In its special edition on the predictions of industry leaders, Home Improvement Retailer Magazine asked the CEO of “Well Made Here”, Richard Darveau, six questions. Here are his answers.
#1 What are Well Made Here’s goals for 2023?
Gradually elevate the purchase of home-made hardware and building materials in the consumer’s mind to the same level of priority as local grocery shopping. Buying Canadian at the renovation centre must progressively become a reflex.
#2 What are the top challenges home improvement dealers/retailers face this year?
Juggling with too many uncertainties will wear out our merchants. The specter of sudden deflation means that they no longer know whether to order their materials in advance or at the last minute, to buy a lot or in small batches. They wonder if the cost of credit will kill the housing market. They have reason to believe that, since the wave of renovations they have benefited from during the pandemic, the dollars and time available will go more to leisure than to housing. The lack of candidates leads them to hire at risk anyone who sends his resume. In short, there are currently just too many volatile variables for our merchants to keep the necessary peace of mind suitable for good decision-making.
#3 Are supply chain issues getting better or worse? How so?
If we compare it to that date, a year later, it deteriorated. Russia was not at war, nor was the rest of the world. COVID was almost under control as chaos swept across China today. Climate change has worsened, becoming more frequent, longer and more violent. Fuel prices have fallen recently, but remain higher than last year, and less available to many parts of the world. The rule of law is threatened with implosion in some 60 countries, twice as much as in the post-war period. This is a geopolitical puzzle that should convince Ottawa and the business associations to take seriously the issue of our security and even our economic sovereignty.
#4 How will consolidation affect dealers and the supply chain?
The phenomenon will blow hot and cold on our industry. On the positive side, fewer players will make purchasing negotiations more efficient. A consolidation can also on occasion save SMEs outright from bankruptcy. On the other hand, we must fear a dilution in the diversity of the product offer because mergers often lead to the rationalization of the ranges produced. This also changes the balance of power when competition is reduced, as merchants or banners find it more difficult to find alternative suppliers.
#5 What opportunities are available to dealers in the current retail climate?
The hardware stores and renovation centres that will be the forerunners in the supply of products – and services – enabling homes to become more energy efficient will become champions in the coming decades. Their positioning will appeal to those already converted to the protection of ecology and energy while being at the forefront to convert others.
It will also be the golden age for products and services related to the aging population, which will not only put pressure on health services, but also the creation of new domestic products, the revision of the architecture of our houses and an urban reorganization.
The inevitable rush of immigrants will force the construction of affordable high-speed housing, a windfall for the most opportunists. The opportunity for a merchant or factory to become real estate developers themselves in order to offer new citizens decent apartments should be seized.
It is also a good time to review opening hours and think about opportunities to automate tasks with little added value for customers. It urges Business Intelligence, both literally and broadly, to be invited to upcoming meetings on business models in our industry.
#6 What advice would you give to dealers to continue to stay successful this year?
Don’t do anything like before, because everything has changed. He is well and truly past the quiet time when you could drive your business by looking in the rearview mirror to see how the same quarter had gone the year before. One hand on the steering wheel, the other ready to change gears often, that’s how to manage your hardware store this year with the many corners apprehended.
Founded in 1987, Evolution Structures offers design and manufacturing services for walls, roof trusses, and floor joists working with standard and customized models.
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