Boss is now even bossier
Max Munches Stan
April 2011 -Epoxy article
February 2011 - Gerard's Blog (Fence Tech 2011 Expo in Las Vegas)
March 2011 - ASPL Changes to Pricing Structure
October 2010 - Winning Quotes with Quality Assured Products
June 2010 - Optimising your website
October 2009 - Grade 8.8 coach bolts
September 2009 - New Product Development
2009 & 2010 Newsletters
Who do we support?
Boss is now even Bossier!!!
Already renowned for being a market leader in terms of style, rakability and strength, we have further upgraded the Boss fence to be even stronger. After undertaking some technical strength experiments earlier this year we have now included as standard, a SHS40 bottom rail.
The new Boss is now available. The table below shows that based on the horizontal deflection measurements undertaken at 25kg and 51kgs of force, the new Boss horizontal is nearly 3 times stronger than the slim line, RHS4025 horizontal.
The new Boss is just as good looking, it is just the strength that has increased making the Boss especially suited to applications where heavy traffic loads are involved. Of equally important news is the fact that the cost premium for the new Boss is a big fat zero!
The standard Boss panel will now included the new SHS40mm bottom rail, while top and mid rails will remain as slim-line RHS4025.
Max munches Stan!
To be honest when we introduced the comprehensive Bulldog Fencing range four years ago, we were not 100% sure what the market really wanted. Many of you would have noticed in the latest April pricelist that we have made some changes to the line up. The most noticeable change being that Stan, although extremely popular, especially in the Landscape and Pool heights is being superceded by Max.
Max was always the up market version of the Stan range. There is no direct equivalent to the Max fence in the market and we believe our Folded range is able to cater for the entry level portion of the market, which is where Stan was positioned. These changes allow us to become more competitive in the market including our ability to maintain adequate stocks. For our loyal Stan supporters, we look forward to reintroducing you to Max.
Powder coating, why has it taken so long?
It would appear that across New Zealand the majority of powder coated fences and gates are in fact treated to the commonly recognized standard. Providing you are using a trusted and reputable operator, you can sleep at night with some reassurance that your customer will not be calling you in the next month that the colour is fading or worse still, the powder is falling off. At ASPL we are far from happy with the current situation, despite this apparent happy state. What we have found is an alarming lack of knowledge within the industry from many of the powder coaters themselves to fencing contractors and eventually to the end user who generally has little to no knowledge at all. So why should you care?
At ASPL we have been working extremely hard to ensure that the products we supply are to the standard that the strictest of customers aspires to, what we are concerned about is that the choice of powder coating in nearly every situation is dictated merely by the colour alone. Well the reality is that there are a few other critically important aspects to consider. And then why, when our industry spends vast amounts of money with the powder providers are we unable to get any meaningful warranty? That one has always confounded me. Don’t they trust our applicators or is it their powder that they do not trust? Or do then just get away with it because no one provides a warranty? We believe that the far majority of you, like ASPL would like to wear our badge of honour and to supply products that not only exceed our customers expectations, but prove to be long term sound financial investments. So what do we need to do differently?
New Zealand has an extremely high level of UV and this has an extremely damaging effect on colour fade, however providing a reasonably good quality powder is applied, the fade effect is often acceptable, although obviously some colours are more sensitive to fade than others. Of bigger concern is the effects of corrosion.
Technically, the closer you are to salty or corrosive conditions the greater the corrosive effect will be. When fences are powder coated under these conditions, then additional pre-treatments should be applied. But remember, with New Zealand being a relatively small land mass, the corrosive elements are often moved about freely via wind currents, so even if you are in a low risk area, this factor can never be completely ignored. Did you know that nearly all powder coated fences and gates, both steel and aluminium, use polyester powders, and that polyester is permeable? So what happens is salts are deposited onto your fence and then as the fence wets and dries, these salts are moved into and out of the powder coated surface. The polyester powder does still act as a restricting barrier, and provides better protection than if it were not there, but it is in no way offers total protection from these corrosive elements.
With salts then sitting between the powder and your fence, the fence then does what it has to do in order to protect itself and forms an oxide film over its surface, really just like a scab forms on an injury that we sustain. This film is first noticed by the aged looking, grey discolouration on your powder coated surface (as shown in the photo). You will also notice that these usually appear on the sides of the fence that receive the least rinsing effect from rain, hence where the salts tend to accumulate. The oxide films simply grow over time and eventually push the powder coating off. It is important to also appreciate that both aluminum and steel fences will suffer from these problems. Depending on the severity of the corrosion pressure, your newly coated fence can start visually deteriorating within a month of installation. The good news is that there are some simple solutions to avoiding these shortcomings.
