October 2021 | vol. iv, #10




In recent months, sourcing product has been a challenge for businesses. A few factors are contributing to this, including lack of shipping containers, environmental issues, and COVID health and safety.

According to the Financial Post, the port in Los Angeles, Calif., has a 70-ship backlog. They also reported that the Port of Vancouver’s current spacing will result in logjams and congestion, which could begin anytime between 2025 and 2028.

“With COVID-19 health and safety protocols still in place worldwide, there are fewer manufacturing and distribution employees working in facilities to meet physical distancing protocols,” said Marianne Thompson, senior vice-president, merchandise at Home Hardware, in an email.

To combat this issue, Home Hardware has a few strategies in place. This includes long-term forecasting, ordering products earlier, and ordering products that are in high demand well in advance. This ensures that Thompson and her team can “remain agile and able to respond to shifting timelines.”

Even with businesses trying to be vigilant in ordering and sourcing supply, inflation is still on the rise. Inflation saw an 18-year high in August with a 4.1 percent increase.  Although there is no clear answer to the shipping challenges, “the pandemic has also highlighted the importance of strong supplier partnerships,” said Thompson.

There is no clear solution in sight to the supply-chain bottleneck, but Home Hardware finds that the partnerships they have created have allowed them to meet any dealer needs or concerns.




A new tool distribution business has landed in Canada. Omar and Matt Chaaban, two brothers from Lebanon, already have a distribution business there. Now they’ve arrived here and established OMC Tools & Hardware, based in Mississauga, Ont.

The company’s product line, consisting of some 2,000 SKUs, is unique because all the products are from one company, Total Tools. This Chinese company produces its brand of power tools, hand tools, accessories, safety tools, and hardware, all from facilities spread over more than one million square feet of manufacturing.

The goal is to provide products that are high-quality but affordable, so middle- and low-income customers can afford them. In these developing countries, said one brand manager who spoke from China, “we are absolutely the number one brand here.” But Total has its eye on other markets, such as Italy. With the arrival of the Chaaban brothers, Canada gets added to that list.




Staff vaccinations are a tricky topic to address. Ensuring the safety of staff is critical, but respecting privacy is also important. Turkstra Lumber in Hamilton, Ont., put in a vaccination policy on Sept. 15.

The 300-person workplace had a mandatory vaccination deadline of Oct. 4. Staff who chose not to be vaccinated were placed on unpaid leave, owner Peter Turkstra told the Hamilton Spectator.

Turkstra told the Spec that the Occupational Health and Safety Act “demands” that he keep everyone in his company safe. That includes employees and colleagues, as well as customers.

Many other companies are exploring or implementing mandatory vaccines for their staff, mostly in the public sector. KPMG found that 62 percent of Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses are making or plan to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for their employees.

Turkstra said the company also contemplated implementing testing for employees choosing not to be vaccinated, but with 11 stores spread throughout southern Ontario, management concluded that such testing wasn’t feasible.



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