Mac Tools annual Tool Fair celebrates 25 years of success with a roadmap toward continued growth

March 7, 2017
The company places priorities on launching new, innovative products, providing extensive training, and plans to focus on franchisee support and growth.

More than 2,000 attendees, including 900 franchisees and their guests, gathered for the 2017 Mac Tools Tool Fair at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 22-24.

International franchisees were also in attendance, with distributors traveling from the U.K., Japan and Puerto Rico.

Again this year, the annual three-day event allowed attendees the opportunity to meet with product managers, engineers, manufacturers, as well as participate in training, prize giveaways and social events.

With the theme “Tuned Up,” attendees heard about new products and sales opportunities at the kickoff of the show. Other events included the annual “Macademy Awards” dinner Friday evening, where the company recognized the top distributors of 2016.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also greeted attendees during the show’s kickoff meeting, welcoming guests to the city and sharing some history and attractions.

Mac Tools President Brett Shaw says the company delivered another record year in sales and recruitment, making this the seventh consecutive year of growth.

Thoughts behind the theme

While the “Tuned Up” theme was a natural fit based on the location and the affiliation with the automotive industry - tuning up an instrument, or tuning up a car - after additional consideration, Shaw says there were thoughtful reasons behind the phrase.

Shaw says the theme aligned well with the company’s minor adjustments to business operations and Tool Fair show layout, planning and usefulness to attendees. These changes allow for continued improvement upon the experience and to help distributors get the most out of their show, he adds.

“As we’re making minor changes to our strategy, our vision hasn’t really changed in the last six years,” Shaw says. And, he adds, “this event is for (the franchisees) to get their businesses tuned up for the year.”

In addition, as the show increases in size – an emphasis was placed on evaluating the layout and organization of the show floor.

“As we continue to grow, this event will only get bigger,” Shaw says. “The intent is to give the distributors the experience to use the tools, have more training, provide more business training - this is a major event, we have to work with our franchisees to ensure they are maximizing their time while they are here.”

While more extensive training classes were still available to attendees, investments this year also included more training on the show floor.

“We decided to do more training in the booths. You see the diagnostics on the show floor, you see the power tools (demonstrations), and we’ll continue to do that. There are so many products at Tool Fair, we have to provide the proper training and exposure so they are ready to sell them when they return to the running of their businesses after the show.”

Top company priorities

Shaw confirmed there are two main priorities for Mac Tools: adding more innovative products across multiple categories, as well as cultivating and aggressively expanding the company’s mobile tool franchise network.

According to Shaw, Mac Tools has ramped up production on products, launching more than 1,000 product SKUs in 2016. Add to that nearly 300 products launched at the 2017 Mac Tools Fair, available in the first quarter of 2017 alone, the company is on target to meet or surpass last year’s new product launches.

(View a photo gallery and get more information about the new product launches at the 2017 Mac Tools Tool Fair.)

In addition to introducing more product to market, Mac Tools continues to focus on manufacturing products in our own facilities and bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

“We’re investing in our operations to drive innovation, quality and delivery,” says Shaw.

That goal is in progress, proven by the launch of the MB198UC tool carts manufactured and assembled in the U.S., as well as the production of the BWP151 impact now made in the U.S. – both highlighted at this year’s Tool Fair.

Mac Tools also broadened its field resources programs available to distributors with the expansion of its Toolbox Truck program and launch of its Diagnostic Specialist program. These separate category-dedicated trucks – supporting tool storage and scan tools, respectively – aim to serve larger territories and provide support to distributors. These specialized trucks would join distributors on their routes to expose end users to the products.

In terms of future outlook for the organization, Shaw confirms Mac Tools is receiving strong support from their parent company, Stanley Black & Decker, with the intent to accelerate growth through new products innovation, operational excellence and increasing franchise value.

“At Stanley Black & Decker and Mac Tools, we have an insatiable appetite to be number one, and that takes a lot of hard work - it takes product, people, systems, operations and great franchisees in order for us to win,” says Shaw.

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