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Toolots Company News

Factory-Direct Industrial Equipment, Machinery and Technology to Drive the Global Manufacturing Industry

  • Tech Tribune 2019 Best Tech Startups

    2019 Best Tech Startups in Cerritos

    The Tech Tribune staff has compiled the very best tech startups in Cerritos, California. In doing our research, we considered several factors including but not limited to:

    1. Revenue potential
    2. Leadership team
    3. Brand/product traction
    4. Competitive landscape

    Additionally, all companies must be independent (un-acquired), privately owned, at most 10 years old, and have received at least one round of funding in order to qualify.

    Toolots

    Founded: 2015

    “Our success at Toolots stems from our unique, online marketplace for industrial equipment, parts, and supplies. Our concept centers around emulating the most popular online marketplaces, such as Amazon and Aliexpress, but with an exclusive focus on the industrial product sector. This model allows our company the freedom of access and variety in the manufacturing community without sacrificing quality. Currently, Toolots.com showcases the best industrial hardware from both the U.S. and China with plans to expand into the global market.”

  • Mass Customization

    Toolots Inc., a cross-border company headquartered in the greater LA area, is building an M2U (Manufacturer-2-Users) business model, which is a vertical platform that connects manufacturers directly to end-users to sell and service industrial equipment.

    M2U was created primarily to solve the problem of heavy intermediation faced by manufacturers, but we believe it will also be a right kind of model to help achieve mass customization in manufacturing, as a core act of the Industry 4.0 theme.

    This article provides an analysis on the Toolots M2U business model to explain why it is the case.

    From Custom Production to Mass Production to Mass Customization

    The background of mass customization is mass production by contrast, and a review of the essence of mass production is helpful.

    First, let's define the word "manufacturing" to broadly mean "the process of making a product." One should note that although historically the word "manufacturing" predated mass production, in modern times "manufacturing" is almost exclusively associated, albeit implicitly by connotation, with mass production. In this article, however, we would like to free that word from such narrow connotation.

    Second, let's think about the concept of "customization." Customization is a trendy topic today, not only in manufacturing, but in many other fields including education which is currently undergoing a profound revolution of "personalized education" or "adaptive learning."

    But customization is not new. In fact, customization is very old.

    In human history, manufacturing started with customization, i.e. making of a product according to the customized need. This does not mean in a strict sense that every product was made for a particular individual, but overall, the early manufacturing was essentially for customized needs.

    This lasted until 18th-century, when "mass production" started to appear.

    Mass production means manufacturing goods in large quantities by standardizing parts, techniques and machinery. This concept and process started to appear in 18th century, but was not fully utilized and refined until it was refined by Henry Ford in 1913 when he introduced the assembly line. Mass production quickly became the dominant form of manufacturing around the world. Today, mass production is a system of manufacturing based on principles such as the use of interchangeable parts, large-scale production, and the high-volume assembly line. It is no exaggeration that the modern civilization is built upon mass production.

    The Four Essential Advantages Mass Production has over Old Custom Production

    To understand the evolution from mass production to mass customization, it is helpful to first have a clear understanding the essential advantages of mass production over old custom production. Most people intuitively understand such advantages. But a conceptualized perspective is a good way to look into the next evolution.

    Mass production has four huge advantages over traditional customized manufacturing.

    First, efficiency. Mass production makes products at the lowest possible prices. Efficiency is the hallmark of mass production.

    Second, reliability. Mass production tends to make products with higher quality and better reliability. This is an inherent result of standardization which is the core of mass production.

    Third, serviceability. Mass-produced goods are easier to maintain and repair. This is also a result of standardization.

    Forth, scalability. Mass production is far easier to scale up than old custom production. This is also mostly a result of standardization.

    So Why is "Customization" Rising (Again)?

    We must remember that mass production isn't a purpose in itself but only a result of pragmatism.

    In a hypothetical ideal society that would make every individual uniquely happy, everything should be made with customization. The only reason why our societies have given up on custom-made products for mass-produced ones was because of the the practical advantages (see above) that mass production has over custom production.

    A more interesting (and also more valuable) question is therefore not the subjective motivation for customization, but what objective drivers are making such a rise possible.

    That the consumers are becoming more affluent and can afford higher prices for customized goods is part of the reason why customization is becoming more popular, but definitely not the dominating reason.

    The fundamental reason that customization is having its own renaissance is because the new technologies and new business models are enabling "mass customization" which can make customized goods without sacrificing too much of efficiency, reliability, serviceability, and scalability.

