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
By Mike Saunders, Director of Facilities
Jim and the Maintenance Team have been able to get the first of the 2 new compressors online and it is performing as expected. This has allowed us to return the portable compressor that had been required for grit blasting to operate. There are several steps that Jim has planned to get the second compressor online (aiming for the 31st of August) and move the existing compressor from Building 2 over to Building 6. He desires to do this without causing an interruption of compressed air to Production. On the 23rd of August, we had Taras Gravel Supplies in to replace the B2 septic tank. It was a struggle to get the ground prepared for the new tank with all the water that was flowing into the open hole, but we were able to get it in place and hooked up. We are going to leave the area around the tank as gravel, for now, to allow for settling and look at patching the asphalt next summer. Thank you for your patience during this time as we had to shut down the water in B2 to perform the job.The extra tables for the Building 1 lunch room have arrived in Winnipeg and will be delivered on the 1st of September. The extra sink that has been ordered for the B1 washroom is going to be delayed because the lead time for the faucets is approximately another 6 weeks. I am hopeful that we will be installing the sink early in October. I hope everyone has a chance to get out and enjoy the last long weekend of the summer, September 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
Finance and IT
By Robert Vandenbyllaardt, Director of Finance and Business Systems
We fell short of shipping targets in July and will also not meet them in August. We are working hard to get back on track as it is needed at this time. Material expense is our biggest issue due to the high price of our inputs of aluminum and steel. The good news is these prices are coming down. The bad news is they are still double what they were pre-covid. Meanwhile, we can focus on the things that will keep the business healthy in the coming months and year. Speaking of next year, we are there on September 1st! The fiscal year 2023 starts Thursday and that means accounting will start work on the year-end on August 31st. In IT, we will be finishing off the installation of the servers in Rogers and continue with security enhancements and emergency backup procedures. We are also working with FastNet to eliminate interruptions to Teams and our VPN during weather events. In projects, there is much work being done on the implementation of Lynq, our new production scheduling system, which will help in data collection and analysis of our manufacturing system which in turn will help us reach our shipping targets. Happy New Year and keep those bumpers going out the door!
By Devynn Kiesman, Marketing Administrator
The most exciting event that happened in Marketing recently was the filming of our products August 17-19th. This shoot was aimed to capture content for at least 3 new videos showcasing our Slam Latch, Lift Assist, and Grip Latch. There were 3 full days of shooting starting with our Truck and AeroPLUS at Birds Hill Park where we got some close-up moving shots, product shots, and the products being in use. We then switched out the AeroPLUS with the Coated Grille Guard 300 Series and continued the day with footage of that. On the second day, you may have seen the crew around the facility filming how these products are made in the shop. and the third day was more footage at Birds Hill Park. On this day there was a drone operator to get aerial and more close-up shots of movement. There was an actor and photographer that helped out Enjoy Productions who took the lead on this project. We look forward to showing you the finished videos in the near future! A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone at HERD that helped me with this project. With Tonio on paternity leave, I really appreciated the support to make this all come together!On social media, we had another video go viral on TikTok! A video to show off our Door Defender posted on August 23rd currently has 3.7 million views. We are now at 11,721 followers and hit 1 Million total likes which was my goal for the end of August! Consistency seems to be key here and I will be speaking to Vers to see if I need to change our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) going forward. Our other social media pages are growing a lot slower in comparison but we are still doing well and will remain consistent with those too. As we move away from summer and into fall, make sure to check out the new apparel at HERDdirect.com to update your wardrobe and be the most fashionable guy or gal at HERD this season!
