#7: Ontario-based businesses and the innovation born as a result of COVID-197
About the company.
“We are very proud to say that we are 100-percent Indigenous owned and operated, one of very few businesses in Ontario and Canada.”
It was very early on, probably mid-March, when a group of colleagues and I were having calls five, six times a day. We were working hard to source hand sanitizer, masks, gowns and whatever else was being requested at the time for all who needed it. Through our networks, we were very fortunate to have access to the products the public required.
Our first win came with the ability to get our hands on Health Canada/NIOSH approved N95s in a relatively short time frame. Our next win came with the ability to source large volumes of disposable masks that we were able to bring in by the hundreds of thousands. There are many things we are very proud of during this entire ordeal from a business perspective — how well our team did in pivoting and performing, and the fact that through our close working relation with MMK Supply in Saskatoon, we were able to source much-needed hand sanitizer, and later, sanitizing wipes. We also got disinfectant wipes from All Clean Natural, which is a Canadian manufacturer. We pride ourselves on sourcing Canadian-made products, offering these at very competitive pricing.
We have dealt with a lot of logistical challenges, much like everyone else. We did see quite a surge in new customers and we were added to vendor lists of some pretty prominent companies in Canada, which is all very positive. However, one thing that we have also experienced is that as quickly as we got added to these lists, we have also been forgotten by some of the companies when their traditional supply chains solidified supply. From a day-to-day perspective, we have seen a lot of changes and implemented many new controls to manage inventory and firm up logistics. We are very happy to say we are also working with a Canadian software company to launch a new vendor-management system that will not only be very beneficial for us, but also very beneficial for our customers.
Business has remained busy — we are still hiring, and we are able to get back to offering our training and consulting services, which has been good for business. We have also moved into a new location, so we are very excited for that. Our greatest accomplishment — and I could not have predicted this pre-COVID — is the launch of Warrior Supplies. We now have our own Canadian-made private label Warrior Hand Sanitizer, Warrior Sanitizing Wipes and Warrior Disinfecting Wipes. We are proud to say that pre-COVID we were negotiating the acquisition of an office-supply business and we wrapped that up in April, so the office supplier is also under the Superior Strategies portfolio, so it is now one of very few 100-percent Indigenous-owned-and-operated office-supply businesses. With all the challenges of 2020, I am confident we were able to meet the challenges head on, and create some great solutions. As a small- business owner, that’s what we have to do; it’s what we are wired to do.