Firstly we have all been told that powder coated fences should be washed with a mild, neutral pH detergent to remove these salts. This is correct, although sadly I have yet to find someone who actually does this. Not only is the physical work of washing your fence a daunting task, it really only removes the surface deposited salts, what about those salts that have already migrated through the porous polyester surface? But don't misunderstand us, you still need to wash your fence on a monthly to twice yearly basis depending on the severity of your corrosion pressure.
The single most effective undertaking that you can do to not only considerably increase the life span of your powder coated surface, but also the overall appearance and physical durability of the surface is to fusion bond epoxy coat, before applying the finishing top coat. The epoxy coat acts as an impervious layer, so salts do not come into direct contact with the aluminium or galvanized surface and the resulting surface is also about 3 times more durable (harder) than single coated polyester applied surfaces.
The flow diagram shows the steps involved in how ASPL epoxy coat their products. We are in fact so confident that the epoxy coating is the premium choice, that we apply this coating as a standard procedure on all of our standard driveway gates. Ideally, we would like to be applying epoxy coating to everything that we powder coat. This is why we show epoxy pricing for all of our products. Despite the higher cost, we firmly believe that the benefits far outweigh these costs, and we strongly recommend that our approved contractors offer this to the end user. From our experience, epoxy coated fences and gates offer a superior result: the physical appearance is better, the surface is a lot more durable and the improvement in corrosion resistance is considerable.
Gerard's Blog - Fence Tech 2011 Expo in Las Vegas
Hello all, firstly I would just like to say to all of my Christchurch customers my deepest thoughts are with you and your families. This has been a tragic event that has devastated the lives and livelihoods of thousands and thousands of people. I only hope that you can rebuild your lives as best you can, Christchurch we wish you well in this hard time.
As some of you will be aware I attended the Fence Tech 2011 Expo last month in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was a fantastic experience, it is humbling to see how big the fencing industry is in the USA, it is simply mind blowing. The signals coming from the US economy are in the direction of recovery, and that has resulted in the US raising interest rates for home owners. This of course has an impact on house sales which are already suffering, and the expenditure of housing related improvements as well.
Having said that, a lot of fencing companies in the US are doing OK to very well in the current environment. The market there is a very different landscape than what we are used to in New Zealand. Around 40 per cent of the market is vinyl fencing. From post and rail to paling to every other design imaginable, vinyl fencing has a very strong presence. Secondly Aluminium fencing is a huge market there, the majority of Ali panel fencing is of ‘C’ section construction, this makes the panels very light and I guess cost effective, but at the expense of strength. The steel fencing panel market there is mainly pre-galvanized and powder coated in its fabrication. There are a huge variety of styles in this market. I saw very little in the way of HDG panel offerings.
Over all it was a great Expo that has enlightened me to an understanding of the US fencing market. ASPL will be closely analyzing the US market going forward to potentially maximise any opportunities that present themselves. I also visited the Las Vegas Speedway in Nevada, which was also very exciting.
If there is anything specific you wish to ask me pertaining to my trip please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care, Gerard
ASPL Changes to Pricing Structure - March 2011
With more encouraging economic news appearing, both locally and internationally I believe that most of us have raised optimism about our businesses going forward. We are not insulated from global trends, we face the consequences of a possible weakening exchange rate as a result of our extended or possibly reducing OCR (Official Cash Rate) and our nation’s overall weakening credit worthiness.
Operating within an environment of constant flux is now the norm and we all need to thrive despite the often "double edged sword" effects of these changes. Commodity prices have been steadily rising over the last months and appear set to continue for awhile, yet as global demand intensifies. By now you would have been well informed by your steel merchant that steel pricing is going up, along with steel we are likely to see many of our other inputs rising as well.
At ASPL, these local increases will need to be factored into our locally manufactured products such as our posts, driveway gates and custom made panels. For our imported products we have been facing steady price increases for many months, unlike the local economy, prices on the international market fluctuate constantly. During March we will be reviewing all pricing, it is likely that we will need to amend our pricing effective April 2011.
Please don't hesitate to call or email us for more information.