By John Creelman, Sales Director
August proved to be another successful month for Truck Guards sales, with almost 500 Guards sold in total, exceeding sales expectations for this product once again. Grille Guard sales continued to be a little slower with 160 sold along with 11 Cab Guards. With August being the end of our fiscal year, I can report (at the time of writing this) that we sold 7050 Truck Guards, 7750 Grille Guards, and 208 Cab Guards for the year. Very impressive sales numbers!With the rising costs of manufacturing our products, we have passed along a small increase to our customers on our Truck Guard line. This was essential to do to ensure that we maintain the profit margin needed to keep our business healthy. This price increase took effect on September 1st. The HERD Showcase Trailer had stops in North Dakota in August and we are gearing up for a series of customer events on September 14th-15th in the Green Bay area and September 21st at PBNOR in Norfolk, Nebraska. As I am writing an August recap, it is hard to believe that summer is quickly coming to an end... where did the time go? As we welcome September, we are also looking forward to getting back into our busy season for sales. I hope everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the last of the nice weather before the snow flies! August was another fun month for everyone on the Social Committee as we executed some food events and distributed more HERD gear. On August 10th we had another company luncheon with food catered by Charlee's Restaurant, many people provided us positive feedback on the food quality. We followed that up with some free ice cream on August 18th to help celebrate National Ice Cream Day. As part of our HERD branding events, we distributed another round of t-shirts with a cool distressed logo that Tonio had designed. Next up, we have another HERD BBQ luncheon planned for September 14th with more HERD gear to be distributed in September as well.
By Kristin Lindsley, Freight and Transportation Manager
Well, it's that time of year again. The kids are all going to school and companies are starting to finish up their end of the year. We expect companies to start shipping using dry vans more in the coming months than they do the rest of the year. Harvest season is starting in the midwestern states and this means loads for dry van truckers, we hope to areas like Minnesota, South, and North Dakota. We were able to ship quite a few seeds from Minneapolis to Fargo each week last year. I am hoping that is the same this year. I have reached out to our contacts to remind them that we are available to help them.Our Rogerswarehouse had several customers picking up their own Grille Guards here and twice in the month of July, Paul has helped assist the drivers so they could install their Grille Guards here in our warehouse parking lot. Here is one of the drivers who was very grateful for Paul's help.
By Tom Albig, Director of Engineering and Curtis Camara
The Engineering Team continues to navigate through several initiatives in the wake of the departure of two of our team members. Our Current Product Development (CPD) and New Product Development (NPD) activities continue, but the Continuous Improvement engineering concept has been put aside until the team is at full capacity again. Our recruitment efforts continue; we are being careful to hire new team members that fit into our team/HERD 'Humble, Hungry, Smart' culture. We have a great team, and we don't want to mess with that!With the CPD team down by one member, tasks and timelines are continually being adjusted so that targets can be met despite our reduced capacity. We have recently released a new Western Star 49X Defender SKU for the 'Set-Forward-Axle / Hi-Capacity Tow Section' truck configuration (WS28D4); a Defender SKU for the Peterbilt New Model 579 (PB26D4); and AeroLT PLUS design for the 2014-2021 Toyota Tundra (TY01L2-02); and several small Production and Customer-driven revisions have been made to some of our designs and related documentation. Design work continues on an AeroLT PLUS SKU for the 2019+ Ford Ranger. Preparations are currently being made to begin design work on an AeroPLUS SKU for the just-released Western Star 57X. The NPD team is working hard on the accessories line, aiming to have the truck toolboxes, steps, and deck plates ready for marketing/production by the end of September. Considerable time was spent on the step design as we are aiming for a unique and functional yet easy-to-manufacture design that will set us apart from our competitors, and the step design will apply to numerous other accessory projects going forward. We also completed the pre-design portion of the next accessory, which will be three different ladder types for both flatbed and van trailers. The electric Auxiliary Power Unit (EAPU) design is progressing but will take up to a year for design and testing due to its complexity. The team also completed the design and prototypes for an improved grip latch spring and has sent several pieces to one of our dealers/customers for field testing. Once this testing is complete the improvements will be worked into our existing products. Considerable progress was made on the design and implementation of our new Research & Development/Installation area. Apart from a good clean-up, this area is being redesigned to provide a safer and more efficient environment. Careful consideration was given to layout and accessibility, and several new tools are being purchased. Steps are also being taken to keep the area in order through a weekly 5S review. A big congratulations to Engineering Supervisor, Curtis Camara on the recent achievement of his 5 year service anniversary! Curtis provides us with an excellent balance of leadership, technical expertise, product knowledge, practicality, and humor and is a much-appreciated member of the HERD Team. Well done, Curtis! Finally, we'd like to acknowledge the passing of our friend and past Engineering Director, Ryan Bourget. Ryan was instrumental in setting up the processes, culture, and team in the Engineering Department, and the effects of his contributions are in play each and every day. He was a great, inspirational leader who is missed by those of us in Engineering that were fortunate enough to work with him.
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