockayne.

(L-R) – Total Tools Operations Manager, Scott Fitzgerald; Most Improved Franchise Store Award 2016 winner Mark Timbs of Total Tools Coopers Plains, with Total Tools CEO, Tim Cockayne.

Most Improved Franchise Store Award 2016 – Second Runner Up – Total Tools Lonsdale – Jeremy Atkinson
“Although this store grew really well as a business, Jeremy still did not believe that building a bigger store would be the right way to go. Anyway it took him a long time, but he finally went out and built a big store, and it is now going really well,” Mr Cockayne said.

Most Improved Franchise Store Award 2016 – First Runner Up – Total Tools Ballarat – Tim Feldman
“This is a store that has been around for about five years and has continually performed during this time. And yet, it is able to win the award for the most improved store, even after it has already hit such high levels. But I suppose the reality is that the type of person that runs this store consistently shows the type of drive you need to have in your business. To me Total Tools Ballarat is one of the best stores going around and I certainly can’t congratulate Tim enough,” Mr Cockayne said.

Most Improved Franchise Store Award 2016 – Total Tools Coopers Plains – Phil and Mark Timbs
Store owners, Phil and Mark, already owned a store in Sydney, but decided to take the big step of moving to Queensland and opening Total Tools Cooper’s Plains, Mr Cockayne said.
“Phil is in his late 60s and relocated his whole life to move to Brisbane, which is a massive step. Mark also relocated his life and went up there with a young family. It would be fair to say the store did not take off initially, but it gradually built up over time,” Mr Cockayne said.
“The one reason it did build is that number one; they continued to believe in the business, and number two; they worked bloody harder than most other people. For me to see the success that they are achieving, I think this is great not only for them, but for Total Tools,” he said.
Store owner, Mark Timbs, said one of his dad’s favourite sayings was ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get.’ “This is certainly true because we do work really hard and we are so proud to win this award today,” Mark said.

Franchise Store of the Year Award 2016
It really is the Holy Grail to achieve the Store of the Year Award, according to Mr Cockayne, who said to be a contender for the award, the store needs to tick every award criteria box to even be in the running.
The award winner has to perform well in every element. It is amazing how between first and fifth place winners, the gap is so small,” Mr Cockayne said.
“What I do see is a lot of the same offenders up in that top ten because they basically do everything right; they follow the model and I think that is the thing that makes these stores stand out,” Mr Cockayne.

(L-R) – Total Tools operations manager Scott Fitzgerald, Franchise Store of the Year Award 2016 award winners Jeremy & Carolyn Atkinson of Total Tools Lonsdale, along with Total Tools CEO Tim Cockayne.

(L-R) – Total Tools operations manager Scott Fitzgerald, Franchise Store of the Year Award 2016 award winners Jeremy & Carolyn Atkinson of Total Tools Lonsdale, along with Total Tools CEO Tim Cockayne.

Franchise Store of the Year Award 2016 – Second Runner Up – Total Tools Brooklyn – Warren Jones
“This award winner was a bit of surprise; probably because to me the store is a little bit tired. But when you look at the criteria, Total Tools Brooklyn has good margin, high penetration of exclusive brands, high compliance, great mystery shopping, and all the basic things that follow the model. It is a mature business and it is about to relocate and we certainly look forward to that,” Mr Cockayne said.
Franchise Store of the Year Award 2016 First Runner Up – Total Tools Ballarat – Tim Feldman
This is a store that continually performs and has been around for some time, Mr Cockayne said.
“Total Tools Ballarat has continued to be one of the best retail stores, not just in our group but I think in Australia. I have spent my life in retailing and I tell you this guy is one of the best retailers I have ever worked with and he runs a fantastic business,” he said.

Franchise Store of the Year Award 2016 – Total Tools Lonsdale
To win an award like this obviously takes a lot of effort, according to Mr Cockayne, who said Jeremy of Total Tools Lonsdale, runs a great business but he just did not know if he really wanted to go into this bigger store.
“I think he talked himself into the larger store and all of a sudden he made a decision, bought a block of land and committed to building the store. Since this time Jeremy has had record sales each month, while his sales in each of the last nine months is also at a record high. Prior to this it would be fair to say that his business stagnated, for probably five years. So this shows that the model works, that expanding and making sure you have got the best offer possible for the customer, not only helps you to get a better business but also helps the customer,” Mr Cockayne said.
Store owner, Jeremy Atkinson, thanked all of the support office staff and said the work the team puts in is phenomenal.
“I have been into meetings and these guys at head office are there at 7am and I leave sometimes and they are still there at 7pm. These guys bleed for us and this is part of our success as well. The culture that is built within Total Tools was built long before I come along and I just hope this continues because we really do appreciate everything that support office does. To all the suppliers, I couldn’t be there without you guys. You guys also do a terrific job in supporting us at Lonsdale. When we moved, it was exceptional the amount of work that a lot of you guys put in and you really did look after us to make sure that we got up and running,” Jeremy said.