Winning Quotes With Quality Assured Products - October 2010
Were you left slightly bemused with the letter recently distributed by, well you know who, to many of you regarding Standards New Zealand and Standards Australia’s (AS/NZS) effect on manufacturing and on-selling goods of specific standards and specifications? I for one was surprised that they appear to be hounding the Government officials regarding NZ standards & their implementation. I would however certainly like to commend them in raising this issue to our general awareness. How often do we lose a fencing tender or quote because we are “incorrectly priced?” We rack our brains in a search for answers: How could we have lost that quote, we only priced with a 10% markup, etc. I personally have heard something along these lines countless times.
Let us take a step back and analyze what just happened. You most likely lost the quote for one of the following reasons:
• You incorrectly priced the job and if you had won the job and correctly executed the work, you would probably have made a lot more profit than you had budgeted on making
• The person you quoted to has a far better personal relationship with your competitor
• The person who won the quote has an effective “reward” scheme, ensuring that they are consistently awarded projects. A free fishing trip or round of golf goes a long way!
• The person who won the project has cut corners either intentionally or by mistake and is unable to truly carry out the work as specified while at the same time making some profits.
To anchor the point home in this particular fencing example is difficult and is unlikely to be resolved through further barrier protection by government policy. So too has ASPL now had to supply some Folded Pool panels to replace these under-spec fences. Our research indicates that a construction firm imported these panels and somehow manages to sell them on to various users. This company has now gone into receivership, hardly surprising! I would hope that no company would willingly buy fencing that is so drastically under-spec; after all, how do you hide a fence away that is literally falling apart after just a few months.
I would rather challenge us all with the question: How was it possible for this “fly-by-night” company to win these projects in the first place? At some point they were far more effective than the rest of us. Did they simply lie their way through the sale regarding their fence quality? What should we all do to avoid this happening again? Or at least become more prepared for future quotes. I would like to suggest the following:
• Remain honest to yourself and your customer as to your product and service quality
• Ensure that the product you are buying or manufacturing does comply to New Zealand standards
• Keep your eyes open to new fencing work being installed. I am sure that if any of us had seen these fences being installed we could have raised the alarm earlier and saved some customers a lot of money
So to spell it out, Bulldog Fencing is made to internationally recognized standards. As noted by our Minister for Economic Development, Standards New Zealand and Standards Australia have a policy of aligning AS/NZS standards with any relevant international standards. ASPL is a SME family owned company and we invest significantly in ensuring that the quality of our products and service is at a consistently high standard. ASPL offer a comprehensive warranty on all of their products.
Price Slash - September 2010
Over the last 18months we at ASPL have been fine tuning our business. Realizing that we were facing an upcoming global recession (back in 2008/9) we had no choice but to self-examine ourselves, how we were doing business and what we needed to do to ensure we come through the recession with flying colours. But no matter how much preparation we undertook these last few years have been tough & we needed some luck. Luck found us ... and a lot of preys!
Now after significant manufacturing restructuring we are starting to reap some of the benefits. Our cost of manufacturing has declined as a result of numerous improvements we have made & luck has been on ourside that despite unpredictable steel prices the New Zealand dollar has remained strong. Locally we have at last managed to negotiate favourable steel prices for posts & various steel types, so we are now able to offer competitive custom made gates & fences. So if you have in the past found us to be uncompetitive we are sure that you will be encouraged by our pricing, the truth is, 90% of our customers give us positive feedback that they don't understand how come we are so competitive already. Guess Christmas has arrived early.
How to optimise your website - June 2010
This topic is a worldwide phenomenon. Technology advances force paradigm shifts in importance of different marketing techniques and platforms. Gone were the days of only being able to scour the morning paper for deals or going to your one trusted shop (Farmers and Foodtown for my nana)...Those who deny that a website which is competitive in Google rankings, easy to use and attractive to the potential customer must step out of their stone cave and accept the inevitable.
To consider; what are your goals in having a website?
• PARAMOUNT! Communicate with your customers
• Portray who you are
• Inform your potential customers what you offer
• Educate your potential customers about products and services available to them
Having a decent website will build trust between yourself and your customers and will be easy to understand whilst offering plenty of information thus nurturing repeat business.
Your website can be your point of difference...It is one of the strongest marketing tools you have. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.
For some, the idea of building, updating or maintaining a website is like cycling up a hill backwards, however it need not be an impossible feat.