    That is, it is not the customization per se, but "mass customization" that we are experiencing, and such mass customization does not happen spontaneously, but instead must but driven and enabled by the right kind of technologies and business models.

    What is Mass Customization?

    Mass customization in the context manufacturing is the process of making general-market goods which are customized or modified to satisfy a specific customer's need.

    With the proper enabling technology and implementation, mass customization can combine the flexibility and personalization of custom-made products with the low unit costs associated with mass production.

    Often, phrases like "made-to-order" or "built-to-order" are used as equivalent substitutes for "mass customization" but we would like to advocate a distinction, because we believe "made-to-order" or "built-to-order" should be reserved to have a broader meaning which includes such custom-making that doesn't necessarily satisfy the requirements of "mass customization."

    The key is in the apparent contradiction between "mass" and "customization."

    And the key that resolves or reconciles such contradiction is the right kind of enabling technologies and business models.

    The “Spiral Rising Cycle" Enabled by Technology and Business Model

    On a more philosophical basis, we perceive that, in a very profound manner, the social and economic systems of human society have been undergoing “spiral rising cycles" enabled by technologies and business models.

    A spiral rising cycle is a multi-dimensional process in which the state of the affair goes up in one dimension, but circles around and returns to the origin in another dimension. That is, it goes up not in a straight line, but in a spiral fashion.

    Such “spiral rising cycles" are manifested in many similar are related areas.

    In manufacturing, the cycle is "custom production > mass production > mass custom production".

    In education, the cycle is "individualized education > mass education > mass individualized education".

    None of the concepts involved here is novel alone in itself, but each step in the cycle nevertheless represents a revolutionary progress when it has been actually materialized. It takes the right kind of technology and business model to enable such a spiral rising cycle.

    Mass customization isn't merely a light idea or motivation, but a heavy-weight progress that has to be lifted and enabled.

    To enable mass customization, the technology and the business model must allow a customer to design certain features of a product and the manufacturer to make such features of the product while still keeping the four characteristics identified above closer to that of mass production.

    The four characteristics are, to repeat, efficiency, reliability, serviceability, and scalability.

    Industry 4.0

    Mass customization is a core component of the so-called Industry 4.0.

    Industry 4.0 is a confusing term because there is no standard definition to this concept. The term refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution. Among the popular definitions, you usually don't find "mass customization" in them. Instead, you find the emphasis on technological features such as these:

    • interconnectivity,
    • human-machine interfaces,
    • digital-to-physical transfer,
    • automation,
    • machine learning,
    • big data,
    • advanced analytics,
    • real-time data,
    • IoT, or IIot.

    Altogether, it can be simply referred to as "smart manufacturing."

    All these technological elements are important for the Industry 4.0 revolution. Together they are already creating a new manufacturing ecosystem in which hundreds of thousands enterprises will thrive, some existing ones, and many new ones.

    At the same time, we believe Industry 4.0 is enabled not only by the right kind of technologies, but will also need to be enabled by the right kind of a business model.

    M2U (Manufacturer-2-Users)

    M2U is a vertical platform that connects manufacturers directly to end-users. This model is being advocated and developed by Toolots Inc., a company headquartered in Cerritos (the greater LA area), California.

    M2U was created primarily to solve the problem of heavy intermediation faced by manufacturers which as a result are stuck in the lower end of value chain. Large barriers between manufacturers and end-users are the fundamental cause of the problems in manufacturing such as:

    • inefficiency
    • high prices
    • slow innovation
    • inhibited customization

    It should be pointed out that market intermediaries such as exporters, importers, distributors, retailers and OEM branders are of course not themselves the problem; They're just poor solutions to a real problem.

    On the other hand, although simplistic single channel direct-selling model can theoretically lower the price, it suffers inability to scale, divided marketing power, thin technology, lack of integration, and low market penetration, and therefore does not offer a competitive alternative to the existing distribution and retailing model.

    Ironically, the divisiveness of single channel direct-selling model does not lead to a higher level of customization. This is because such a model does not lend itself to mass customization, which is what really is the future.

    Toolots builds a full system of branding, marketing, services and merchant corporate solutions that function as “roads”and“vehicles” to directly connect the manufacturers and the end-Users.

    But unlike an e-commerce retailer or marketplace, and a traditional distributor, retailer or OEM brander, the M2U system built by Toolots is shared by the manufacturers, and allows the manufacturers to do fully branded and serviced direct-selling of their products without having to build such systematic business capabilities themselves.

