Have you HERD
The Official Newsletter of HERD North America
The Road Ahead
In the Rear View
By Bryan Gulebian
In the Rear View
By Bryan Gulebian, President
I am not sure where the year has gone! Hard to believe we are already towards the end of January. Feels like we were just celebrating the holidays! We finished out the year strong and continue to gain momentum in all areas of our business. Sales continue to stay strong throughout Canada and the United States while production continues to see improvements every month. As most of you are aware, the area was hit with another wave of Covid cases, and like everyone else, HERD was hit as well during both December and January. Our latest robot additions are about to go into full service and take on polishing and grinding efforts in our aluminum channels. Everyone has done an incredible job and getting Building 6 up and running as well as getting the new robots into place and ready to perform. These have been no small undertaking so I want to thank everyone involved for making this happen over the last few months. We also finished out the year incredibly strong on herddirect.com which is our retail store that sells direct to consumers. As you may recall this site started 15 months ago and in that short time we went from zero in sales to selling over 800 products including Grille Guards, Pickup Guards, Cab Guards, and small parts. We have learned a lot about our marketing efforts on Facebook as well as Google ad words that will set us up for even more success in the coming year. We are currently working on redesigning herd.com which will incorporate herd.com, herddealers.com, and herddirect.com. This is an exciting project that will help us with our marketing efforts to our dealers as well as to our customers. This site will be launched sometime at the end of March or the beginning of April. There are so many pieces of good news that I could probably continue for another several pages but I will leave it there for now! I cannot wait to see how 2022 will shape up as we move into this new year. Take care and stay safe!
By Mike Saunders, Director of Facilities
Happy New Year to everyone!The replacement head for the HK laser arrived and has been installed. Bill Lauterer will keep Maintenance informed if he sees any concerning performance issues. Jim Levasseur is working on completing the installation of the second channel polish robot which should be finished shortly. All old Grille Guard production spaces have been dismantled in B2. Future plans for this space are being considered and there will be more information to share in the coming months. Kelly Klassen completed the siding patch on the South exterior wall of B2 where the old paint booth used to be. Bison Janitorial completed the interior cleaning of B2. Absolute Epoxy completed the floor repair in the weld clean wash bay. and Jim and I continue to look for a night shift Maintenance Mechanic in order to provide 24-hour support to Production. It has been a challenge, to say the least but we have an agency involved to help with this search.
By Dave Gata, Director of Operations
Happy New Year everyone!!As we start the new year off, I would ask that everyone be as patient with their supervisors as they try to navigate with all of the staff being missed due to some illnesses. They are trying their best to keep production flowing as best they can alongside dealing with material issues. I would like to thank everyone in advance for being as flexible as you have been in working wherever your supervisor needs you these days. We are about to move forward with the Grill Guard robotics cell which would sand and polish the grill guards after the guard is fully welded and does not need any pre-polish done in advance. The estimated time of arrival would be sometime in August/September if all things go well. With Building 2 now handed off to production, we will be looking at getting some racking in so that shipping can store some grill guards in the building over the coming months to alleviate the pressure that happens in the shipping building.
Finance and IT
By Robert Vandenbyllaardt, Director of Finance and Business Systems
December had some challenges. Omicron emerged as a new variant and was starting to cause more logistical challenges getting certain raw materials. This hampered some of our manufacturing capabilities but in the usual fashion, we overcame those challenges and delivered a pretty solid shipment month. Always a challenge in a normal December, even more so this time around. This gave a modest profit on the bottom line. Accounting was focusing on collections and compilation of year-end data for the audit questionnaire. IT was trying to source VOIP phone system and finish implementing it and assist in the setup of Rick and Morty. The ongoing Lynq project took up a lot of time and new reports were developed in Acumatica. All in all a very productive month in the holiday season.
By Devynn Kiesman, Marketing Administrator
Another massive month of sales in December for HERDdirect.com with over $115,000! Things have slowed down with the holidays and we haven't seen the same numbers these first 2 weeks of January. We are working on having new ads up soon keeping up the inspiration with our past testimonials. So far these have gotten awesome engagement on our social media. Please make sure you're following us on Instagram and Twitter @HERDbumpers, like our page on Facebook (search HERD), and make sure to interact with us on Linkedin as well - HERD North America! A new video for the AeroLT PLUS is up on YouTube and Vimeo. Keep an eye on our socials for that too.The new HERD.com website is in the works for design and it's coming along very nicely. Hopefully, we'll have that ready for launch by April. Our product catalogue is also starting to really come together and should be done in the near future. The design of it is looking awesome. We are working hard to get the right product descriptions, options, accessories, etc. together so that everything makes sense and looks good for our end-users.
