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Chris is a former customer turned employee. He has been with Deslaurier for over 13 years. He is the current Purchasing Manager and is active in countless facets of the business, from purchasing and sourcing, to information technologies, to implementations, to R&D, and beyond. Chris is a wealth of knowledge and is a great asset to the Deslaurier team. Chris is also a Maple Leafs fan, but please don't let that preclude you from reading his piece.
Behind The Scenes – Where Products Come To Life
At Deslaurier, we have seen our product catalogue grow immensely over the years. At this point we are over 50,000 SKUs and that product offering is constantly growing. What one does not see, are the efforts behind the scenes to ensure that we continue to provide exceptional quality products and design solutions tailored to the individual needs of our customers. The strength of our product offering comes from our connection to our supply base; we do not look at the supply base as ‘suppliers’, but rather as strategic business partners.
I have been at Deslaurier for over 13 years and have worked in both small and large businesses previously. In the field of purchasing, the concept of being ‘sole sourced’ was a concept that was not foreign to me, but was a practice that my education would tell me was very risky. When I first started at Deslaurier, this was a great concern to me; but in a very short time I found that our strategic business partners were aligned with our needs and that not only were they working for us, but with us as well. By embracing our supply base, we have been able to move our relationships forward to the point where we collaborate with them on product development and to the point where they come to us for input and feedback prior to bringing their new products to market.
One of the biggest concerns when we look at a new product is: how do we add it to our product offering without limiting its use and application. Given the complexity of our offerings, we have to make sure that any new functional hardware accessory that we are considering will work in both our traditional and modern product lines. The latter is typically not the issue, as 99% of our accessories come from high quality European suppliers; the issue is in our traditional line. In Europe, they tend to use only slab doors so they don’t think about the reality of the North American market, which is, for the most part, a five piece stile and rail construction (which can cause limitations or issues with applications).
One of the keys to our success are well planned, fully embedded, accessories in cabinets which are designed around the accessory product to create highly functional cabinet solutions. These come as a result of collaboration with strategic business partners and investigation of all technical elements. That said, we may not always be the first to market with a solution, but when we do come to market with a product, we have typically put it through a battery of considerations to ensure that it is the right product for Deslaurier and something that is needed to create well planned spaces – be it the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms or closets. Regardless of the room or solution, the same approach is taken.
When it comes to the selection of materials for the finished product or the finish we apply, we have created Deslaurier specific veneer grades and chemicals to ensure that we are creating exceptional quality products at the end of the day. We will not settle for anything but the best and our relationship with our supply base allows us to ensure that this happens.
So know that in the background, there is a team of people that work on a daily basis to ensure that we are arming our design community with the tools to help bring your dreams to life with well-planned product selections that meet the needs of today’s consumer.