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Industry Insights

Industry Insights: Forward Thinking With Rob Wallace

rob wallace
Rob Wallace Chief Retail Operations Officer | Home Hardware Stores Ltd.

How did business change for Home Hardware in 2022 compared to 2021?
Home Hardware Stores Ltd. stepped into 2022 focused on our vision to be Canada’s most trusted and preferred home improvement retail brand. Throughout the year, our team worked to update and implement our strategic approach, adapt to market conditions and ensure Home dealers had the products, services and resources they need to serve the communities in which they operate. We leveraged the lessons learned during the pandemic, such as the importance of data-driven decision making, strengthening our omnichannel experience, enhancing our supply chain and warehouse operations and ensuring our team members have opportunities to collaborate on achieving our goals.

What were some challenges in 2022 and how did Home Hardware address them?
Customers are expecting us to provide an omnichannel experience and give them options to shop. We have addressed this by providing a full range of services that extend from our brick-and-mortar locations to online. We also lean into what we do best—providing quality service and the product knowledge customers are looking for to complete their projects, big and small.

What operational investments are you making 2023 and how will they impact your members?
Looking into 2023, we plan to continue optimizing our processes and operations to support our dealer network and strengthen our distribution operations across the country.

This will include adjustments that will leverage our warehouse management system and its technology to reduce our environmental impact. We look forward to future environmental benefits such as decreasing single use cardboard, scheduling more efficient deliveries, decreasing our use of paper in our distribution centers and, in some areas, eliminating the need for paper altogether.

As part of the logistics improvements, the St. Jacobs project included the addition of an automated storage and retrieval system that will benefit us with greater efficiencies and accuracy. These supply chain initiatives lay the foundation to optimize operating costs and allow a streamlined flow of products to move through the system.

All of our initiatives are designed to support the success of our dealer-owners, as we remain focused on our goal to provide the best program for independent home improvement retailers in Canada.

How are you helping your members address technology?
Our Home team has been working hard to strengthen our e-commerce capabilities and has made several significant enhancements to various platforms. We are working with customer data to make informed decisions, as well as performance-related items to enhance the overall website experience, specifically in terms of speed.

We’ve made changes to our buying strategies by optimizing and leveraging the data we collect from stores to provide our customers with what they want, when they want it and how they want it. To optimize the flow of goods through our supply chain and respond to the record level of e-commerce orders, we hired new team members, repurposed areas within our distribution centers, set up electrical requirements, sorting stations, packing stations and processing stations.

What are your projections for 2023 for the industry and for your organization?
We will be joining Scene+, one of Canada’s largest and most flexible loyalty programs, in summer 2023. Scene+ allows Home Hardware to bring the best rewards program to our loyal customers, giving them the opportunity to earn and redeem points for entertainment, travel, shopping, dining, banking, grocery—and in summer 2023—home improvement.

To read our complete 2023 Market Measure, click here.

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