By John Creelman, Sales Director
December was another solid month for sales on all product lines from the Accounts Team and the Sales Department. We finished with 596 truck guard sales, 705 grille guard sales, and 63 cab guard sales, a record month for cab guard sales! I am excited to announce that we exceeded our truck guard and grille guard targets each and every month in 2021. As a result of our monthly successes, we far exceeded our annual targets for all product lines in 2021. A great job and thank you to our Accounts Team for all of their hard work throughout the year.Our new dealer acquisition and interest in becoming a HERD dealer continue to grow. Almost all of the new dealers we have signed up in recent months have started off their dealer relationship with HERD with an opening order of our products. California continues to be a territory that flourishes with the addition of new dealers and strong repeat business. Going into 2022 we have almost 1000 grille guards on order and in the pipeline for California alone and we are already into July with our grille guard ship week. Our grille guard business has really gained significant traction and we are having good success with new/existing dealers making the switch to HERD from Ex-Guard. Our truck guard business remains strong and we have seen our more strategic/key dealers continue to support HERD with consistent orders in large quantities. The AeroPlus guards that we have introduced for the new PB 579 MLU and KW T680 NextGen are very popular, these are purchased by many of our dealers when they have these new 2022 model trucks being delivered. With 2021 now behind us, we are focusing our attention on starting the year off strong and keeping the good momentum rolling on. Happy New Year to everyone, we are looking forward to even better things in 2022! Social Committee - December was a busy month for the Social Committee as we moved forward with our 3rd monthly staff giveaway and our first “branding event” giveaway. All staff members received a package of Christmas treats and also a HERD branded toque for the cold months ahead. We also tied in our first “virtual” ugly sweater contest to add to the holiday fun. The winner received a day off work, while second and third place winners were awarded gift cards. Thanks to everyone who participated with their photo submissions and who voted for our winners.
By Kristin Lindsley, Freight and Transportation Manager
Roger’s warehouse has been busy. We have added another part-time person Brandon to help out when needed. Transportation is doing great. We just added a new female driver Dodie Weikert. She has a good history and safety record and is doing a great job for us so far.We finally have 2 full-time drivers in the US and 1 in Canada. It has helped quite a bit. Last week was a busy week for us. In the first two weeks of the year, we have managed to save approximately $16, 298 by using our own trucks to deliver some of our freight and by getting backhauls Home. Due to the changes for covid mandates and essential workers we are having a hard time finding drivers to cross over the borders. It is delaying our freight quite a bit this week. We are hoping to get some relief soon.
By Curtis Camara, Engineering Supervisor
Engineering has had a great start to 2022, with January proving to be a very busy month for us. We are hard at work on new designs that will be coming out this year.Our design work continues on AeroPLUS Truck Guards for the Western Star 49X “Large Radiator” configurations, which our accounts team has started to receive a large number of customer requests for. Great job Randy on the excellent concepts that you’ve developed so far! These new SKUs will be released in the next few months. We’re excited that we recently shipped a prototype of a Defender Truck Guard for the Kenworth T680 NextGen to a customer for test-fit, as there were no trucks available locally to confirm our design on. The test-fit was a complete success, thanks to Eric’s awesome work! The customer was very pleased with the design and has ordered 30+ more of these units. Engineering is also beginning design work on a Bumper Guard for this truck and the new Peterbilt 579. For our AeroLT PLUS product line, a design for the 2018-2020 Ford F-150 was recently released by TJ as the FD18L2-02. Great work designing and releasing this new SKU TJ! The team continues their hard work on designs for the 2019+ GMC 1500, and the RAM 1500 Classic. For just over a year, the New Product Development team has been tasked with revamping the current legacy Defender design. The goal of this project was to reflect modern manufacturing practices that will allow it to be produced in-house using formed channels and boxes and rely less on outside suppliers. During the process, and with the help of the Production Team, we were able to improve the slam latch, the latch adjustment, and increase the overall serviceability with parts that can be replaced easily in the event of an accident or as a result of standard wear and tear. Using an innovative design approach, the Defender now utilizes mostly bolt-on parts, which reduces the amount of welding required without compromising strength. The slam latch is also greatly improved and, going forward, customers will have the option to have a slam latch as well as a CEB. We have eliminated most of the custom and machined parts/hardware, which comes with the added bonus of creating more space for custom light applications. The revised Defender uses parametric modeling to standardize the design across SKUs and consolidates the drawings. The new drawings will be explained in greater detail to Production and Sales closer to the product release in late summer. Great work Meghdad, Reza, and Jason! And thank you to everyone who assisted with prototyping and providing creative, solution-focused suggestions. This was truly a team effort. And finally, congratulations to Phuc on your 3-year anniversary working at Herd! And a special shout-out to Randy and Reza for your 3-year anniversaries back in December!
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