    That is, the platform capability of Toolots is built once, and shared and used repetitively by tens of thousands of manufacturers.

    Since its inception in 2016, Toolots' M2U platform has attracted over 800 manufacturers and started to see sales growing exponentially.

    What does M2U have to do with Industry 4.0 and "Mass Customization”?

    The design of the M2U platform has proven to be effective in marketing thanks to the collective power of the technological enablement.

    But marketing was not the only goal of Toolots M2U model.

    M2U also aims to change how the manufacturing is done.

    M2U model is the other missing enablement for Industry 4.0 besides technology.

    As discussed above, Industry 4.0 will need all the enabling technologies. But it also need an enabling business model.

    Even if one assumes that most of the necessary enabling technological components will be developed and provided by third-party suppliers, Industry 4.0 would still be far beyond the reach of vast majority of manufacturers. This would remain the case even after such technologies are mature and ready.

    The reason is simple economically reality. One cannot expect regular manufacturers, with the exception of just minimal number of heavyweight global players, to be able to create or even participate the complex and expensive Industry 4.0 processes.

    There needs to be a right kind of platform business model operating in concert with enabling technologies to enable most manufacturers to participate the Industry 4.0 processes.

    We believe M2U will be a viable candidate for that solution.

    Mass Customization could be one of the many fruits of M2U platform.

    Customization in B2B

    M2U will first address mass customization in the context of B2B.

    Customization level in B2B is inherently more common and more demanded than that in B2C. But still, customization in B2B is hard.

    The difficulties mostly arise from the current way the manufacturers and users are connected. The multi-layer intermediation created for territorial and marketing purposes also resulted in large barriers to customization, among many other things. If such intermediation has been historically a necessary evil for marketing and after-sales services, it has never served any good for customization.

    Now that M2U reduces traditional intermediation, it naturally also results in an advantage in customization.

    However, M2U aims beyond the natural advantages of the business model in customization. Once the platform is built, it will be more adept to solve myriad problems in custom production, starting with the manufacturing of industrial equipment.

    That the customization of industrial equipment is difficult might surprise many people. Certainly it should be easier than customization of consumer products, right? Well it is. But the fact is that, without proper communication and collaboration mechanisms in the context of real commerce and industrial processes, even B2B customization is difficult, and the manufacturing of industrial equipment is no exception.

    M2U Platform Aims To Solve This Problem.

    The platform will provide effective communication channels and collaboration mechanisms in the context of real commerce. We are not talking about a messaging system, which is easy to do. We are talking about actual mechanisms where the customization information is properly communicated to knowledgeable personnel who can then effectively connect, communicate, and eventually implement at the manufacturing level.

    For most manufacturers, especially manufacturers that do business overseas, it is close to impossible, or at least extremely cost ineffective, to establish such collaborative capability to handle the entire process. Remember the the major reasons why manufacturers choose OEM model in the first place despite their knowing of being locked into the lower end of the value chain in so doing.

    Therefore, it is essential to build platform capabilities for such processes, and share them on the platform among a large number of merchants (manufacturers) which are the platform customers.

    And that is exactly Toolots wants to do and is already doing. The platform has been developing a shared ERP (sEPR) system for this purpose and also is also building a division called "Merchant Corporate Solutions (MCS)" which functions as "virtual corporate departments" of the merchants (manufacturers) on the platform.

    The Toolots platform started with very basic but important virtual corporate functions. It hasn't got to a realistic point to enable effective "mass customization" yet. But we believe it is the right direction because it has the right business model which is a necessary enabling arm to support the Industry 4.0 revolution.

    Toolots' long term goal it to support smart manufacturing, which joins physical production and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning, and big data to create a more holistic and better connected ecosystem for companies in manufacturing and supply chain management.

    We believe it is a far better model than just letting each individual manufacturer struggle alone on the road of Industry 4.0 and mass customization. On that road, very few will make it.

    Toolots' way is the right way for mass customization and Industry 4.0. At least we who believe in Toolots vision think so.

     

    Article by Gao Zeming, Chief Strategy Officer, Toolots, Inc. June, 2019

  • FOREIGN-TRADE ZONES

    Toolots Inc operates Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) #202 Site 53 in Cerritos, California within the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area of San Gabriel Valley.  The FTZ Program was created in 1934 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” Act, designed to stimulate economic development, promote international trade, and create U.S. jobs that would otherwise be lost to foreign competition.

