As the world prepares to recover from the global pandemic, businesses are starting to implement new measures and concentrated efforts in keeping their organizations moving forward. Whether you are in the retail, distribution, marketing, manufacturing or installation business, that means having the right tool for the right job. And in today’s world, that means tools that outperform traditional tools. Manufacturers are focusing on product development initiatives to launch innovative products in the market. Here are five trends that are making “the cut” in 2021:

  1. First and foremost -- Safety. Tools that are safe to use and provide overall safety should be on every jobsite. With today’s strong focus on respiratory health, in particular due to the COVID-19 era, manufacturers are bringing to market strategically crafted tools and equipment that protect workers from airborne hazards. And that doesn’t just stop with personal protection equipment (PPE). Focusing on developing safe products that reduce dust emissions to meet environmental regulations are gaining major traction. Years to come will show how OSHA took and is taking a much stronger, detailed look at construction and other industries. In particular, safety protocols with a strong focus on lung health are coming to the forefront.
  2. Efficiency. Tools that not only get the job done safer, but are helping to run a business more productively are the real “game-changers.” These include:
    1. Tools with a higher standard of accuracy.
    2. Tools with low maintenance.
    3. Tools with multi-purpose operations.
    4. Energy-efficient tools equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that are easy to operate.
  3. Not surprisingly, today’s contractors are backlogged with jobs. They need tools and methods to get the job done correctly, allowing them to expediently move on to the next job. This might include tools that reduce setup times, are lighter in weight and/or are easier to transport. For instance, iQ Power Tools offers a 10-inch dry cut tile saw, built for professional contractors that solves many of the problems that a wet tile saw may pose. If you’ve been in the tile business for any amount of time, you know the agonies of working with water: cutting in inconvenient locations, finding water sources, setting up tarps, hoses, buckets and spray guards. Then there’s the messy, time-consuming disposal of slurry and contaminated water. Cutting dry is more efficient, cleaner and saves time and money on clean up and waste removal. The right tool is much more than just a convenience. It positively impacts your speed, workday, profitability and your overall business.

  4. Tools on the upswing are those that are “smarter.” Nowadays, we’re seeing more technological advancements than ever before, with smart devices taking over all aspects of our lives. It’s no surprise that today’s construction tools are being produced with Bluetooth connectivity or monitored via mobile applications. As this technology continues coming to market, manufactures are trying out different smart features to see which one’s contractors will embrace. Power distribution monitoring, inventory management, tool tracking, production capacity, battery life and more can all be overseen by simply checking your phone. (Yup, there’s going to be an app for that.) What better way to cut costs than with new, smart tools? And relative to safety, the smarter the tools become, the safer they become, as well. Wouldn’t it be great to receive an alert on your phone that a tool has reached its capacity, before it’s too late? Or monitoring your crew’s productivity while you are in the office just by pulling it up on your computer or smartphone?
  5. Strength. Companies are investing heavily into research and development to enhance tool strength and durability within their offerings. Contractors make a living with their tools. They clearly want professional-grade tools, well-built and powerful. Because the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” continues to make sense, the best tools will always cost more because of their superior construction, and of course, their warranties. Durable tools are on-trend as today they are a smart investment in both your business and your workforce.
  6. Perhaps not a true trend in the manufacturing of tools, but proper training of using new tools and instant availability of training is truly trend worthy. Tools that have solid training behind them is almost an afterthought, as today’s top contractors actually expect online education/digital training. Because it’s not always possible to have that one-on-one teaching, it’s imperative that training be “on-demand,” allowing users to learn at their pace anything anytime, anywhere and in complete safe surroundings.  
  7. Future trends very well might see the demand for safe tools on jobsites demanded by the end-user. If your customer learns these types of tools are available, they just might demand they be used on their projects. In the tile arena, waterless, dustless, quieter and time-saving tools are becoming the norm, not the “soon-to-be-expected one of these days.” Think about all the residential remodeling we are seeing, combined with people who now are working from home. They’re right there and they want the work done as fast, as clean and as efficient as possible. Your customer wants you in and out.

    To conclude, tools that help you work better, smarter, faster and safer are the way to go. Take time to understand what your business needs, and of course, to understand your customers’ needs. Invest in tools that will help you succeed. Don’t let your lack of correct equipment weigh your company down.

    Innovation will continue to rise as manufacturers are poised to develop tools and equipment to reduce down times, increase productivity and keep people safe. Don’t be leery of this technology -- embrace it. These tools are here to stay because they offer so many unique advantages. If you aren’t using them, your competitors are, and they’ll let your customers know this. Make sure you keep up with the times by providing your employees with the proper and most effective tools to make your firm’s work even better moving forward.