Large tool companies get traded faster than fictional real estate printed on cardboard; we know this. The latest press release on January 18 says this deal between Chang Type Industrial Co. Ltd. and Stanley Black & Decker for Delta closes Feb. 4th — we know this too. That’s all fine and dandy. The problem is we (the consumer) are often caught in the crossfire, and our tools suffer for it.
The resulting Delta company from the deal will be consolidated with the manufacturing, R&D, engineering, sales, and administrative functions in Anderson County, South Carolina, and be led by Bryan Whiffen and Norm MacDonald who have heavy-weight clout and experience in the field with Ryobi, Homelite, Milwaukee, and Ridgid. We also know that Biesemeyer accessories and Unisaw are going to keep a made-in-the-USA label as well. So why is it being sold again? What’s the mindset of the folks behind this, and what’s their plan?
Let’s say you’re Stanley Black & Decker. You have one of, if not the, largest consolidated U.S.-based tool manufacturing companies around. Where do you go to trim the fat in an intelligent way? How about a brand that, compared to your now-massive lineup of skews, is rather niche but would be attractive to a potential buyer, one that you might already have some duplication of inside the company. Suddenly, Delta pops up on the list.
Of course Delta isn’t tiny — they design/build/ship and support loads of tools every year. However, when stacked up against screwdrivers, tape measures, and cordless drills, the small but loyal specialty-woodworker market isn’t something Stanley Black & Decker wanted to pursue with the Delta brand name. Even though they’re smack-dab in the space with other brands under their moniker, Delta obviously isn’t something Stanley sees growing in the same direction as the rest of the company.
We caught up with some of the folks in the know to ask a couple questions and see how the wind was blowing over that way. What we took away from it was about what you might expect, but did give us one or two tidbits.
We asked who exactly they plan to target with the resulting new and improved Delta power tool company. Their response:
Delta will continue to focus on the higher end of the woodworking market – the serious DIY woodworker to the high-end commercial woodworker, such as cabinet makers and furniture makers.
No surprises there, but it was comforting they didn’t say something like, “…we plan to go completely digital and start supplying underwater band saws to deep sea divers” or something to that effect. “We make woodworking tools and we’re going after woodworkers.” Might we add, Bra-vo. You’d be surprised how often the previous mission statement isn’t in the resulting marketing material after a sale like this goes down.
We know about the heavy stuff like Unisaw and Biesemeyer, but is Delta going keep the whole line of tools they have, including the smaller run products?
With regard to smaller run products, during the next 6-8 months the new Delta Power Equipment Team has plans for thoroughly evaluating the full line of products that Delta currently offers. During that process, they will use a combination of previous sell-through data, market needs and customer feedback to determine the product mix going forward, including new offerings and new innovation.
In case you’re wondering, that’s corporate for no. Not a bad thing really, but if it doesn’t sell and there isn’t a burning need for it to be in the catalog, you’d better pick up that little-known Delta tool you’ve been wanting soon.
To us the picture as a whole looks overwhelmingly pro-consumer. If you like Delta, the plan is, at least in the short term, to keep the folks who build your product hard at work building your product. If you’re looking for more innovation you’re going to see some roll off the line in a few years. Add to that the face the entire business unit will be located in a cohesive unit here in the states, and it’s all sounding pretty positive. As with all things of this nature, only time will tell. We look forward to seeing what they come up with.
Delta Machinery [Website]