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Blog > September 2011 > Skip’s Blog- Weinbrenner Trip- September 2011

Skip’s Blog- Weinbrenner Trip- September 2011

Skip’s Blog- Weinbrenner USA Trip- September 2011

I had a fantastic trip to Wisconsin last week. I left Charlotte on the morning of 9/12, and it was 75 degrees. I left Wisconsin on the morning of 9/15, and it was 31 degrees……note to self- Wear CruiserWorks™  boots to WI. “Rainbows” and 31 degrees are a BAD idea.

The trip was multi-purpose, primarily focused on:

•        Spending time with Executives at Weinbrenner- Since the relationship is relatively new, they need to FULLY understand and appreciate our commitment to quality, timely delivery of product, and strong service quality expectations. While I have felt confident they held these values, three days with them 100% reinforced the decision for them to be our manufacturer. With over 100 years of experience, www.weinbrennerusa.com is the right partner for us. During one meeting with various executives, I was fortunate enough to be in a room with people who had a cumulative total of 155 years of boot experience. For the “new kid on the block,”, it sure felt good to have the right team of people around me.

•        Production- While there, the entire factory seemed to be working on CruiserWorks™  boots. Their manufacturing process is detailed and complex. There are over 60 individual pieces that go into making a Tour boot and over 100 unique processes that have to take place. It was simply amazing to see it all happening at once. I stopped several times, without scripting or prompting, asking about the product, the process, and what the assemblers might recommend and change. Interestingly, one person pointed out a recommendation to the outsole, and before I left WI., we all agreed and will be making a change. We can only get better by listening to our customers AND the people making our boots. We expect to have another 1300+ pairs of Tours, Side Zips, and Classics. That order will be delivered to NC before 11/1/11.

•        New order- While there, we also placed another order for the holidays. We will have a total of 3000+ pairs of boots by 12/1/11. As the holidays are nearing and the southern hemisphere riding season is active, can one ever have too many boots? One of the comments we have heard time and time again from customers is about having adequate inventory. And while, from a pure business perspective, it might make sense to keep inventory light, “that’s NOT how we ride.”  Availability of product is the #2 rated priority from customers (Quality is #1), and we aim to deliver on what is requested. Sure, “just in time ordering” and “direct shipping” look good on paper and make us sound like a successfully managed company, but again, we are about a long-term commitment to product, service, and quality. We will do whatever is necessary to deliver what our customers tell us.

•        NEW Designs- YES, we have listened, and YES, we are designing. As with our three current lines, any and all boots will include ONLY the best materials, Kevlar lining, and the highest quality standards. Weinbrenners 100+ years of manufacturing experience, modern design techniques, and MADE IN USA standards will prevail in everything we consider. Here is what we are looking into:

1.      Ladies Boots- The simple fact is that Weinbrenner and we agree that the previous ladies boots dyes, lasts and molds are not up to the quality standards we want and need to deliver best ladies boots in the market. So, we have to design a new boot. While expensive to design, it is the right thing to do, and we are committed to investing the capital for long-term success. We have five women advising us, and we have a Ladies Tour and a Ladies Lace-up being made for testing. We hope to have the “beta-boots” in November, and if they meet everyone’s expectations, we will go into production and have them available by early 2012. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the best ladies boot in the market. Please be patient. We’re actively working on it.

2.      “Defender 2”- We really like the Defender Boot, but feedback from folks was that the height might be too high and the strap across the top was not as functional as some riders might otherwise want, so we went to work on options. We also heard that a few folks wanted a heavier toe material, especially for shifting. What we are building is a reinforced toe, lace up Defender Boot with a side zipper, instead of the current strap. We “REALLY REALLY LIKED” what was designed, but we’ll see what you think when we get the “beta version” posted on the website for your feedback. Again, Crusierworks exists to serve YOU. If you don’t like it, we won’t make it……………. The old KISS method (Keep it Simple Skip).

