Snap-on Tools has been in Japan since the mid ’60s and until 1984 used a famous distributor J. Osawa for the majority of the market. Then in 1984, Osawa went bankrupt and we used several other distributors until 1992. In 1989 we started a small company Snap-on Industrial Japan that was converted to Snap-on Japan when I arrived in 1992 to begin a more company directed marketing strategy for all of Japan
When I arrived I had 18-years with Snap-on and experience in franchising and a business start-up in Australia. I knew the van business but nothing about Japanese labor. Snap-on did have the 1989 company, a tiny 6 person operation but it was capitalized with only 50 M Yen and not structured for much more than what it was. We knew we were going to need some guidance so on one of those first days, our delegation visited T-M-T and met with Tom Nevins for guidance. Tom was a good resource for us to have with his reassuring perspective.
Over the years, we have continually upgraded and are now capitalized with 200 million Yen. We have also invested in a beautiful facility, with show rooms and training facilities and pleasant conditions for our “All Japanese” employees. We have taken advantage of TMT’s experience to make sure we were set-up right in terms of local pay, retirement, personnel practices, and Rules of Employment. I am the only “gaijin” and use Tom’s expertise regularly and reference our documents often. In fact, the story of Tom helping SOJ with the “ROE” has been told many times at management level all over the world in our company.
It has been an exciting 9 years. My first job with Snap-on was as a van operator with my own truck, so I know about the needs of our customers. Unlike many U.S. companies and constant transfers, Snap-on has let me remain and nurse this baby in Japan from the original 6 people to over 400 team members as of 6/2001. Many on our team have fought hard to build a previous low $10 of millions in sales to a level that is nearly double and most of all we control our own profits and destiny. Tom wants to make sure I tell you that my superiors, great staff, and I were more responsible for that than he was. However, I can tell you, occasionally when something in his area of expertise comes up, I’m glad to have him a phone call away.
Carroll John Creech
President, Representative Director
Snap-On Tools Japan K.K.