Professional tool brands have been increasing their USA footprint in recent years, with expansion in R&D, manufacturing, and service efforts.
There are not many new developments, but I thought it would be helpful for a consolidated post that looks at major professional tool brands’ current and recent activities.
The importance of domestic expansion efforts can vary, depending on the context as well as individual perspectives. But, generally, such efforts ultimately beneficially contribute towards tool users’ experiences.
At the least, “make it where you sell it” policies can help ease supply chain and freight disruptions. “Design, engineer, and manage the product where you sell it” has other benefits.
Stanley Black & Decker
As I reported in May, Stanley Black & Decker has been making progress on their Forth Worth, Texas factory.
The factory is expected to manufacture mechanics tool sets for Stanley Black & Decker’s Craftsman brand, at the least, with the first tools expected to ship to retailers shortly.
I very strongly believe we will see some Dewalt tools come out of this factory as well, but that remains to be seen. It is unlikely that we will see broad Dewalt offerings, but it would be a missed opportunity if nothing is planned.
Stanley Black & Decker is going through a leadership transition right now, and they’ve also been hit hard by current economic conditions. We might not see many additional expansion efforts in the near future.
Stanley Black & Decker acquired a cadre of outdoor power tool brands in mid-2021, after owning a 20% stake in 2019.
The company typically does not publicize their internal upgrade or expansion efforts, but they have surely has been working on reinvestment and manufacturing tech advancement projects, and so they have not necessarily been idle.
Milwaukee recently announced new R&D offices in Chicago. At the recent Pipeline 2022 media event, Milwaukee Tool group president Steven Richman affirmed the company’s intent to further expand their USA footprint.
Milwaukee has also recently announced construction on their newest facility in Grenada County, Mississippi, with the expansion intended to accommodate the company’s growing power tool accessories and power tool business, and also serve as a centralized repair facility. The new location will create more than 800 new jobs, and is planned to open in mid-2023.
Another new Milwaukee manufacturing facility, which was announced in 2020, is also nearing completion. The West Bend, Wisconsin facility will manufacture new-to-market hand tools for professional electricians and utility linemen.
Towards the end of 2017, Milwaukee employed over 3,500 people in the USA. Now, 4-1/2 years later, Milwaukee employs over 10,000 people in the USA.
I asked Milwaukee Tool if this is accurate, as a 3-fold increase in US jobs in a little over 4 years is quite the feat. Here’s what they said:
Milwaukee Tool employs more than 10,000 people in the U.S. In the last year we’ve hired nearly 3,000 people. In fact, we’ve increased our U.S. workforce by 7x in the last decade.
Richman pledged to create more USA jobs and expand Milwaukee Tool’s domestic tool production efforts, and it looks like Milwaukee Tool has been doing exactly that.
Last year Makita USA announced a a land purchase outside of Atlanta, GA.
We asked for more details, and Makita USA’s communication manager said:
All we can say at this point is that the land was purchased for planned future expansion. We have no further details to offer at this time.
Details about a new building later became public:
this new facility will further increase our operations, service, and training capabilities.
It is unknown whether Makita USA completed their new office building yet.
I recently contacted Makita USA upper management, asking for updated information on any domestic expansion projects the company might be working on, but they never responded.
What Jobs are Tool Brands Hiring For?
Brands’ job boards can sometimes signal completion stages of major expansion projects, such as when a factory is built and new engineer and technician jobs are created.
I also always find it illuminating to see what types of careers and job positions different tool brands have available, and this goes beyond the companies mentioned here.
Which brands are hiring design researchers, manufacturing engineers, technicians, product managers, tool and die makers, motor engineers, project leaders, quality techs, and so forth?
And which brands are mainly hiring sales representatives?
Brands will put out all kinds of marketing and corporate messages, but watch their job boards for an extended period of time, and you’ll see if what they do matches what they say.