Quick 36

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GPDesign1, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. GPDesign1

    GPDesign1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    please picture this scenario if you will:

    You’re a commercial landscaper and you’ve put every dime you can get your hands on and every waking moment of your life into building your business. It's going good. To promote your service, you and your wife spend an entire weekend handing out 4,000 flyers, hoping to attract even more new business. First thing Monday and throughout the day you receive what turns into by suppertime, 1193 letters, emails and phone calls from the people you’ve solicited, all wanting an estimate, that afternoon. By Thursday, you’ve made 122 successful bids… only 1071 to go! The phones continue ringing into the week with calls from angry potential customers wondering, “when are you going to be out to estimate my lawn”? Meanwhile, it continues to ring with new folks who’re just now responding to your flyer. By Friday, your crew leader walks in and says, “You’re asking for the impossible. We just can’t work this hard” and quits. And, “Oh, by the way…the truck caught on fire this afternoon and burned up about half of your equipment”.

    As outlandish as it may sound, this scenario is not unlike what Better Outdoor has experienced this season.

    Starting in February, with the introduction of our new Fox and Super-Duty mowers, we were bombarded with orders far beyond anything we could have imagined. We planned for, staffed and trained for and made material commitments based on tripling our production from last season, which seemed like a reasonable goal. Better Outdoor is supplied (just like the Big Guys) by 52 different outside vendors, all of which manufacture components to our specs ranging from belts, tires, bearings, cables, etc. We had (at that time) only one fabrication source for the “hard parts”; our proprietary deck, the power unit frame, handlebars and all the other miscellaneous bits and pieces that make up your new mower. Many of our parts carry lead times of several weeks to a few months.

    By early March orders were coming in such that we moved releases for all parts forward by several weeks and were pressing our fabricator, often several times a day, to “hurry up, we need more parts”. Our fabricator is also a supplier to Deere-Hitachi, Thomas Bus (the school bus guys), Freightliner, Lowes Company (the hardware store), Tube-Tex and several smaller customers. So needless to say, we’re not the only “pea on the vine”. Just as a side note, Deere-Hitachi here in Kernersville, NC builds tracked excavators and they are currently running three, 12-hour overlapping shifts, 7 days a week. Their demand for parts is incredible and there are big-bucks involved.

    By late March, our fabricator (who’s been one of my very best friends for over twenty years) became so frustrated with trying to keep our orders filled, he told us, “You need to find somebody else... we can’t meet your needs”.

    Now... there are 200 some-odd proprietary fabbed, machined, welded, painted and/or plated components that make up our three different Quick 36 mowers. All of these parts and assemblies require some combination of computer programming, molds, dies, jigs and fixtures to produce. Due to the volume and complexity of the number of pieces involved, finding a new source is something that would normally take six-eight months to do. Bidding, reviewing capabilities to make sure you’ve got the right guy, doing the programming, building the tooling/fixturing and then qualifying the parts to ensure quality product is a pretty involved process. At the first of April (the beginning of the busiest part of the lawnmower season), we involuntarily started on that project.

    Since April, it would be an understatement to say that we’ve been struggling to domestically re-source and re-tool the components for our entire product line. (Think of it like changing the turbine blades on a 737 while flying at 30,000’). During this time, our new fabricator has done their best to give us accurate completion estimates, but often delays have resulted (waiting for tooling to be finished, or welders to be programmed, or bending dies over-nighted, etc.). Throughout this we’ve tried to be “straight up” with our customers and have given delivery estimates based on the best information we had available at the time. Many times these estimates have turned out to be overly optimistic which has made us repeatedly look like idiots.

    I am both happy and proud (and relieved!) to announce that Better Outdoor Products has survived this “Perfect Storm” and we’ve come out the other side both stronger and with greatly enhanced capabilities. With a massive investment of time and money, we now have redundant tooling and multiple vendors for all of our components. Our fabrication capacity is now many times over what it was at the beginning of the season. We now have a steady stream of component parts and are busy “whittling down” our backorder list. Within a very short time, I expect we’ll be able to deliver product in a reasonable timeframe.

    I apologize that many of you have had to wait this season for such extended periods to get your new mowers. I know that we’re in a time-sensitive industry and that the grass (and your customers) will not wait. We sincerely appreciate your patience and your loyalty and the chance to offer this explanation.

    Regards,
    Gary
    Better/
     
  2. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Adapt, Overcome and Persevere! Ah the joys of a business owner
    Congrats on making it happen.
     
  3. Lake Claire Lawn Ranger

    Lake Claire Lawn Ranger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Congratulations for surviving the storm! :D
     
  4. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Messages: 4,784

    I am sure lessor companies would not have made it. As long as the quality stays the same and you can still turn out the product fast enough you will easily overcome most problems and continue to grow and expand; Thats the way I see it.
    Good Luck
     
  5. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    always nice to see the little guy pull through, i know there is lots of interest in your product.... good luck
     
  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    You go Gary. Sucks being to Busy :waving:

    John

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  7. GPDesign1

    GPDesign1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Thanks guys.

    This year has added new meaning to the phrase, "Be careful what you pray for".

    :dizzy:

    gp
     
  8. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    Honesty is number one , Gary. Don't worry, you'll be around for quite a while with business drive and detemination that you possess. Congrats on sailing into calmer waters! :D
     
  9. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Messages: 7,374

    As an expectant Q36 owner (mower is shipping sometime later this week) I appreciate your explanation.

    Needless to say it has been pretty rough the last 6 weeks since I placed my order, we are/have been in desperate need of another 36" trim mower. Of the 2 36ers we have, one ole belt drive is on its last legs, truly living on borrowed time, its really a pathetic sight to behold.

    Anyhow, I took a chance on the Q36 Super Duty, and feel very secure in my purchase, sight unseen no-less, and have no doubt it will do exactly what it is supposed to do.

    As for the wait, well, yeah its been tough, but it is also neat to be able to be part of helping out the small guy for a change. And after promising my employees a new 36" for the past 6 weeks, of which they are convinced that my imagination has concocted up some mythical single hydro electric start mower that is all green which I moniker, THE Q36, when it finally arrives and we uncrate it, I can again be pronounced SANE (at least by my employees)!
     
  10. S man

    S man LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,562

    Dude two questions. What kind of flyer did you put out to get that kind of response?????? :dizzy:

    And how did your truck and equipment catch on fire?????? :dizzy:
     

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