Milwaukee Tool’s new product line a validation of local investments, company president says

“For us it continues to be grow or die.”

Milwaukee Tool entered the light equipment market Thursday with the launch of its new MX Fuel system, a new product line that company president Steve Richman said helps validate the decision to invest in the company’s Brookfield campus.

“For us it continues to be grow or die,” Richman said. “We believe that we need to stay in front of the curve, deliver those solutions that help drive productivity and safety on the job.”

The new product line includes battery-powered versions of six pieces of equipment, including a cut-off saw, demolition hammer, handheld core drill, tower light, power supply and a sewer drum machine.

“There’s major breakthroughs in every single product,” Richman said.

He added the company sought to address job-site safety issues and eliminate the need for cords or gas. The line included new developments in battery, electronic and motor technologies, along with a focus on making it forward and backward compatible.

Milwaukee Tool’s previous product lines focused primarily on power and hand tools.

“We’re just following the strategy that we defined 13 years ago, which is how do we deliver productivity and safety solutions on the job towards our core users,” Richman said. “If we can find a way to be able to innovate that and leverage technology, then we will continue to expand in new opportunities. That’s what led us into the equipment space.”

Milwaukee Tool has grown dramatically over the past decade, adding hundreds of employees and undertaking two major expansions. Joe Galli Jr., chief executive officer of Techtronic Industries, Milwaukee Tool’s Hong Kong-based parent company, told investors earlier this year the company is still just getting started.

Galli said the company would continue to see 20% revenue growth for the next three years, putting it on pace for nearly $6.5 billion in sales by the end of 2021.

Much of Milwaukee Tool’s growth has been fueled by engineering and product development work at its Brookfield campus, where the company has invested more than $53 million, according to state records. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is supporting the company’s expansion with up to $26 million in tax credits.

“This is a great example of why, at Milwaukee, we believe that culture and people are the bookends that drive everything,” Richman said. “The ability to be able to recruit and retain and invest in talent, if we don’t have the best people, the most talented people in the world working on these kinds of programs, we can’t deliver MX fuel.”

He said the company continues to invest in its facilities but the efforts to recruit talent also benefit from the city of Milwaukee’s growth.

“When we bring talent, number one, to the city of Milwaukee today, you compare the city where it was 13 years ago to where it is today and the opportunity for people to see (Fiserv Forum), people to go to the Third Ward, people to go to the downtown area and see the change that has occurred and the talent, when they visit those locations, it’s a dramatic change. That’s a real asset,” Richman said.

 

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.