    FTZ #202 is a Customs privileged area within 60 miles of the seaport complex of the Ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach, where merchandise may be admitted for storage, manipulation, exhibition and manufacturing duty-free.  Although the FTZ is physically located in Cerritos, California, it is legally considered to be outside the U.S. Customs Territory for import/export purposes.

    Serving the nation’s busiest gateway to international trade, FTZ #202 offers manufacturers, importers, exporters, & logistics companies with direct access to the Port of Long Beach, the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles International Airport, as well as the nation’s extensive rail and interstate freeway systems.  FTZ #202 Site 53 currently consists of 1 General-Purpose Zone Site within the City of Cerritos comprising  100,000-sqare foot of FTZ Designated Space for General-Purpose Use.

    FTZ #202 offers Zone Users the unique opportunity to interact with their merchandise prior to customs review, thus allowing greater control over shipments, minimizing risks and acting as an arena in which companies can conduct international trade.  Within the FTZ, Merchandise may be stored, inspected, cleaned, sampled, repaired, tested, repaired, relabeled, repackaged, displayed, processed, mixed, salvaged, destroyed, assembled or otherwise manipulated duty-free!  A special permit for manufacturing may be obtained for general-purpose zone users upon approval from the FTZ Board.

    How can I benefit from Foreign-Trade Zone #202? 

    •          Defer Duty on Imports;
    •          Reduce Duty on Imports Assembled, Processed, Manufactured &/or “kitted” in a Zone;
    •          Reduce Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF) on Imports under Weekly Entry procedures;
    •          Reduce Customs broker fees;
    •          Defer Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF) on Imports through the seaport;
    •          Transportation Time Savings through Direct Delivery procedures;
    •          Eliminate Duty on Re-Exports;
    •          Federal Excise Tax Exemptions on U.S. Exports (Luxury Taxes);
    •          Avoid Quota Restrictions;
    •          Avoid Fines & Penalties;
    •          Ease of Paperwork & Quick Turnaround;
    •          Temporary Removal for Repair or Exhibition of Bonded Goods; &
    •          Avoid the need for Duty Drawback

    Source:  www.beeimagine.com  FTZ

  • Toolots Port of Los Angeles Foreign-Trade Zone 202 Site #53

    We are excited to announce that on February 22, 2019 the Los Angeles City Council approved Toolots, Inc. to be a Foreign Trade Zone General Purpose Operator.

     What is a Foreign-Trade Zone?

    Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) are a federal economic incentive program to bring international trade within the capability of even the smallest of businesses. FTZs are designated sites within the U.S. where foreign and domestic merchandise is considered to be outside the U.S. Customs territory. The program is designed to lower the cost of doing business and stimulate economic growth and development in the U.S. by allowing companies to defer, reduce or eliminate U.S. Customs duties. Certain types of merchandise can be imported into a Zone without going through formal Customs entry procedures or paying import duties until the products are transferred from the FTZ for U.S. consumption. If merchandise never enters the U.S. commerce or is re-exported to other countries, then no duties are paid on those items. This program was developed to offer U.S.-based facilities with the ability to compete on a more level playing field with offshore locations.

    Business Benefits Available Within Foreign-Trade Zone 202

    • Designated Service Area, which includes all of Orange County and large portions of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties
    • Businesses can receive FTZ designation in an expedited manner under the ASF structure
    • Your organization can benefit from increased cash flow and inventory control
    • Many of the top names in fashion and household goods operate warehouses within FTZs as a means to reduce operating costs, improve supply chain velocity and manage security at distribution facilities
    • Defer, delay or eliminate payment of some duties, merchandise processing fee, and harbor maintenance fee
  • E-Commerce, Logistics Signed Largest Warehouse Leases In 2018

    CBRE study found that last year, 61 of the largest 100 industrial leases in the U.S. were completed by e-commerce companies and logistics firms.

    E-commerce and logistics companies claimed a larger share of the 100 largest industrial and logistics leases signed in 2018 than they did a year earlier, according to a new report from CBRE.

    CBRE’s analysis of last year’s industrial leasing activity in the U.S. found that 61 of the largest 100 leases were signed by e-commerce companies and logistics firms for a total of 61.5 million square feet. In the previous year, those two sectors claimed 52 of the largest leases for a cumulative 43.2 million square feet.

    “These figures illustrate that there still is a lot of momentum behind e-commerce uses in U.S. warehouse leasing, despite concerns that the sector’s expansion may be reaching its later stages,” said David Egan, CBRE’s Global Head of Industrial & Logistics Research. “We expect this type of leasing momentum to continue in 2019.”

