Electrical Contracting News (ECN) May 2017 - Page 46

SPECIAL FEATURE TOOLS & WORKWEAR BORN IN THE USA, GROWING UP IN EUROPE In January 2015, Klein Tools launched in the UK, bringing its hand tools range to British electrical professionals. In those two years a lot has changed on both sides of the pond, but Malcolm Duncan, managing director at Super Rod, the UK distributor partner for Klein Tools, still has plenty to smile about. Here, he reflects on what lessons have been learned since launching an American brand in the UK, the challenges faced and what the future holds. W hen we launched Klein Tools in 2015, it was really a step into the unknown for us. Klein Tools had a dedicated following in the US, but in the UK it was a complete unknown, a newcomer in a busy marketplace of established tool makers. The UK launch, therefore, has not been without its challenges. One particular learning curve for us has been the discovery that not every product makes an easy transition from the US to the UK market. Take for example screwdrivers; in America, the preference is for electrical installers (or ‘journeymen’ as they are known) to wear gloves on site, which means they like their tools with a chunky, easy to grip handle. In Europe, electrical work is more ‘gloves off’, meaning that handles for tools don’t need to be so big, and comfort and ergonomics are the priorities instead. Klein Tools’ US style screwdrivers unexpectedly split the market here like marmite, with some installers liking the chunky style handles and others not so keen. To overcome this issue, the Super Rod team worked closely with the Klein Tools design team to create a European style slim tip screwdriver, so that installers now have a choice of either a US cushion grip or a more ergonomic handle. Reflecting regional preferences and legislative requirements is part of the ongoing process of developing the Klein Tools product line to best match the needs of a more global customer base. The transition from a mainly North American customer base, to a more global reach is key to Klein’s growth across the world and something we are wholeheartedly embracing. While minor product related issues, such as the screwdriver handle preferences, have been relatively easily overcome thanks to a collaborative approach both sides of the pond and an eagerness to listen to market feedback, there are certainly other challenges facing us which m ^HZHH]H[ܙHوB]YX\X X^H M•H\\X[BܚY]BZ[\YۂX[HܙX]HB]\X[[H[B\ܙ]]\]X•^H] M\HYX\و]X[\]\\\][[HH[ۈHY][و\YX\܈Z[X\][HT[\›XZ[[HRH^]\[[[X[ۈوۘ[[\\œY]]HXH[[^Hو[[\¸$][ܝ[]Y\ˈ[ٝ[KۙB[]]\[\\H\]]HقHٙ\[ۘ[[[\܈]X[]H˂HXZ[[[HH[[œ]X[[\H\ܙX][\[\Z[KX\Hۛ[ۈYXۈ[[]\B[\HX܋[ۙY[H[BXۛ^H\ۜX[ۈڙX\ۜ[Y\[[XܙX\\[H[[XYH^\Y[HHۂ[ܚ܈[XX[[[\[۝Xܜˈ\H\X]܋[HX\[ۂ[HXۛ^H[]H[[\Xۈ\8$˜Y\[ ܚ\\[&]ܚ[\B\[&]^Z[][Z]\]\HY\H[Y]H]8&\[B[K^]X^HH[YBܜ܈HR[]\K]HYX[[\[HTX^HH[[YBˈH[\YZ[\][ۈ\[XYBYۘ[Y]\\H܈\[][ۜ]HR[\[\8&\XY\ۂHXۛ^H[H\[[[[’[ MHZ[˜YܙYYH]K^YX\ۜܜ\X[ܝ0[KœݚYH]˜[][[[B\[[[XX[\[X\\] H[x&\YHYܙY[Y[]ؘ[\\ˈ\[YX[[ܙH]\XBY[ۙ][ۜ܈T\[Y\[ܛZ\[ݙ\\K\[XHۜܜ\]]\H]YHوH]X[X[]][\\\XYHHۙ\H[Z]Y[\X\[Z[X[HR[\[[K[X Hۙ\H[Z]Y[[BX\HY[[H]K^YX\ۜܜ\X[H[[Y][ MKܝ0[KݚYHZ[][][[[H\[[[XX[\[X\\] HYXHZ[Hۜܜ\\™]H\[X\HوHYHœ\[HۈZ\\^HXZ[Bٙ\[ۘ[ [[]\H[HX]Z\Z[[[]H[H^B[ܚ]܈H\وZ\\Y\˂[ݚ[ܝ\\[܈Z[˜\HZ[ۈHܚH]HۙB\[H][[Y\B[Y[[H[ˈ\YX\H\H[[›[ܙH\]XX\]8$X\[ݘ]]H]ܘ\]\Y]\˜[Y\Y8$[\H[[\š]H[H^HYYZ\ܚ™YXY[KY[H[][K