Federated Co-operatives Ltd

The Power of Partnership: Driving Success with Federated Co-op Gas Bar Rebrand

One of the 500 largest companies in Canada - Federated Co-operatives Limited provides procurement and distribution to more than 160 independently owned local co-operative associations. These local co-ops own and operate agro centres, food stores, gas bars, convenience stores and home centres across Western Canada.
Our relationship with Co-op spans three decades, during which time we have collaborated on hundreds of projects, supporting their growth across different sectors. This long-standing partnership showcases our deep understanding of Federated Co-op's unique vision and our commitment to delivering high-quality services that meet their diverse needs. Our shared history is defined by successful collaborations and mutual growth, we're proud to be part of Co-op's journey as one of Western Canada's largest companies.
When Federated Co-op approached us in early 2022 with the opportunity to help them rebrand 170 soon to be acquired fuel stations across Western Canada, in the span of 18 months, we knew we'd need to formulate a tight game plan, and execute it efficiently to ensure success. We were confident in our procedures, but a project of this size and timelines had no room for error.

The Challenge

The scope and scheduling of this project would require delivery of up to 4 full sites per week. This ambitious goal required a significant portion of our manufacturing capacity and necessitated innovative approaches to ensure we could continue serving our existing customers.

The project entailed a comprehensive team effort from every department in our company. Our Project Management team oversaw every detail from start to finish.
Design & Drafting handled brand assets and site signage options. Logistics managed the extensive material requirements and demanding shipping schedules. Finance provided the necessary flexibility to handle increased purchasing and invoicing. Lastly, Manufacturing needed to ramp up operations and find efficiencies in order to meet the sustained high-demand turnaround times.

Project Management

Our Project Management team meticulously prepared for this project months in advance of the work commencing at our manufacturing facilities. We conducted weekly risk assessment meetings for key team members, which later transitioned into status report meetings as the project progressed. We carefully vetted a vast network of installation and survey agents capable of handling the project's scope and demanding timelines. In addition, we engaged third-party permitting specialists to alleviate some of the pressure from our team.

Design & Drafting

Our Design & Drafting departments encountered unique challenges during this project. Since the sites were previously occupied by another fuel brand, a standard Co-op signage package was not suitable. To address this, we collaborated with the Federated Co-op team and developed three retrofit sign packages based on the traffic volume of each site. Additionally, we utilized Google Street View to create preliminary site designs. This was necessary because completing surveys for all 170 sites within the given timeline would not have allowed us enough time to prepare site design packages before manufacturing had to commence.
To expedite the modelling process, our drafting team developed a series of fillable PDFs that automatically calculate dimensions and other build details for pylon and canopy signage. This innovation allowed them to process a far greater number of drawings than previously capable. Leveraging such technology greatly reduced manual entry errors and ensured that each unique site's specifications were met with precision and efficiency, significantly contributing to the project's overall success.

Logistics

This project kicked off during an unprecedented period of supply chain issues. The lingering effects of the pandemic as well as a widescale adhesive shortage due to ice storms in Texas resulted in difficulties sourcing and securing the necessary materials. However, our procurement team put in relentless effort to secure stock or alternative products for us. After the completion of manufacturing for each site, our shipping team collaborated with multiple transport companies to consolidate and coordinate shipments across Western Canada, ensuring the lowest possible shipping costs for our valued customer.

Manufacturing

Our manufacturing team recognized early on that meeting the demanding production schedule for the project would require not just hard work, but also smart work. To maximize efficiency, they turned to Lean manufacturing principles, which focus on minimizing waste without sacrificing productivity. They systematically analyzed and refined their processes, ensuring that every step added value to the end product. Moreover, through extensive cross-training, team members became proficient in multiple roles, which allowed for greater workforce flexibility and responsiveness to the ebbs and flows of production demands.
The onboarding of new staff was accelerated through targeted training, getting them up to speed rapidly and effectively. Finally, the team was not afraid to innovate; they actively explored and integrated new build techniques that allowed for faster assembly with no compromise on quality. This multifaceted approach not only allowed our manufacturing team to keep pace but also set a new bar for excellence in our operational capacity.

