It’s been one heck of a year!
When January 1, 2020 hit, no one could’ve predicted that 2020 would go down as the year of COVID-19. It has been a challenging year on so many levels for individuals and businesses, both personally and professionally. CHHMA organizations have been on a stomach-churning roller coaster ride with no predictable end.
Fortunately, the hardware & housewares industry has fared much better than many other sectors of the Canadian economy as consumers diverted more of their spending towards home products and renovation projects. However, keeping up with this increased demand continues to strain the supply chain, while responsibilities remain to keep employees safe from the virus and facilities operating.
Realizing the enormous impact the shutdown and the uncertainty of the pandemic was having on our members, CHHMA jumped into action to figure out how it could best help its members. We continued to report on COVID-19 pertinent information to our members about available supports to businesses and individuals across Canada. Although not being able to conduct almost all of our regular physical events, technology provided the opportunity to hold numerous educational webinars throughout the year on topics impacting individuals and businesses during the pandemic.
During November, a virtual conference called “Making Waves” was held offering 10 speaker presentations covering pertinent topics for members and providing ready-to-use information for leaders. We were also able to host insightful online presentations by the top executives of Peavey Industries and Lowe’s Canada with plans for more customer presentations in 2021. In addition, online meeting tools allowed senior executives, sales and marketing, and HR managers to share valuable feedback and best practices on a regular basis throughout these difficult months. If you have not been participating in these meetings to date, we encourage you to do so in the future.
The CHHMA also stepped up for our members by representing your concerns to major retailers over the need to relax compliance fines during the pandemic as well as the unfairness over certain new discounts. The CHHMA has joined forces with other industry associations to work towards establishing a ‘business code of conduct’ between suppliers and retailers.
The CHHMA also introduced several new programs over recent months to help our members’ businesses including: Convictional (Dropship Online Platform), CourierGateway (Courier Management Cloud-based Platform), Global Payments (Payment Technology Solutions), HRdownloads (HR Assistance Online Platform), Krunchbox (POS Analytics & Reports), Purolator (Preferred Courier Rates), SGS Canada (Product/Service Inspection / Testing / Certification) and Sococo (Online Virtual Office). The CHHMA continues to source out new programs and services to benefit our members so please look for further details in the coming months.
As we prepare to move into another year with the emergence of COVID-19 vaccines, we are all hoping for a more normalized 2021 but health experts have cautioned the public that even vaccines will not pave the way back to a pre-pandemic normal. It is expected that this virus will continue to cause us grief throughout 2021 as many countries still struggle to get infection rates under control. This means the global economy will likely remain unsteady and uncertainties concerning the global supply chain will continue.
Taking all this into consideration, we understand that this is an especially tough time for businesses and remain committed to doing all we can to help. We encourage our members to reach out to us with your concerns and struggles, and encourage leaders to become a part of our peer meeting groups to find out how other members are coping with some of the issues you’re facing. We will continue to push for public policies that help our sector and to provide information that can assist in your decision-making.
Yes, we will inevitably face more challenges in the New Year, but, with the continued resolve and agility the hardware and housewares sector has shown throughout the years, and especially in the year of COVID-19, we are confident that the industry and our members will remain strong, and will emerge with one heck of a story to tell when this pandemic is finally over!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a successful 2021!
Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association