be catastrophic. This also makes reliability key, in terms of the processes these end-users
implement, the people they employ, the distributors they work with, and especially the
products they purchase.
Built To Suit
Their isolated locations and the very nature of the operating environment combine to
produce a number of factors that make properly servicing the oil and gas industry challenging. One of these dynamics is the need for a number of tools specifically suited to
rig applications. Too often the absence of a consistent distributor presence has led to the
creation of some very … unique, homemade tools.
“Because these rigs are so isolated, they don’t always have access to tool vendors, and
they’ve learned to become self-sufficient,” offers Robert Leitz, a Snap-on sales manager
who works with NOV. “The problem is that some of these homemade tools create serious
The isolated location of the rigs can also produce communication issues between the in-
dividuals using the tools and those purchasing them. “For example,” continues Leitz. “The
guys on the rig say they need a pry bar. Well, there are 20 different types of pry bars, but
sometimes the person in charge of purchasing, who’s sitting at a desk far removed from
the rig location, won’t have a clear understanding of which one is needed, or the intended
“So he or she simply buys the cheapest one they see. This leads back to the safety issues
that can result from not having the right tools, and the resulting homemade variations
that keep popping up,” he states. This is where NOV’s relationship with Snap-on, which
came into full effect after the Wilson acquisition, has proven valuable for supplier, distributor, and end-user.
For Snap-on, oil and gas has become a critical industry focus, which led to the company
beefing up its offerings. Their sales managers and franchised distributors work with the
rigs individually, or in conjunction with distributors like NOV.
Nabors Industries, which operates nearly 500 rigs around the world, recently standardized on Snap-on, thanks in part to specialized tool kits (operational, electrical, and
mechanical), as well as their safety training programs and electronic billing. All have
combined to help streamline purchasing and inventory management for the drilling and
energy management giant.
“Our custom kitting is done down in Kenosha, WI,” offers Michael Carr, Snap-on’s direc-
tor of industrial sales. “It’s a turnkey solution with each customer having their own part
numbers for each tool, along with unique, foam storage
assets for added accountability. The kits range from 80-
200 customized tools. Customers like Nabors will have
about five kits on every rig, depending on location, size,
and application,” he adds.
For all these reasons, along with their training programs and OSHA-compliant offerings, NOV buys directly
from Snap-on, essentially acting as a wholesaler for
their individual locations. “Initially, NOV’s sales teams
didn’t really know about the relationship with Snap-on,” states Stephens. “We need to continue educating
our sales staff and the customer about how they can
get a great brand from a high-quality distributor.” All
involved feel that as this industry segment continues to
grow, so will the partnership.
Close working relationships between distributors and
their customers, or suppliers and distributors, is nothing
new. However, as this situation attests, such a time-tested formula for success can continue to be the key in
optimizing new and growing market segments.