A screwdriver designed to increase turns
When a product reinvents a tool as basic and time-tested as the screwdriver, it’s worthy of an endcap.
That’s the thinking of Lowe’s and other retailers that are promoting the new Black & Decker GYRO as the “world’s first motion-activated screwdriver.”
Introduced in October, the GYRO 4V MAX Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Screwdriver is expected to play well in the gift-giving season, according to Black & Decker executives. And it is particularly well suited for the video-game generation, they say. In Stanley Black & Decker’s most recent earnings statement, the launch of the Gyro — along with Matrix products — was credited with pushing organic sales up 4%.
“We’re taking a technology people are familiar with using in motion-sensing video games, smartphones and even toy helicopters, and using it in a new and innovative way to create a unique power tool,” said Matt Nestorick, product manager for consumer power tools at Black & Decker.
The tool’s utility is bolstered by variable speed capability — more twist equals more torque — and a built-in LED light. The MSRP is about $40.
A video on the Lowe’s endcap demonstrates the product benefits, which can be summed up simply: 1.) Hold the product; 2.) Turn to the right to activate forward motor; and 3.) Turn to the left to activate reverse motor. An actual gyroscope in the tool knows which way to engage.
Brand Building: Ingersoll Rand
Ingersoll Rand is a $14 billion global manufacturer with broad holdings, from Club Car golf carts to Schlage home security products to Trane air conditioning systems. These semi-related holdings allow IR to say, rather loftily, that the company “advances the quality of life by creating and sustaining safe, comfortable and efficient environments.”
The company made another lofty claim during its investor presentations: Of 2011 revenues, $3.5 billion were generated from innovations introduced in the previous three years. But here’s something the company hasn’t tried before: selling its tools through the retail channel. That’s changing with the company’s new EDGE Series Air tools.
Before EDGE, IR brand tools were available through a mobile tool jobber or a Fastenal-like distributor. The Ingersoll Rand brand has been around more than 100 years, but not at traditional retail. And the company is going to market with the message that, if it’s good for the pros, then it’s gotta be good for the heavy DIYer.
“Every tool goes through the same rigorous testing process that our professional tools go through,” said Ashley Andrews, commercial product leader. “And they all offer the same ergonomic design for comfort and reduced operator fatigue.”
The EDGE Series tools are currently sold at Northern Tool and Equipment, Tractor Supply Co., Rural King, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Amazon.com, among others.
The EDGE Series contains 25 different models of bolting, cutting, painting and finishing tools.
“One surprise we’ve seen is the demand for spray guns in the retail channel,” Andrews said. “And the 259G ¾-in. impact wrench is one of our best sellers, which is unique because it’s a very large, heavy-duty tool.”
The Pro Dealer of the Year: A primer
During a ceremony at the ProDealer Industry Conference in Savannah, Ga., Boise, Idaho-based BMC received the HCN Pro Dealer of the Year award. Here are the facts behind the award and the 2012 ceremony.
The award criteria
The HCN Pro Dealer of the Year Award is presented annually to a lumber and building material dealer based on three main criteria: high performance, innovation and corporate behavior that reflects the values of the LBM industry.
The Pro Dealer of the Year selection process begins with analysis of the HCN Top 200 Pro Dealer Scoreboard, which shows sales performance of the nation’s leading lumberyard dealers.
BMC’s selection as 2012 Pro Dealer of the Year coincides with the pro dealer’s 25th anniversary. It was spun out of Boise Cascade in 1987.
The 2012 ceremony marked the first time the award was given to a company that descended directly from a previous honoree. Building Material Holding Co. (BMHC), the former parent of BMC West and Select Build, received the Pro Dealer of the Year award in 2005.
BMC was recognized during the 2012 ProDealer Industry Summit held in Savannah, Ga. The summit is co-sponsored by HCN and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association. The 2013 event is scheduled to take place in Nashville, Tenn.
The honoree’s charitable cause
BMC is a major supporter of Light the Night for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The pro dealer’s employees raised about $175,000 in 2012, largely through volunteering for Light the Night Walks in virtually every market. BMC is one of the top five corporate sponsors of Light the Night.
Weyerhaeuser’s Larry Burrows, senior VP residential wood products, introduced BMC CEO Peter Alexander. “I don’t need to tell the people in this room how difficult it is to change and transform your business; to think, to act and to execute differently,” Burrows said. “We’ve all been doing that and living that over the years. The work that Peter and that the BMC team here have been doing and continue to do is a wonderful example of that transformation.“
The acceptance speech
“As part of our 25th anniversary, in every single branch, we recommitted to our values, we celebrated our success and survival, and we celebrated the people who got us here,” Alexander said. “It’s ultimately a people business. It’s not about me, it’s not about our group here, it’s about the people who work their tails off out in the yards, the drivers, the front line to our customer — who deliver happily through rain, sleet, snow and heat. It’s our pickers, it’s our truss and wall production lines that never settle for less than 100% accuracy as we say in the halls — ‘every damn day.’ And it’s our sales force and our credit teams and our operations teams that execute every day.”