The Sign Package

In our collaboration with Federated Co-op, we were tasked with developing sign packages that were not only cost-effective but also immediately identifiable as either a Co-op gas station or Tempo Gas Bar. It was imperative that the new designs allowed for the repurposing of as much existing signage as possible to mitigate costs and waste. To this end, we created a range of options catered to the specific traffic levels at each site, ensuring each location received a tailored solution that maintained brand consistency while optimizing visibility and impact.

Building signs

Consistent with all of Co-op's sites, these sign packages prominently feature the channel letters and letter signs. For the main convenience store signage, we designed an attractive backer panel to cover the old signage panels, allowing us to mount the Co-op shield or Tempo logo sign. For lower traffic sites, we opted for a flex fascia sign that aligns with brand standards. Sites offering car wash services also received a channel letter or fascia package to direct traffic and tie in with the c-store signage.

Pylon Refurbishing

For the pylon signs, we refurbished the existing structural columns and cladding, focusing on creating custom inserts tailored to match the services provided by each FCL site, as well as to correspond seamlessly with the existing fixtures. This approach, while time-consuming, ensured a premium final product by preserving the integrity of the original design elements. Furthermore, by repurposing existing materials, we minimized the installation time on site—a win for both sustainability and efficiency.

Fuel Canopies

When it came to the fuel canopies, our gas canopy solutions represented the least departure from the standard CO-OP or Tempo gas bars. We continued to employ Federated Co-op's typical flex cabinet design, but we introduced a newly developed aluminum composite (ACM) corner piece for lower traffic sites, which streamlined the construction process while ensuring design continuity. 
Notably, due to the large volume of material required for the numerous sites, we established a partnership with our vendors to develop custom pre-coloured flex materials to match Co-op Red and Tempo Blue. This strategic move significantly reduced material usage and manufacturing time, allowing us to maintain an accelerated project timeline.

Results

The successful completion of a project of this magnitude requires a lot of planning and hard work. More importantly, it also requires an efficient, cooperative partnership with our customer. We're grateful for our history with Federated Co-operatives Limited, proud to have been a part of this project, and we're looking forward to many more in the future!

The collaboration between Selkirk Signs and Federated Co-operatives Limited exemplifies how tailored solutions and strategic partnerships can yield outstanding results in large-scale projects. The success of the signage overhaul for Co-op and Tempo gas bars has not only solidified the relationship between the two entities but has also set a benchmark for future endeavors. Through innovation, dedication, and a shared vision, both Selkirk Signs and Federated Co-op have demonstrated that embracing custom designs and leveraging mutual strengths leads to not just fulfilling project requirements, but also in exceeding expectations with a signature of excellence.

We at Selkirk Signs take immense pride in the results achieved and remain committed to providing top-tier service and quality in all our future projects.
I want to extend my gratitude to the Selkirk Signs team for their outstanding dedication and efforts throughout our Husky conversion project. This past year has been filled with challenges and frustrations, but ultimately, it led us to success. The Selkirk team's ability to handle our complex plans and turn them into reality is truly commendable.

Selkirk Signs has been a trusted partner to Federated Co-operatives Limited for over a decade, providing exterior signs for our facilities. Their unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and collaboration has served us well in all our endeavors, from large-scale acquisitions to smaller projects. They have consistently delivered services and signs that we are proud to display on our buildings.

JUSTIN BOSER

Manager - Facilities Design & Dev

Capabilities Used

Project Management
Permits
Design & Drafting
Sign Installation
Manufacturing
Logistics
We believe the same quality and integrity that went into creating your brand should be put into displaying it; from design and manufacturing, to installation and maintenance, we want to elevate your brand and get it noticed in the marketplace.

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