As competition continues to hot up across the tools sector, Kiran Grewal speaks to Ian Styles from Axminster Tools and Matt Rockliff of Toolstation about what they think is driving the market and how best to shape a tool offer.


s the market develops and the needs and wants of those looking for the right tool changes, companies

must adjust its business model to represent a versatile range of products that also cater to different groups of people. As Nick Offerman says in the

foreward of the tool-lover’s guide, ‘The Tool Book’: “I am finding it easier to comprehend the reason that I find an adze every bit as compelling as Gandalf’s magic

24 DIY WEEK 01 JUNE 2018

sword Glamdring. It’s because both carry the deep wisdom of true handcraft. Through the painstaking centuries of trial and error on the part of man and womankind, these clever sticks have been imbued with the cumulative, arcane intelligence of the generations of hands that perfected their forms, and thereby, their uses.” A huge part of a successful business is the passion for the products, and this includes the variety of methods and strategic practices, which allows the company to thrive. Independent tool specialist Axminster Tools and

multiple operator, Toolstation tell DIY Week how they implement successful strategies that have seen their two very different businesses flourish in recent years. Product development director at Axminster Tools & Machinery, Ian Styles says: “Yes, there has been increasing competition in the tools and machinery sector. However, we’ve experienced growth,” he says. “This is due to our innovative approach to products, with particular emphasis on quality and some of the new exclusive brands we have introduced, such as Bridge City and the continued development of our UJK Technology brand. “We have

over 14,000 SKUs

on our website covering a huge variety of tools and machines. Our main focus is on our own brands and supplying the customer with quality products. We

have an

innovative product development/ design team and manufacture some

of our own brand products here at our premises in Axminster. We are targeting woodworkers, furniture makers and those who appreciate quality products.” Toolstation buying manager for power tools, Matt Rockliff says the tool range is built around the customer’s need; making sure the product is suitable for the job in hand. He explains: “It can be about location; where is the customer working? Do they have access to a power supply, or are they working remotely?

“Performance – what is the customer drilling/cutting/sanding? Do we have products suitable for all applications and will the product withstand the frequency demands of the trade customer?” Matt also describes of

importance the endurance, and

looking into the duration of use of the tool to make sure the battery capacity is sufficient, as

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