    The two are related in that many logistics companies, specifically third-party logistics providers, handle e-commerce distribution for their clients. Regardless of industry, the largest industrial leases got even bigger last year. The top 100 from last year — spanning uses such as e-commerce, logistics, manufacturing, food and beverage, technology and retailing — totaled 19 percent more space than the largest of 2017.

     

    e-commerce and logistics

     

    Last year’s mega industrial leases were spread across 32 markets, with many clustering in leading logistics hubs, with California’s Inland Empire topping the list (20 leases), followed by Pennsylvania’s I-78/I-81 corridor (11), Dallas-Fort Worth (10), Atlanta (nine) and Chicago (five).

    “The Inland Empire combines some of the key requirements of today’s ecommerce and logistics providers,” said Vice Chairman Barbara Perrier. “It sits close to Southern California’s massive population base as well as in proximity to the ports, it is home to some of the newest, most advanced state-of-the-art facilities required by most ecommerce tenants and it’s in a location that is ideal for companies that have a coastal strategy, meaning they want to have a presence on both U.S. coasts.

    “The Inland Empire has what much of LA doesn’t: space,” she continued. ”This area encompasses 500 million square feet. That means there’s a lot of potential for new state-of-the-art warehouses with all the bells and whistles.”

    https://businessfacilities.com/2019/03/e-commerce-logistics-signed-largest-warehouse-leases-2018/

  • What is UL Certification?

    One concern when buying modern machinery is the safety of the equipment. No one wants to buy a product that could malfunction and hurt the operator or someone nearby. Because of this concern various organizations have been created to verify the safety of products.

    UL is one of the oldest testing agencies in the country and provides certification on the safety of products as well as their environmental claims. However the UL marks may be confusing for people who are not familiar with their terminology. There is no such thing as general UL approval, instead they break up their certification into being listed, recognized, or classified. Once you know the difference between these three terms it becomes much easier to understand the dozens of marks that UL puts on products.

    The UL listing service verifies that a manufacturer can make products that fulfill UL requirements, meaning that any product with the UL listed mark is produced by a company that limits product risks that can be reasonably foreseen. UL does not test each product in this case, instead they authorize the manufacturer to test their products and apply the UL listed mark themselves. However, UL does follow up with the manufacturer on a regular basis to make sure they are following correct procedures to test their products.

    The UL recognition service is different in that it does not apply to end products. Instead it certifies that a component for a larger product meets UL standards. This mark is not seen as often by consumers, as the parts that get this certification are things like circuit boards and power supplies. These components are normally put into products in factories and may have limited use outside of another machine. Again, UL authorizes the manufacturer to test and label their parts with this mark and follows up regularly to ensure continued compliance with the certification.

    UL classification service is the most nuanced of the three. According to UL’s terminology guide, the UL classification service is used “for the purpose of classification or evaluation with respect to one or more of the following: (1) specific risks only, e.g., casualty, fire or shock, (2) performance under specified conditions, (3) regulatory codes, (4) other standards, including international standards, or (5) such other conditions as UL may consider desirable.” This allows UL to have a wide array of marks in this area to give specific information to consumers about the standards of a product. For instance, the UL Classified Water Quality Mark certifies that a product is able to provide suitable drinking water for products such as filtration systems or water treatment additives.

    http://blog.all-spec.com/2011/09/what-is-ul-certification/    By ALL-SPEC Andy 09/27/2011

  • The Guide to Buying the Perfect Pallet Jack

    Choosing the right pallet jack can be critical for avoiding safety hazards. This article outlines the key traits that are helpful in determining which pallet jack will be the best for you.

    Fork Length and Pallet Width

    The length of the fork and the width of wood pallets are essential while looking for a pallet jack. The standard size for forks is 27x48" while wood pallets tend to bear a width of 40x48".

    It is important to note that if you choose the fork length to be 27 inches long, the wood pallet must be 40 inches wide. Any disproportion can lead to complications.

    For instance, a short length can cause safety hazards, while a length that is longer than necessary can make it difficult to maneuver the unit.

    Capacity

    Choosing the capacity that suits your needs is crucial. Any disproportion in the pallet jack’s capacity can damage it or break it. Generally, pallet jackets range between 4500 lbs – 5500 lbs in capacity. As a buyer, you must ensure that the pallet jack you buy is certified to carry the weight that you require.

