American Standard CEO joins LIXIL board
Piscataway, New Jersey-based American Standard Brands President and CEO Jay Gould was appointed to the board of directors of American Standard’s parent company, LIXIL Corporation.
Gould joined American Standard Brands in January 2012.
Over the course of the next 18 months, according to the company’s announcement, Gould executed a plan that quadrupled the company’s EBITA, grew sales by 10 percent and improved gross margins by 700 basis points.
Prior to American Standard, Gould was president of the Home and Family Group of Newell Rubbermaid. Preceding Newell Rubbermaid, Gould held senior executive roles at the Campbell Soup Company, the Coca-Cola Company and General Mills.
LIXIL Group Corporation, the largest housing and building materials company in Japan, engages in a broad spectrum of housing businesses, ranging from the manufacture and sales of building materials and housing equipment to the operation of home centers and a network of homebuilding franchises.
Craftsman builds on tool assortment
Craftsman is one of the biggest names in tools. It’s also one of the busiest.
This year, the Illinois-based brand of Sears — and also sold in Ace Hardware stores — has been working on expanding its existing product categories like lithium-ion-battery-powered tools and hand tools while making a foray into newer territory.
One of the places Craftsman is expanding its cordless tools is with its Bolt-On series of products, aimed at the light-to-medium DIY demographic. The foundation of Bolt-On is a Lithium-Ion battery-powered base that comes out of the box with a drill/driver attachment. Now, the company is releasing several new attachments to expand the versatility of Bolt-On, including an impact wrench, a cutter and thin-gauge metal shears. For the gardener with a Bolt-On unit, it’s also releasing hedge trimmers and a shearing attachment.
There are also several new products with Craftsman’s C3 line of battery-powered tools. Alongside a couple of Bluetooth-enabled speakers — one of which can also charge a battery if plugged in — are some new tools such as the cordless finishing nail gun and the cordless miter saw, which weighs in at about 20 pounds.
This year, Craftsman has been changing well-known hand tool designs in the interest of efficiency, especially with its MACH Series tools, the cornerstone of which has been its drive ratchet, which combines a push-twist screwdriver with a ratchet head. In May, Craftsman launched a 53-piece ratchet set, and plans to release an 83-piece set in November that includes the ratchet, the MACH crankshaft bit driver and a MACH adjustable wrench. The MACH wrenches were released alongside the drive ratchet, and have their own ratcheting movement, which means not having to reposition the wrench with each turn.
Beyond the MACH series is Craftsman’s 2-in-1 series, which features cutters that, after flipping one of the handles, transform into pliers. There are currently two 2-in-1 hand tools, a combination of long nose and diagonal pliers and a linesman plier and wire stripper.
Craftsman has been trying to break into the apparel market beyond the work wear that it already makes. In October, the brand will release a 12-volt battery-powered, heated jacket that will require consumers to buy the battery and charger separately. In the fall, Craftsman is planning to also release hooded sweatshirts, baseball caps and wool caps, expanding on the six t-shirts they released ahead of Father’s Day this year.
Sunrun and celebrity teammates double down on connected home
In an effort to boost awareness of connected home and its widereaching influence, San Francisco-based solar company Sunrun is partnering up with home design expert Genvieve Gorder, as well as Drew and Jonathan Scott of Property Brothers fame.
Their thesis? That the rise of smart home technology is making its mark not just on energy consumption and functionality, but also home design and property value. The informed homeowner can use this to his advantage, whether that means building more equity or simply optimizing his home.
"Today, we find ourselves making dinner from a recipe on our tablets and measuring our heart rate and footsteps with a bracelet," said Gorder. "Cultural and societal shifts have shaped style trends for decades, and this is no exception. We will see connected technology continue to play a significant role in how we style and design the spaces around us. I’m so excited to be joining Sunrun to inspire everyone to make simple changes to create a sleeker, ‘smarter’ home."
There are also potential prizes involved. Through July 11, homeowners can put their names in the drawing for a chance to meet Gorder or the Scott brothers for a one-on-one home design consultation.
"The value of your home is influenced by a variety of factors, both inside and outside," said Jonathan Scott. "My brother and I are joining Sunrun this summer to show homeowners how easy improvements can also save you money or increase your home’s value. As an example, one thing to consider with the connected technology movement is all that needs to plug in and charge!"