The MakitaTool Company began in 1915 in a small repair shop for electric tools and equipment; it was named Makita Electric Works. The shop prospered and later relocated from Nagoya, Japan to Sumiyoshi-cho, Japan in Anjo around 1945. The move to Anjo was made specifically to avoid allied air raid damage during World War Two. In 1958 Makita diversified itself and began to manufacture electric power tools, over a decade later Makita found great success as Japan’s leading power tool company. The Makita tool company credits its climb to success, to high standards, quality construction and design, frontier pushing research and development, and its own instrumental system of distribution.
Makita’s competitive distribution model comes from a decision by Makita to not rely on wholesalers to market their products to tool retailers, but instead become involved in employing a direct sales force of their own. This unique approach created a close relationship between the Makita Company and their clientele, which allowed them to collect needed insights that fueled innovation.
The power tools began in metal-brushed casings, but later found their true identity in the turquoise plastic casings we all know. Makita began to develop and construct power tools for professionals in carpentry, construction, timber, and the masonry trades. Makita found that in order to produce the high quality craftsmanship they desired in their tools, they would have to focus on the high end segment of the tool industry. This decision, ultimately boosted their margins and profitability, as well as their brands reputation. The 70’s and 80’s meant expansion for Makita into the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Austria, and Singapore. This is considered the beginning of Makita’s hey day that lasted through the mid nineties, during which they were able to capture 1/5 of the worldwide professional tool market.
As Makita grew, they expanded, by setting up plants in Canada, Brazil, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Makita soared as it established sales, distribution, and service operations in Spain, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Poland, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Korea. Then the Makita Company created plants in the United Kingdom in 1989 and China 1993. In 1997 Makita’s Chinese factory was burning the midnight oil as they rolled out 100,000 Makita Brand power tools a month! By the end of the 90’s Makita owned 150 product patents with hundreds of patents pending. Makita exited the 90’s by introducing an 18-volt cordless power tool line including a circular saw with a dust collector and 1.5 billion in sales.