    Weight of the Pallet Jack

    It is vital to determine which surface the pallet jack will be used. Any weight that is not compatible with the surface it is being used on damages the floor. Over-weight units damage the flooring while unloading vehicles or working inside containers. Manufacturers consider weight to be critical in determining a unit’s quality and durability.

    The Lowered Height and the Lift Height

    The lowered height determines how much a fork can be lowered to lift an object. The lower a lift can go the easier it is to pick up an item. The lift height, on the other hand, is the highest a lift can safely raise an object it is carrying. Raising an overloaded pack while exceeding the height limit can result in tipping the lift over.

    Wheels

    Wheels of the pallet jack should be designed to support load correctly and also make the pallet jack easily maneuverable. Having wheels that are not made from the right material can cause damage to flooring. Experts suggest using wheels made from polyurethane as they don’t stain the floor and are also easy to change.

    Features

    One of the features that make a pallet jack desirable is having grease-able bushings. Bushings are metal sleeves fit inside pivot points and axles. Generally made from brass and steels; they are susceptible to wear. These bushings are fundamental in the function of pallet jacks and having the option to grease increases their longevity.

    Warranty

    The warranty of a product tends to indicate the amount of trust a manufacturer has in the product.  A warranted item is also considered more dependable and can be sent to the manufacturer for repair in the case of a complication. But the more coverage the warranty provides, chances are the price of the pallet jack will be higher. So it’s wiser choose the pallet jack that suits your needs the most.

  • Seven Tips to Help U.S. Businesses Considering the Purchase of Foreign Equipment

    Overseas orders

    SEVEN TIPS TO HELP U.S. BUSINESSES CONSIDERING THE PURCHASE OF FOREIGN EQUIPMENT

    Industrial equipment is a large investment, and for many people, there is a stigma attached to products made overseas. Many believe buying foreign equipment versus domestic is a risky prospect, especially when it comes to purchasing high-value items.

    However, purchasing equipment from overseas may be a good option for those on a budget – but only if certain precautions are taken so any risk is drastically reduced or completely eliminated. For those business owners or purchasing managers considering making the investment in overseas equipment, here are a few tips to keep the risk factor low.

    1. Mass production

    Find equipment that is sourced from countries that mass produce it. In doing so, buyers often get the best value possible.

    This is a simple supply and demand scenario. When supply is high, pricing is adjusted to meet the demand of its consumers. In addition, countries that mass produce products are able to get materials at a lower cost, thus making products more affordable for consumers.

    When you purchase overseas equipment from a domestic marketplace or distributor, language barriers and other difficulties can be avoided.

    2. Research

    When potential customers thoroughly research the different models and brands of equipment that are under consideration, headaches can be avoided in the long run.

    Research is an essential step in the buying process, helpingyou better understand the equipment, its benefits and, additionally, its drawbacks. Be highly detail-oriented in your research. To get the best value, compare the price and quality of the possible products for purchase as well as the different OEMs.

    “Make sure to dig into the details,” says Jason Fu, CEO of Toolots Inc., a fabrication equipment distributor. “If you can purchase equipment with the same functionalities of a more expensive item but at a lower cost from a different seller, why not? On the other hand, be aware that equipment made in some overseas markets may not adhere to U.S. standards or may be manufactured with functionalities made for other countries.”

    To save yourself time and money, research the functionality and structure of the equipment. A few questions to ask while researching products include:

    • What are the dimensions of the entire machine or piece of equipment?
    • What are the dimensions of certain parts of the machine?
    • Do these parts meet U.S. standards?
    • Are the dimensions listed in the metric or imperial system?
    • Is the equipment battery-powered? If so, what types of batteries does it use?
    • Does it need to be plugged in? Will that plug need a converter?
    • What voltage is the machine?
    • Is this machine reasonably priced for its capabilities and quality?

    3. Reviews

    Outside your business associates and colleagues, the next group of people that can help you with your large purchasing decisions are those who have already gone through the same buying process as you. They are the ones who have already asked the same questions and even went a step further by trying the product.

    Reading reviews can answer any questions you may have and may offer a more authentic and insightful evaluation of the product than that of a salesperson. Read what they like and dislike, what their buying experience was like, and any additional tips and suggestions they have to determine if that piece of equipment is the right one for you.

    Also, make sure to leverage a variety of review websites so that you have a more well-rounded understanding of the equipment and the company. If the product you’re interested in doesn’t have a review, read reviews about the company itself from third-party review sites and determine if it is a trustworthy option.

    Every type of fabrication equipment can be purchased from overseas manufacturers. The question to ask before purchasing is whether that equipment meets domestic standards.

