By the numbers: Multi-function tools
Hyde’s 14-in-1 scraper includes four bits hidden in the handle, plus a bottle opener. Black & Decker’s Ready Wrench tackles two bolt sizes on each of its eight swiveling socket heads. Across the hand-tool aisle, manufacturers are packing more product functions in less space. Here, our editors point to notables in a crowded, versatile field:
4-in-1: General Tools Rescue One. Cuts seat belts, breaks windshields and signals for help.
5-in-1: Rapid Shark utility knife combines with a wire stripper, cutter and crimper. Also stores blades.
6-in-1: The Channellock Rescue Tool. The promotional video features firemen and first responders.
7-in-1: Leatherman Skeletool CX. Pliers, wire cutters and various screwdriver bits in a sleek design.
8-in-1: Stanley Fubar Forcible Entry Tool. Fun for prying, splitting and striking, among other things.
9-in-1: Irwin 9-in-1 Multi-Tool Screwdriver. Includes ergonomic ProTouch grip. Bits are stored inside.
10-in-1: Klein Tools screwdriver. Similar to the above.
11-in-1: Swiss Army Knife. Self explanatory.
12-in-1: Sheffield Camper Axe. Has all the basics, plus fish scaler.
13-in-1: See 11-in-1.
14-in-1: Hyde 14-in-1 Painters tool.
15-in-1: Gatco Frog Tool 15-function multi-tool. Wrenches galore.
16-in-1: Black & Decker Ready Wrench. Eight socket heads and infinite angles of attack.
Following up: A woeful year for forecasters
This is the time of year for economic forecasters to stand in front of audiences, speed through their PowerPoint presentations and forecast the macroeconomic future. Prediction: Most of the presentations will be “cautiously optimistic.”
But what ever happened to last year’s forecasts? Home Channel News editors wrote some of them down, and the results again show that 2010 was a difficult year to predict. But that’s not stopping more forecasts for 2011.
• 2010 Forecast: At last year’s International Builders’ Show in January, the National Association of Home Builders, or NAHB, forecast 697,000 total housing starts in 2010.
• 2010 Fact: If December’s data is anything like last year’s, total 2010 starts will be 590,000.
• 2011 Forecast: 708,000 starts.
• 2010 Forecast: The NAHB forecast 610,000 single-family starts.
• 2010 Fact: If December holds to form, the figure will be about 475,000.
• 2011 Forecast: 575,000 single-family starts.
• 2010 Forecast: In November 2009, the National Association of Realtors looked into 2010 and predicted existing-home sales to be 5.69 million in 2010.
• 2010 Fact: Existing-home sales will be about 4.8 million, according to the NAR’s tally.
• 2011 Forecast: The NAR forecast 5.2 million existing-home sales this year.
Orgill puts the O in Oh, Canada
Suddenly, Memphis, Tenn.-based distributor Orgill views itself as a full-blown player in the Canadian market, thanks to a partnership with Canada’s Castle Building Centres. Orgill CEO Ron Beal walked Home Channel News through some of the thought processes that led to the venture.
• The partnership
“We have had a very good working relationship with Castle Building Centres for several years. Orgill and Castle think and operate alike in many ways, especially in our total focus on providing value to the retailer. They are a very knowledgeable, highly efficient and low-cost operation. We hope the same can be said of us.”
• The service
“From a service standpoint, we are very complementary. Castle has strong relationships with very solid, competent retailers. They have excellent programs on building materials and commodity products. Our expertise is in the front of the store: broad product selection, efficient replenishment and the sales and marketing support to help move the product off the shelves.”
• The challenges
“There are significant challenges in servicing Canada from a distribution center located in the U.S. Many are compliance issues related to product: ensuring every item meets Canadian labeling requirements, have the proper code approval, have NAFTA and harmonized codes, just to mention a few. Others relate to documentation and licensing to make sure trucks can expeditiously cross the border and clear customs. None of these are trivial or easy. We have spent a great deal of time and considerable expense to make sure each of these issues has been satisfactorily addressed.”
• The market
“The recent changes in Canadian hardware distribution have made it necessary for a significant number of Canadian retailers to re-examine supplier relationships. After much analysis and consultation, we, together with the Castle management, determined that all of the key components were now in place to provide world-class distribution services to Canadian retailers.”