ToughBuilt Industries, Inc. $TBLT Other Considerations
According to Trademo dot com, ToughBuilt may be moving some of their manufacturing from China to a split of India and Vietnam. Vietnam for the metal goods.
I wonder if this is why sawhorse shipments have been down and inventory is out of stock across retail channels? Maybe this is a supplier transition issue? We wait and see, since we want to buy a pair of C700s or C650s.
We also saw the importation of steel products into ToughBuilt Mexico, and the export to Australia. I wonder if ToughBuilt is trying to build, final assemble, or source some products near-shore? Could have been a custom job? Either way, I like the moxie.
This one, TOUGHBUILT StackTech® Mobile Organization System, is on the ToughBuilt YouTube channel.
There are so many others, and now ToughBuilt is making YouTube shorts, and they are on other social media platforms too.
- North America seems well covered.
- South America: starting in early 2023, Sodimac Homecenter will carry 15 SKUs in-store, and 23 SKUs in the Sodimac Homecenter online marketplace. We checked and found many products listed on the Falabella.com online store, that are priced and sold in US Dollars.Some are sold by the 'hardware store' and others by the 'equipment rental' business. We looked in one hardware store in Brazil, but that is not an easy search in Portuguese. ToughBuilt products include bags, ClipTech belts, many pouches and clips / accessories, also steel saw horses (steel stands), aviation snips (scissors), knee pads (4 SKUs), levels, brackets, a titanium coated knife with sheath, saws, a tool tote bag, Massive Mouth tool bags, and the products look great. Prices are higher than Chicago, but that is likely due to import tariffs, free shipping, and the like.
- United Kingdom has a regional sales manager who is calling on stores in the U.K. and European Union. I saw a closed 2nd job posting for London recently. In August 2023, ToughBuilt announced agreements to distribute products through both Howdens UK and City Electrical Factors UK, which combined includes 1200 locations. Those companies are UK joinery, kitchen, hardware, and electrical suppliers.
- European Union: the French retailer, La Platforme Du Batiment (67 depots) and French and Spanish retailer Prolians (290 storefronts) announced they will carry ToughBuilt products in August 2023. These two retailers serve the professional trades, with a combined 600,000 customers.
Michael Panosian, Chief Executive Officer of ToughBuilt, commented, “We are thrilled to build relationships with these highly regarded and retail distributors in the United Kingdom, and further expand our network into new professional-focused storefronts in the United Kingdom. We continue to grow our distribution worldwide, accessing additional new revenue streams with careful steps to build greater shareholder value.”
Product 1: Wrenches
We read that in January 2023 ToughBuilt rolled out a new line of Handheld Wrenches, including adjustable wrenches, construction wrenches, and pipe wrenches. In total, there are 20 SKUs. We have not seen any wrenches in our due diligence, and they only appear on a ToughBuilt website. Lowe's does list an 'out of stock' adjustable wrench today (02/06/2024), but has 35 vendors for wrenches so the customer likely will keep shopping. The top 5 vendors listed by Lowe's have a total of over 1,000 wrench SKUs.
We never did find a wrench at Lowe's, nor on Amazon. However, while searching we saw other great ToughBuilt products.
Product line 2: Pliers and Clamps were announced by ToughBuilt in February, 2023. Never saw them, and when we searched we realize how crowded this space is. Pliers: 32 vendors at Lowe's. Clamps: 23 vendors at Lowe's and more than half on Amazon.
We did not find a ToughBuilt pliers or clamp for purchase, and we personally need both of them for the Honey Dew list. They do look good, like tools I would buy if I could find them in Chicagoland stores.
I suppose that these products are designed, ready for production, and likely on hold until either inventory dollars free up, a key vendor says 'yes, I'll stock them' or once attention can be diverted from the other, more critical activities. I feel badly for the design and sourcing teams.
Vietnam is proving to be a lower cost option for manufacturing than China based on research we are reading from 2022 and 2023. Vietnam is best known for manufacturing athletic shoes and Apple products, but it is also known for technology and hard-goods manufacturing. Vietnam is seeing growth in its national manufacturing GDP, and is making investments in education.
Here are a few, brief articles that demonstrate why Vietnam is gaining ground on China for manufacturing.
"All of our products are designed and engineered in the United States and manufactured in China, India and the Philippines under our quality control supervision."
There is no mention of Vietnam. We see India (supported by import data), and now we see the Philippines (for the first time).