    4. Warranties and returns

    Make sure to read the fine print before you make your purchase. If, by chance, you receive a defective product, or if there is a chance you won’t need the product by the time you receive it, you will want to have purchased it from a company with a warranty and return policy that suits your needs.

    Order cancellation policies are also important in the event you decide you no longer need your equipment or if you find a better deal somewhere else. Browse the website to see if the company also offers assistance through web chat or over the phone to assist you with the purchasing, warranty and return processes.

    5. Marketplace vs. manufacturer

    When you purchase from a reputable domestic marketplace rather than straight from the manufacturer, you can avoid barriers, such as language differences and a lack of services and policies necessary for a confident buying process. There is also the issue of distance and security of personal data with manufacturers, which may result in miscommunication, slow shipping times, and in the worst-case scenario, identity theft.

    “An added level of security is the biggest reason to go to a marketplace rather than directly to the manufacturer,” Fu says. “It’s tricky navigating through overseas manufacturers, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the businesses in the area you’re researching. Marketplaces solve both of these problems for you.”

    Although not all marketplaces solve these problems, purchasing from a reputable marketplace gives you more security because marketplaces usually filter out products and companies that don’t meet their standards.

    Toolots is a good example of a reputable marketplace for purchasing industrial equipment at manufacturer prices with the customer service of a distributor. Toolots also goes a step further by offering operation and troubleshooting videos to show customers how to properly maintain and troubleshoot the most popular products on its platform. If a customer needs more assistance, Toolots offers after-sales services to assist with any post-purchase needs.

    Toolots Inc., a California-based equipment distributor, has warehouses throughout the United States and China. 

    6. State and local taxes

    If you choose to purchase straight from the manufacturer, check your state or local treasury to see if you need to pay any state or local taxes on the equipment that you are planning on importing.

    Every state has different tax laws and regulations on importing products, so make sure you speak with someone from your local treasury if you don’t know the laws in your area. Also, make sure to research foreign transaction fees, exchange rates, and shipping and handling fees to calculate if you are truly getting the best price on the product you are purchasing from the manufacturer.

    7. Third-party services

    If you’re unfamiliar with the manufacturer, complete your payment with a reputable third-party service. With money transfers comes risk, so it is crucial that you are able to recognize the company’s method of payment. Some of the more popular payment services include PayPal, Quickbooks and OFX. If you are buying from a foreign company, familiarize yourself with their transaction process before finalizing payments.

    Overall, investing in industrial equipment is a time-consuming process and even more so when you are trying to find a reliable product at an affordable price. Purchasing directly from manufacturers may shave some dollars off your purchase, but you may encounter communication barriers, slow shipping times and a lack of security.

    Marketplaces, on the other hand, offer buyer confidence, effective communication and, in most cases, faster shipping times. They also provide the ability to browse through a variety of equipment from a vast number of manufacturers on one platform, making it easier for you to compare equipment, thus saving you time.

    Purchasing overseas equipment can help you score quality equipment at a low price whatever way you choose. Just make sure to do your research.

    Toolots Inc.

  • Toolots, Inc. Receives Senate Certificate of Recognition as an Outstanding Enterprise

     

    Toolots, Inc., the Amazon for tools, has just been awarded a Senate Certificate of Recognition from the California Small Business Association, and for good reason. The business deals in industrial equipment and machinery and has been recognized as an outstanding enterprise in the 32nd District.

    With more than 600 vendor partners that span not only the US but also overseas, the company is considered to be the leading distribution channel for industrial tools, equipment, machinery, and technology.

    The Future of Factory-Friendly Industrial Tools and Solutions

    With a certificate of excellence now under its belt, Toolots is positioned to grow dramatically by introducing new product lines and categories. The aim is to ensure that merchants and clients can benefit from a large portfolio of products and services for better and faster customer service.

    Additionally, Toolots also vets service technicians and vendors thoroughly to ensure it can uphold product quality and provide consistent quality of service. This includes ensuring that their clients can find the equipment they need at prices that they can afford.

    The company ensures this by creating amiable relationships with vendors who not only provide the best equipment in the market but who also pass cost savings onto them.

    Fast, Affordable, and Efficient Delivery

    Toolots is known for taking an innovative approach to distribution that meets client specifications and practices. Besides ensuring a speedy fulfillment process via strategically located warehouses in China and the US, it also offers shorter shipping times. This not only reduces downtime, but it also speeds up productivity, which is only good for business.

