Global Industry Overview: Hand Tools and Hardware
The hand tool industry manufactures tools for metalworking, woodworking, and general maintenance. Among the many tools produced by companies in this category are axes, drill bits, blow torches, c-clamps, hammers, hand clamps, handsaws, glass cutters, chisels, files, spades, can openers, garden hand tools, hay forks, machetes, screwdrivers, hatchets, jewelers' hand tools, mallets, saw blades, wrenches, trowels, and yardsticks.
Despite its low profile and mature markets, the hand tools and hardware industry has been one of the most consistently successful industries in the world. Less susceptible to recessions and economic fluctuations than many other industries, toolmakers achieved steady growth throughout the 1990s. However, the economic climate of the 2000s challenged the industry, leading to plant closures and layoffs. By 2003, for example, Snap-on Inc. had closed two of its four manufacturing plants, which had both been in operation for more than 65 years. The outlook for the industry appeared brighter heading into the next decade. As economic conditions began to improve, so did the demand for hand tools, prompting leaders like Stanley Black & Decker to increase hiring.