CANADA’S BEST BUSINESS SUPPLIER
The largest Canadian-owned office supplier in Canada is getting a new name. In March, 2018, Quebec-based Novexco announced that its banners are adopting a single new identity: Hamster.
For over 20 years, Novexco has supported Canadian companies’ office, technology and furniture needs. Through its 109 stores in eastern Canada, primarily Quebec, and distribution centres in Calgary, AB, Markham, ON, Laval, QC, Montreal, QC, and Dartmouth, NS, the Hamster network has distinguished itself from its American behemoth counterparts through exceptional service in both the B2B and B2C sectors. But even if being recognized as being one of “Canada’s Best Managed Companies” doesn’t sway you, perhaps this will: Hamster distributes over 15,000 products from coast-to-coast with next day delivery in all major cities across Canada.
Hamster’s distribution approach, methods and processes are different, creative and ingenious which put them in a class of their own, servicing customers from small businesses to large National contracts in both the private and public sector. Over 100 sales peoples service customers in each market segment, so the client is never kept waiting.
“Companies such as Amazon and other online giants are in a position to attract consumers with very advantageous terms, but we have the tools, solutions and logistics to compete with them,” says Denis Mathieu, President and CEO of Novexco. “Our people are always thinking solutions. They have been trained to focus on customer service and personal contact. Our large and solid network enables us to adapt and to exceed the expectations of consumers from coast-to-coast.”
After a focus on acquisition in 2014 and 2016/2017 Hamster strategically implemented its Canadian network of warehouses from Halifax to Calgary. After these years of development, the group decided to develop a strategic plan focused on accelerated orderly growth in a declining market.
“We needed a strong brand, distinct and different under which all brands of Novexco would be able to operate. It became clear enough that we had to make a break with the past. Before jumping in head first, we asked ourselves one question: what makes us different from others? We believe the answer is we are ingenious, all the way,” says Mathieu.
Ingenuity is expressed in all aspects of the company. “Through our employees, our partners, suppliers, storeowners, and representatives. The ingenuity goes back to the fact that they are a group of entrepreneurs with a human approach, and that they are constantly seeking to satisfy the needs of their customers by finding tailor-made solutions to meet their needs,” he continues.
In a fairly traditional industry, Hamster is standing out with bright colours, a flexible corporate culture that revolves around personal connection with customers, and industry-leading creativity.
“We are always looking for the best solutions for our customers. This is much more than just a name change, it is a complete change in course. Our customers’ expectations are changing, and so is our business,” says Mathieu.
Hamster has also developed a great expertise in products related to the industry, such as furniture, and printing. In fact, further to their new customer acquisition, those product lines are the fastest growing product category and accelerate their growth.
Hamster’s guiding philosophy is always to bring added value to its customers, from cost savings to improved productivity. Customers have been able to continuously improve their buying processes through Hamster’s insights on best practices and cost savings.
This Canadian success story remains at the forefront of the distribution sector through an open mind and willingness to do things differently for its customer. One of their largest customers from the financial sector asked the team to become a one-stop-shop for all of their own specific products including marketing material, forms to promotional items. This undertaking allowed the customer to reduce the number of suppliers and more importantly to get economy of scale and significantly reduce their administrative expenses—this service is now offered to all of their customers.
Hamster is the largest Canadian-owned office product distributor in the country, and the fastest growing by a large margin. “Over the past two years, we put a lot of effort developing the private sector from small to large customer and for the last year we see our return as those market segments are growing” says Mr. Claude Larue, Vice President, Sales, for Hamster.
“We are growing all across Canada,” continues Larue. “Ontario is definitely our fastest growing market as we will almost double our sales from last year. We will continue to grow our business, by training our people, providing them with great tools, create a winning sales culture, offer some creative solution to our customer needs and deliver what we promised.”
Hamster’s team of Product Managers are fully dedicated to look for new products and making sure that its product offering is in line with the market and the customers’ demands. Customers benefit from a state-of-the-art system that allows them to monitor our inventory level on all 20,000 SKUs on which there is a 98 per cent fill rate. This ensures that most of the orders are shipped complete with no back orders.
A team of 40 bilingual people in the Customer service department answering over 1000 calls on average per day. Those agents are fully trained on call resolution and to answer all types of customer’s questions or requirements on phone, emails or ‘Chat’ in real time from our website.
“Maintaining this growth rate and integrating new warehouses means we rely on technological platform. Indeed, the Warehouse Management System (WMS) linked to an intelligent system of conveyors, a state of the art radio frequency equipment facilitates a paperless environment for the employees.” says Mr. Francois Milette, VP Operations of Novexco. This technology allows the group to dispatch over 21,500 parcels per day ship throughout Canada. The customer cut off time is 5:00 pm, local time, and they guaranty next day delivery.
The best in B2B and B2C
Hamster is a great Canadian B2B and B2C alternative to the large multi-national distributors of office products. Thanks to their network of Canadian warehouses, they are the only group to have operations on three very distinct fronts; resellers and wholesalers, commercial customers and e-business.
Going forward Novexco wants to continue to grow its network across Canada through acquisitions or partnerships with independent distributors to be the top choice for Canadian businesses and consumers.
To learn more about Hamster, visit www.hamster.ca