Showcase Expo
The fourth, and official last day of the conference saw the commencement of the Supplier Showcase Expo, which had over 35 suppliers showcase their latest and most popular products throughout the day. The shotgun start meant that every franchisee got to see and spend time with every supplier, negotiating deals for the remainder of the year.
On the final day of the conference, all were in agreement that the 2016 Total Tools Supplier Conference had not only been a great success, but also extremely productive with suppliers and franchisees taking plenty of good advice back to their businesses.




Spectacular scale and selection

Once again, spoga+gafa impressed with its sheer scale and vast array of products. Held in Cologne, Germany, the annual event saw a huge 39,000 visitors attend from 106 countries – a six per cent increase in numbers following last year.

Rachael Blake attended spoga+gafa for Greenworld magazine, reporting that there was a buzz in the air as visitors walked throughout the 225,000 square metres of stands and displays which were spread over nine halls. The event, which took place from September 4 – 6, showcased a vast array of products from barbeques, tools and garden décor to bee hotels, plants and sheds. With such selection in product categories, spoga catered not only to garden centres and retailers, but also to dealers, hardware outlets and warehouse style stores, which carry products for a range of DIY, home and garden purposes. Categories featured at spoga+gafa included garden living, garden unique (top brands in the outdoor living section), garden creation and care, as well as garden barbeque.IMG_0843

Companies showcased their latest products, conducted demonstrations and displayed product marketing ideas to potential stockists. The barbeque hall particularly enticed visitors, as smells from cooking demonstrations drifted throughout the stands. Importantly, spoga not only provided companies with a platform to showcase and demonstrate their latest products, but also served as an opportunity to catch up with a global network. According to Rachael, the networking opportunities for visitors were endless, with a total of 2,032 companies from 57 countries exhibiting.

Industry representatives have confirmed that the event was positively received and that organisers were pleased with the results. Furthermore, the success of the event points to a positive upcoming season, particularly with the range of new products and level of innovation on display at the trade fair.IMG_0821

On behalf of the associations participating in spoga+gafa, Frank Miedaner, managing director Germany and chairman of the spoga+gafa advisory board said, “spoga+gafa is an important trendsetter for the industry. The good frequency of visitors in the exhibition halls impressively substantiated that this year. The high share of international visitors is also extremely positive. Furthermore, the high-quality visitor structure had a very positive effect on the mood in the exhibition halls. In total, spoga+gafa 2016 was a fantastic, successful new products show. The high degree of the product innovations exhibited will have a very positive influence on the spring business.”

spoga+gafa will be held again in 2017 at Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany from September 3 – 5. For more information, visit:





Milwaukee’s NPS 2016

Milwaukee’s NPS 2016

Milwaukee’s new ONE-KEY™ digital jobsite solution, a new 9.0Ah battery and over 20 new cordless products, were launched in Melbourne at Milwaukee’s New Product Symposium 2016 on August 30.

A major feature of the New Product Symposium included Milwaukee’s new M18™ 9.0Ah battery, designed specifically to deliver up to five times more run-time, up to 35 per cent more power and run up to 60 per cent cooler when tested against Milwaukee’s M18™ 3.0Ah battery.

