Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Taking the Lead in “Disruptive Innovation” — An Interview with Michael Kirby of Milwaukee Tool

Apr 30, 2018

Michael Kirby 250SMACNA Premier Partner Milwaukee Tool of Brookfield, Wisc., is a global leader in delivering innovative solutions to the construction trades that offer increased productivity and durability. Milwaukee is dedicated to delivering a steady stream of advanced, trade-specific solutions

through their world-leading M12™ and M18™ cordless systems, M12 and M18 FUEL™ products, time-saving accessories, and innovative hand tool products.

We asked Milwaukee Tool Director of Mechanical Trades, National Accounts, Michael Kirby, how they can help SMACNA members find solutions to their daily challenges.

What products and services does Milwaukee Tool have to offer SMACNA members? SMACNA and Milwaukee Tool share a passion for the skilled trades and share a common goal of ensuring HVAC professionals have the most innovative solutions for their daily needs. We work year-round with SMACNA members in a collegial, peer-to-peer, solutions-oriented environment. This helps us develop and customize solutions and programs they need—whether it be a faster, safer power tool or a new training program. We also offer SMACNA members training and educational support, customized service programs, and apprentice support at the JATCs. Milwaukee

What challenges can you help SMACNA members solve? Beyond providing tool solutions, we work together to develop training programs for SMACNA members’ teams and offer solutions to make an organization more profitable. We’re a partner—not a vendor—and we’re in this for the long haul.

What separates you from the competition? We don’t consider ourselves a tool company—we’re a solutions-provider and problem-solver. We’ve led the industry in disruptive innovation, specifically focused on the MEP trades since we first introduced lithium-ion to power tools in 2008.

Disruptive innovation is all about changing the game. We start with a thorough evaluation of the job at hand—the frustrations, needs, limitations—and set out to completely rethink a solution. Our goal is to solve the challenges users face day-in and day-out. We want to make SMACNA professionals’ lives easier from when they wake up in the morning, to when they go to bed at night.

What questions should a contractor ask you and your competition and why? The question they should ask is this: “Is the battery system that I’m invested in compatible with the breadth and depth of the work I need to do, and how committed is the manufacturer to that system?”

Investing in a battery system is a huge investment, which is why it’s important to gauge the long-term plans for the battery system the user chooses. Many manufacturers change their battery systems every few years, so users have to completely re-invest in a new system. Milwaukee is committed to our M12™ and M18™ Systems.

We deliver best-in-class solutions on both these systems because we know our users rely upon them to get their work done. We don’t believe we’ve seen the end of what a 12-volt and 18-volt system can achieve.