3.      Adventure Boot- While anyone and everyone knows, CruiserWorks™  Boots are so popular because they are great riding boots,  AND they can be worn comfortably after you get off the bike. But, we have had some folks asking us for a lighter “day boot” that could be used for riding, hunting, hiking and simply walking around town. So, we are building one! In addition, several of our law enforcement customers have asked us for a lighter boot. As this boot will NOT be 100% leather, we are including SymaTex in the construction to ensure that it is 100% waterproof. Again, once we have the “beta-boot,” we’ll let YOU tell us if we have it right.

•        Outsoles- We have a great outsole, and when we approached Weinbrenner about being our manufacturer, they built a better outsole for us. But, after listening to the folks in the plant, we decided we would change the compound of the outsole for longer lasting durability AND better oil resistance. We are ALWAYS going to seek better ways to deliver product. And, trust me, we aren’t going for a cheaper product. In fact, the new outsole will be slightly more expensive BUT we’ll swallow the cost because the long term outlook and brand is more important than a $1.00 here and they are on our side.

•        Finally, and most importantly, a comment about our first 6 weeks. Anything and everything we have done to relaunch www.CruiserWorks™ .com has been thanks to the hard work of a LOT of folks. And as one of my favorite movies is titled, “What about Bob?”  I can tell you that the new CruiserWorks™  is “ALL ABOUT BOB”!!! Bob Richter is simply one of the hardest working, bright, and engaging folks I have had the pleasure of meeting in my 25+ years in business. From strategic direction to the simplest of details, CrusierWorks is all about Bob. In fact, since we opened up in early August, Bob has taken every single phone call, email, and written correspondence. Not because we are too cheap to hire others, we have others. But Bob, in his infinite wisdom, made the decision that he, and he alone, would listen to customers, test our systems, and ensure that we had it right. And for that, as the owner of CruiserWorks™ , I am most grateful.

•        Next steps for us…………….whew. Time is flying by, and 2012 will be here before we know it. What’s ahead:

1.      Rally Schedule- Determining our 2012 rally schedule. Where do we go?? Regardless of where, we’re bringing plenty of boots and accessories AND I have a sneaking suspicion that someone’s 2007 Dave Perewitz custom bike is going to be ridden…….Daytona perhaps??????

2.      Dealers-  To do or not to do, that is the question. Frankly, I’m struggling some with this. It has nothing to do with profit and sales. That “ain’t what we’re trying to achieve”………although I do like to eat. Trying to figure out “who” and “how” we partner with to ensure quality is our primary concern. We have spoken to some domestic dealers, but frankly, European, Australian and South American dealers have been driving us harder. It seems interesting that non-USA countries are clamoring for a Made in USA product and USA customers………….. not a criticism or statement of any sort. It’s an anecdotal piece of information to consider.

3.      Law Enforcement- This is a special breed of customers, and we think it probably needs special attention. To that end, we are considering hiring someone from law enforcement to help us design, serve, and sell into that market. As someone without a background in law enforcement, I am smart enough to “know what I don’t know”. And, I don’t know the market or the needs. So, if we’re going to invest in serving that market, it needs to be served by “one of its own” is my KISS thinking………….

Cruise on…………………… Skip
Posted: 9/21/2011 1:34:48 PM | with 2 comments

Julie Miles
Loved the blog, and setting the cruise on continuous improvement. Cruiserworks is headed down the right road! All very exciting, congratulations on finding the right manufacturer.

Best Of Luck!

9/22/2011 3:02:41 PM
carmen Griffin
I am super excited to hear about the progress of cruise works and Laides boots.. I am certain I will see you in Daytona.. There are 4 major bike events throughout the year.. if Interested I can get you the dates of the others.

P.S. I have a cousin in Raleigh (Law Enforcement) who is eager to get a pair of these boots on his feet and try them out..

Keep up the hard work.
9/21/2011 6:00:13 PM
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