ONE-KEY™ – Unlocking the Digital Jobsite
Dealers, key end users and leading members of the editorial community were the fi rst in the industry to be introduced to Milwaukee’s new ONE-KEY™ jobsite app. To be launched into the Australian market on October 1, the ONE-KEY™ app was developed for Milwaukee professional tool users, from tradesmen to large contractors, and has the ability to give users full access to the tool.
Milwaukee’s National Marketing Manager, Marcus Monch, demonstrated
how inventory management could be easily accessed via the ONE-KEY™ app, including the tool’s model number and serial number, which is unique to every tool. Users can also simply log into ONE-KEY™, search for their tool, which may have been lost on a construction site or may have been stolen, and track the tool to its last known location which is shown in the app via Google maps. For tradesmen this security aspect is expected to pay off , particularly as thieves realise more and more that pinching a Milwaukee product is just not worth it. “Added functionality in the future will also allow users to lock out any tool, so if it is stolen, the tool simply won’t work,” Mr Monch said.
“One of the biggest questions from our dealers is ‘are we changing our platform’. No we are not. ONE-KEY™ is simply unlocking the digital job site. It is a cloud based program that can be used for record keeping, to upload/download inventories, track repair warranties, save receipts, sync wirelessly and log the tool’s status,” he said.
The app’s report features also include a Tool Spend Report, Tool Allocation Report and Inventory Audit Report. When it comes to managing larger contractual jobs, the app allows the site manager to audit all Milwaukee tools and other assets on the jobsite, according to the company.

Another function of ONE-KEY™ is its Tool Control. Users can easily log into ONE-KEY™ and fully customise their tools to their own specifi c applications. With ONE KEY™, for drills and impact drivers/wrenches, the main function will be the ability to control RPM’s, torque, anti-kick back and trigger ramp, which can then all be easily saved on the tool’s preset modes for simple future use.

Milwaukee lights up its newest category

Milwaukee has continued to introduce several new lighting products onto the market, aft er launching into the category just two years ago, and finding consumers are seeking alternatives to halogen, power and bulb lighting. It is for this reason that Milwaukee has continued to focus on cooler LEDs and user friendly lighting throughout its lighting battery operated range.

Just some of Milwaukee’s new lighting products include:
1. Stand lights – multidirectional head, dust and water resistant.
2. RADIUS™ light – adapts, performs and survives better than any on the market place. Boasting 4400 lumens on high mode, it can be used as either a ground light, raft er light or wall mounted and is extremely durable for work site conditions. A ONE-KEY™ RADIUS™ will also be made available, with an output of 6,600 lumens and the ability to control the light via the ONE-KEY™ app to set timer shut off and programmable calendar for start and shut off days and times.
3. World fi rst utility bucket light – featuring rotating heads and three mode setting.
4. ROVER™ fl ood light – A cool temperature alternative suitable for small spaces where heat may be hazardous. Also very durable and can be dropped from nine feet without breaking.

Newly launched power tools
Just some of Milwaukee’s latest power tools launched on the day, all fueled with the
new M18™ 9.0Ah battery included:
1. Fuel Mitre Saw – which delivers 400 cuts on one M18™ 9.0Ah battery and weighs just 20 kilograms, which is lighter than major competitors.
2. Nailers – fully cordless, with the ability to deliver a full day’s work on a 2.0Ah battery.
3. Dry Wall Screw Gun – engineered to be faster than cordless at 4500 rpm.                                    4. Cut Out Tool – developed specifi cally to be lightweight and compact.
5. Auto Detailer – engineered specifi cally for comfort and balance.
6. Trimmer – battery operated with no lull in motor and 50 minutes run time on high.                 7. Hedge Trimmer – battery operated with the ability to cut up to 19 mm branches and built with an elongated the body to be more maneuverable.
8. Blower – also battery operated with the ability to push leafs up to 4.6 metres.

As tools have evolved so have accessories, according to Milwaukee, which recently spent over $5 million upgrading equipment at its Innovation Centre. Milwaukee also spent a further $70 million on another two plants, with an aim to not only improve and focus on manufacturing processes, productivity and testing but to also to ensure it delivers world class products, whilst remaining competitive. “We are always talking to end users to ensure our products will sell through to your customers. When we focus on developing new accessories, we work particularly closely with our cordless products to ensure accessories continue to improve the tools’ productivity, saving the user time and money,” a Milwaukee spokesperson said.
Just some of Milwaukee’s most recent accessories launched at the New Product Symposium included the new Hole Dozer™, with updated Th ermoset Coating, along with Rip Guard and Plug Jack, as well as metal cutting accessories. It was also developed specifi cally to last longer and deliver substantial cost savings. “One of our challenges with accessories, is letting users know about products, which is why we have a specifi c Milwaukee job site team who visit sites and educate tradies on the benefi ts of utilising the latest Milwaukee accessories,” the spokesperson said.