Being a Pro Matters
|Traded as||NYSE: SNA
S&P 500 Component
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Headquarters||Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States|
|Products||Professional Automotive and Industrial Tools and Equipment|
Snap-on is an American designer, manufacturer and marketer of high-end tools and equipment to professional tool users. Founded in 1920, Snap-on is located in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and employs approximately 11,500 people worldwide. The company is currently worth US $3.4 billion and is included in the S&P 500.
Snap-on was founded as the Snap-on Wrench Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1920 by Joseph Johnson and William Seidemann. As a new socket wrench manufacturing company, the business manufactured and marketed ten sockets that would "snap on" to five interchangeable handles. Their slogan was "50 do the job of 15"
After World War II, Palmer advertised for a military officer to organize and develop a larger sales force for the expected post-war sales boom. Newton Tarble was hired, and came up with the idea of developing routes for company dealers to see mechanics on a weekly basis. Eventually these salesmen became independent businessmen and authorized dealers using larger walk-in vans to carry a growing product line. Thus, Snap-on tools are sold only by dealers and none are sold in retail stores. Their quality is highly regarded but their prices are also among the very highest. Snap-on currently operates plants in various states and cities such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Elizabethton, Tennessee, which manufacture hand tools. Pneumatic tools are currently manufactured in Murphy, North Carolina.
In 1975, Snap-on opened a manufacturing plant in Johnson City, Tennessee and closed the plant 32 years later in 2007. The Murphy, North Carolina plant was named as one of the top 10 plants in North America by Industry Week.  In 1999, Snap-on acquired Bahco, a Swedish hand tool brand. Bahco hand tools are designed and manufactured by SNA Europe, the European manufacturing subsidiary of Snap-on Incorporated.
Snap-on produces hand, air, and electric tools designed for professional use in all facets of the transportation industry. Automotive, heavy-duty, equipment, marine, aviation, and railroad industries all are customers of Snap-on. Snap-on also distributes hand tools and power tools under the brand name Blue-Point, as an entry-level or price-conscious offering. Snap-on also manufactures tool storage cabinets in its Algona, Iowa plant. Snap-on produces hand-held electronic diagnostic tools for the on-board computer systems used in most modern cars and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as automotive emissions control diagnostics equipment (DGA/PGA-500/CSM-5000) in its San Jose, CA diagnostic facility. Snap-on diagnostic products are being sold in Europe and Brazil under the name Sun.
Snap-on has always maintained the philosophy that the customer's time was too valuable to spend going shopping for tools. Snap-on Franchisees visit their customers in their place of work once weekly, in a van loaded with items for purchase. Purchase options range from Collect on Delivery, to a revolving account in which a customer pays a set portion of his balance weekly, to an extended credit program sponsored by Snap-on Credit for large purchases.
Recently, Snap-on has made other advances in their product showcasing. Newest among these are the Snap-on TechKnow Express, showcasing everything Snap-on has to offer in the realm of Diagnostic equipment, and the Rock 'n Roll Cab Express, a truck with various types of tool storage showing customization options, including units larger than what would fit on a standard Franchisee van. These trucks are typically assigned to a particular region and work within that region with individual Franchisees.
Since the early 1980s, Snap-on has been sponsoring Penske Racing teams in the NASCAR Sprint and Nationwide Series as well as Championship Auto Race Teams (CART) and the Indy Racing League (IRL). The first driver Snap-on became associated with was Rick Mears in 1979. Rick went on to be a 4 time Indy 500 Winner. Nearly 20 years ago, Snap-on began an association with two time NHRA world champion Cruz Pedregon. In 2004, Snap-on began an association with Cruz’s brother Tony Pedregon, a two time champion himself.
A Snap-on ratcheting screwdriver.
- Dave Lenckus (April 15, 2002), "Innovative tools, direct sales approach forge to form a Fortune 500 operation", Business Insurance 36 (15), p. 11, retrieved January 9, 2014
- "Business Wire", Industry Week, January 19, 2011, retrieved January 13, 2014
- https://www1.snapon.com/diagnostics Snap-on Diagnostics site
- Donnelly, Jim (February 2010). "Collecting Snap-on.com; Wrenching truths, yours for the checking". Hemmings Motor News. Retrieved 2011-10-06
- Murch, Frank. "Collecting Snap-on". Retrieved 2011-10-05.