Part Two: Milwaukee Tool, A Solution Partner, Not a Tool Company


By Michael Kirby, Director of Mechanical Trades for Milwaukee Tool

(Continued from Part One)

How the JSS Transformed Milwaukee Tool

In a consultative process, the Job Site Solutions (JSS) team works with local contractors and training centers and the national organizations that support them. We work with the individual contractors to develop and tailor programs based on their individual needs. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We sit down and work together to customize a program for them, which could consist of optimizing efficiency, cost reductions, unique service programs, educational sessions like recruiting, training, safety or financial planning. The options go on.

This JSS team is a major component of Milwaukee Tool’s overall sales organization. We have the traditional sales organization that calls on distribution, to “sell” our products, while the JSS team is 100% focused on providing solutions for the MEP contractor. We don’t sell anything directly to the user, but the work we do makes everything we sell to the user better, because everything we sell is now developed with a deep understanding of what those users need and value.

Our ultimate goal is to convert this customer to Milwaukee. We consider ourselves a solutions provider, and not a tool company.  We work in partnership with our users each and every day. Our goal is to be there to support our them in any capacity. 

The Fruits of Courageous Labor

“As the partnerships grow, so does our market share, our sales and unlike many publicly traded companies, we continually reinvest into our strategy.”

We started transforming our user approach around 2008 or 2009. We made significant investments to R&D, marketing, sales—all functions of the organization to support this process—and we created the JSS team with about eight heads.

Keep in mind what was happening with the economy at this time. We invested heavily while our competition drew back and made cuts. We had the benefit of working with some extremely strategic visionaries that knew when the economy came back, we had to be in a position to support the needs of the MEP contractors. And like every successful process, we have learned over time and refined, reexamined and altered along the way.

By 2012, we were realizing the benefits of this strategy. Contractors were converting to Milwaukee and benefitting from our partnerships. They were referring peers to us and we were seeing significant market share gains. We were seeing such tremendous success that we had to reorganize.

To continue to provide the level of support we touted—after all, we had to do what we said we were going to do—we split our team up to provide targeted strategic support for the Mechanical and Electrical trades with dedicated resources in the form of separate national account managers of each. We also invested in dedicated Market Managers for each vertical in the top markets. This helped provide the bandwidth to support our growing partnerships and the level of attention they require.

We continually analyze our strategy, tweak, gain alignment at all levels and develop the team. By the end of 2018, our JSS team will be more than 100 strong and growing. As the partnerships grow, so does our market share, our sales and unlike many publicly traded companies, we continually reinvest into our strategy.

What's the ROI of partnership? Read about how Milwaukee Tool measures their partnership success in Part Three!

Juli Patty