    Keeping pace with its desire to maintain client relationships, Toolots renovated its 114,000 square foot facility in Cerritos. The facility boasts an expansive showroom that is designed to display some of the best products the company offers.

    Besides conducting a thorough viewing of the offerings, interested parties can also question on-site engineers on maintenance, equipment operation, and other aspects.

    However, the industrial influencer has not stopped there. Toolots is also planning to introduce more warehouses and showrooms country-wide. This is in-keeping with its promise to ensure the best customer experience for its growing, global clientele.

    With their online tool YuuTool working to facilitate their customer base by connecting them with appropriate service providers, Toolots is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

    Wide Range of Industrial Equipment and Machinery Available on Demand

    Toolots boasts a comprehensive selection of industrial tools that meets and exceeds expectations. This includes a range of injection mold machines, woodworking CNN routers, extruding machines, as well as plastic auxiliary equipment for the plastic machinery industry. With a complete range of plastic processing equipment and technologies, the industrial tool provider is well on its way to becoming a success.

    Toolots also caters to the metal machinery industry by providing an equally diverse selection of industrial metalworking equipment. This includes, but is not limited to, milling machines, cutting saws, and sharpeners that are strong enough for machine tools. Similarly, the company also caters to the food processing industry with bespoke equipment that can facilitate and increase production in any food-based establishment.

    However, Toolots is more than a simple ecommerce solution. Besides being an international channel for factory-direct tools and technology, it simplifies online sales for industrial businesses as well.

  • Export Opportunities for US Machinery Companies in 2018

    For US companies that outsource some or all of their production to China or otherwise have operations there, the ongoing trade war presents a tangle of cost uncertainties. Some companies are being forced to rethink their supply chain — and on a compressed timeline.

     

    More reading on this: How Will the Trade War Affect US Machinery and Equipment Vendors?

     

    However, amidst the onslaught of supply-chain challenges, one opportunity that does remain relatively buoyed by the tariffs is the prospect of exporting goods to China that have not been slapped with retaliatory tariffs. Certainly, many of these companies are seeing input costs rise similarly to the myriad other industries being squeezed, but their advantage in this trade war is that these cost increases are tempered by reduced competition.

    That is, for companies whose products are not facing Chinese tariffs but whose Chinese counterparts are facing American tariffs, there may be a window of opportunity after all. One of these product categories is industrial equipment and machinery.

    Although Chinese machinery is facing US tariffs, the retaliatory tariffs from Beijing have, for the most part, only covered low-tech goods and components.

    According to Export.gov, a resource managed by the US Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, fewer than 20 Chinese companies can provide medium and high-end CNC machine tools. Yet Chinese demand for metal cutting, forming machine tools, and accessories are expected to grow at a strong pace. Meanwhile, in alignment with the increasing demand for quality in China, the majority of US machine tools companies are focused on high-precision, intelligent high-end CNC machine tool and accessories.

    A top priority of the Made in China 2025 initiative is to upgrade the manufacturing sector by adopting high-tech intensive manufacturing by making the best use of foreign capital and management expertise. For US SMEs, this may be the right moment in time to carve out market share as China is boosting its domestic needs.

    While the United States may be better known as the world's leading exporter of services, material goods still represent two-thirds of its total exports.

    The US mainly exports high-value capital goods and high-end manufactured products, including industrial machinery, airplanes, motor vehicles and chemicals. As Chinese firms increase their investment in higher quality capital goods, US firms are well-positioned to capitalize on these trends.

    US companies are known for producing innovative and high quality products, so China's growing appetite for quality presents unprecedented opportunity for US firms to export their high quality and durable industrial products and components/parts to Chinese manufacturers in various sectors.

    Meanwhile, market entry challenges do exist for US firms interested in tapping into these export opportunities. For one, providing localized after-sales service requires a certain degree of capital that may seem risky particular for smaller US firms. Moreover, despite increased efforts from the Chinese government to improve Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection, handling the challenges of protecting IPR in China requires an understanding of the complex legal environment.

    Moreover, companies interested in exporting typically must invest a considerable amount of resources in planning, developing and executing international sales strategies in order to succeed in today's global marketplace. As a result, smaller companies with fewer resources may find such initiatives to be too risky at their size.

     

    By partnering with Toolots to sell through our online platform, manufacturers can get the tools and assistance they need to expand their company's international sales. Reach us through our contact page to learn more.

     

    More reading on Toolots' vendor services: How Toolots Fulfillment Services Help Vendors Grow Their Distribution

     

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