The first step is to find a suitable hosting company which offers a holistic approach/service where they will develop, host and optimise the site. You will find it much easier to have all of your eggs in the one basket as opposed to having to jump (often playing a mediator) between three parties for the maintenance and optimisation of the site. It also ensures that all of the people working on your site are on the same page where communication lines are more open. Ensure that the host you chose has search engine optimisation specialists who can provide you with long term guidance and support services.
The website hosting company you chose will most likely sort out the HTML for you. Some will offer you a “word editor” which instantly updates the HTML as you type into a word screen. This can be both a blessing and a burden. Sometimes having access to that HTML will save you many dollars as some hosting organisations will not let you change the HTML which is responsible for lots of functions including background colour and changing templates...then they will charge you big dollars to alter that HTML themselves.
Here at ASPL, we are investing a lot of time and effort into improving our websites for our customers and also their effectiveness in Google.
A few activities we have been undertaking (we are in the beginning stages, there is a lot more to do) include layout changes, prioritization, keyword infiltration, consistency of keywords and content additions, but most importantly, we are trying to develop meaningful, quality links with other relevant companies. Google highly rates links with other companies. This is the simple reason: If you have many other websites linking to yours, it shows Google that your content is of high value and relevant.
Try to develop links in each of your important landing pages which you are optimizing.
If you would like to develop a reciprocal link with any of ASPL’s websites, contact us on 09-427 4980 or at email@example.com.
Other links which are helpful are those to online articles or other sources. Not only have you developed another link, but you can offer your customers more information, henceforth gaining trust and giving an impression of expertise.
Here are some tips which can help you to optimise your website
1) Try to have bold colours on your website that will reflect the look of your company. This creates continuity which helps your audience recognise you from simply your colour use.
2) Use images which will not take a long time to load (compress them using an image editor prior to uploading the image) and ensure to name their alt tags with key words or relevant names.
3) Try to have a call to action on each page which allows the user to easily take their interest further, e.g., To contact us, click here.
4) Make sure your information is easy to follow and emits the right tone
5) Contact details should be easily found and clearly displayed
6) Build trust with your customers by offering information about the services which you offer, such as testimonials, guarantees and personnel information.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
1) Ensure you have links coming in to almost all of your pages (if possible). It tells a search engine that you evidently have large amounts of worthwhile content.
2) Your website, no matter how large or small, should have a site map which links every page on the site. This will help the search engine robots find every page with just two clicks. A small site will more commonly have a ‘navigation bar’.
3) Develop keywords for each landing page which will be strewn throughout that page and put those keywords in the title tag for that page. These words should be relevant to your site and spelt the same throughout the page...i.e. if you decide that one of your keywords are “fence” make the title tag include “fence” and then put that word throughout that entire page; make sure you do not change the term through the page to “fences” or “fencing”.
4) Words in titles and content are prioritised, so use the most important keywords and relevant words first.
5) Put as much information as you can on each page you wish to optimise. Have a few pages of articles which are related to your website to increase the amount of content and potential keyword use. Use different keyword search terms for each different article. Any homepage should have 300 words on it...at least.
6) Use your keyword search term for the page as the page title and title tag. This makes the page very relevant and more likely to rank highly on Google. Ensure that the keyword/phrase is consistent.
Grade 8.8 Bolts - October 2009
Over the last few months you may have noticed that many of your new Lynx products are being supplied with a new type of bolt. For ALL Lynx products manufactured over the last few months this industry leading bolt is now supplied as standard, but what is the big deal? Well for starters a 8.8 grade bolt is able to offer over double the strength of the standard 4.6 grade bolt. This offers greater piece of mind to the installer, the end purchaser & guarantees the integrity of the structure from any possible failure as a result of a loading placed on a bolt.
The table below illustrates this advantage.
8.8 grade bolts typically have a tensile strength (the ultimate strength when the bolt fails) of over 800 MPa, whereas 4.6 grade bolts are half this value. More interestingly, the Yield Strength, or the point at which the bolt deforms permanently under load occurs at about 640MPa for the 8.8 grade bolts & at about 200MPa for the 4.6 grade bolts.
If you consider this to be the "practical" or useful strength to you, then you will appreciate that the new bolts used on the Lynx products actually offer over 3 times the load capacity. So the next time you need to use a split fitting, make sure it is a Lynx.
New Product Development - September 2009
We are working on a new Proto-type high-end security fence. We need a name for it & would welcome any comments, have a look at the video: www.youtube.com/watch
Please email us your comments.
2009 & 2010 newsletters:
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