2010s

2010s - Today

Runways for Growth

Snap-on is positioned for the future with favorable vehicle population trends, increasing vehicle complexity, growing demand in emerging markets and significant opportunities in industries outside of vehicle repair.

To capitalize on these opportunities, we are investing strategically in these wide runways for growth in order to reach more professionals:

  • Enhance the franchise network to reach more vehicle repair technicians
  • Expand in the garage with shop owners and managers
  • Extend to critical industries outside of vehicle repair
  • Build in emerging markets

2000s

2000s

Rapid Continuous Improvement (RCI)

RCI is a structured set of tools and processes, used by associates globally to eliminate wasted effort and create productivity and quality, leading to sustainable operating efficiencies. Beginning in 2005, Snap-on enlisted the masters of the Toyota Production System, Shingijutsu, as a guide.

The teachings of Shingijutsu combined with RCI leaders in locations around the world provide the expertise and passion to create a culture of rapid continuous improvement. The highlight of the year is the opportunity to share best practices at the RCI Showcase at the Annual Global Leadership Conference.


1990s

1990s

Evolving to Serve More Customers

Throughout the 1990s, Snap-on continued to expand product lines globally to better serve professionals in critical industries. To deliver a more comprehensive total shop solution for repair shop owners and managers, well known brands such as Sun®, Mitchell1®, John Bean® and Hofmann® expanded the product portfolio in diagnostics, repair information, alignment and undercar equipment.

The Sioux® and Williams® brands were acquired to extend our offering in power tools and hand tools for critical industry segments such as aviation and oil and gas. To expand our tool offering for professional tradesmen internationally, Snap-on purchased Eurotools in 1995, which included established European brands such as Irimo®, Irazola®, Palmera® and Acesa®.

In 1999, Sandvik Saws and Tools, a division of Swedish based Sandvik AB, became a part of the Snap-on family, not only adding a full range of saws and accessories, but also a global manufacturing base. With this, Snap-on acquired the Bahco® brand with its iconic fish and hook logo. This design is one of the world’s oldest trademarks still in use, registered on January 28, 1879, and remains a key element for the Bahco® brand identification. In total, more than two dozen companies were acquired during the decade, increasing Snap-on’s capabilities to reach more customers.


1980s

1980s

Soaring to New Heights

In the late 1980s, the “Soaring to New Heights in Customer Service” theme was created as the Corporation strived to reach the $1 billion sales milestone. The eagle, a powerful, regal bird known for fast and furious flight, was chosen as the symbol to guide the Company to even higher levels of quality and customer service. In 1987, the $1 billion sales goal was achieved.


1970s

1970s

Sales Growth Requires Plant Expansion

As Snap-on celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1970, it began a decade of explosive growth. The number and variety of products jumped 30% and capacity was added through plant expansions.

A new facility in Bensenville, IL was dedicated to the research and development of new manufacturing processes, and two new distribution centers were opened in Robesonia, PA and Carson City, NV to keep products moving efficiently. For the decade, Snap-on net sales grew from $76.5 million in 1970 to $373.6 million in 1979.


1960s

1960s

Creation of The Flank Drive

At this time, the aviation industry was making advancements in reducing space and weight by modifying fasteners, but was struggling with rounding of the fastener corners upon removal. The Navy sought Snap-on to solve this dilemma.

The solution, called the Flank Drive® Wrenching System, was issued two patents in 1965 and proved so popular that it spread throughout the Snap-on product line. Each hex point of the socket was curved to prevent contact with the fasteners’ corners and the angles of the sides were altered to improve flat-to-flat contact.


1950s

1950s

Booming Auto Industry

Post-war America began an era of optimism and growth of the middle class. The baby boom created a surge in home construction and a departure from the city to the suburbs.

Economic prosperity paved the way for the interstate highway system and demand for new cars. Car ownership in the 1950s grew from 25 million to 70 million registrations and one in six workers were said to have been tied to the auto industry.

The car culture created new business segments such as malls, drive-in theatres, fast food restaurants and car related sports, like drag racing, and stock car racing emerged.

Snap-on was well positioned to take advantage of this cultural shift; the dealer network continued to expand as a result of the fast developing auto repair industry and industrial sales accelerated as factories returned back to pre-war production.


1940s

1940s

Essential to the War Effort

The early 1940s were marked by World War II and the military experienced severe tool shortages as a result. As a preferred supplier to the government, Snap-on was called into action, producing tools that kept air and ground equipment operating. Wartime demands also led to product innovations.

To increase durability of hand tools, the military upgraded the Snap-on material specifications and authorized buying nickel alloy steel, which ultimately became a Snap-on standard. To meet specific demands, hand tools for aviation and large sockets and wrenches for heavy military equipment were also developed.


1930s

1930s

Dream Orders & Needs List

In the grip of the Great Depression, Snap-on salesmen would say to their customers, “Everybody is in a fix today – no money – but when you have money again, what tools will you need?” They called these “Dream Orders.” The novel idea quickly developed into a “Needs List,” and is still used with success today.


1920s

1920s

First Patent, The No. 6 Ratchet

In 1923, Snap-on filed for its first patent, a ratcheting attachment. The No. 6 Ratchet was designed by Joseph Johnson and was the first ratcheting attachment made for use with the original set of interchangeable socket wrenches.