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Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years? 5696

No Life Club Posts: 1,956 Marsh-wiggle
Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« on: June 09, 2007, 02:35:17 AM »
Just wondered what all your thoughts are. For me, it's easy to picture Vic multis staying almost the same for quite a while, but LM seems to like inovating and creating new tools. Do you think LM will still be producing any of the current models for years and years. Also, they really seem to have most of the multi-tool market already covered: from the squirt to the surge, micra to the core. And they have pruners, wirestrippers, and knife/tools as well. So where do you think they'll go from here? More of the same, more options within the same framework, branching out into new products, or even scaling back?


Jr. Member Posts: 96
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2007, 02:39:21 AM »
lightsaber's  ;D .

I think they will be moving the material's forward using better steel's for the tool's and therefore being able to create tool's not possible before. whilst also making there tool's lighter and stronger.

I can't see many innovation's they have left without repeating and or copying .

[
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 60,335 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2007, 03:15:17 AM »
Repeating and copying are fine in my books.  I don't mind a design staying around for years if it works.  Innovation for the sake of innovating is nice and all, but it gets expensive and as a consumer without a limited budget, it can be overwhelming.

When you get right down to it, the only real changes since the beginning are a few more tools, better materials, fancier ways to access them and locking implements.  Most of them are the same tools rehashed to look different or refined out of need, but basically they are more or less true to the original design of the PST.

I can see Leatherman experimenting with some different lock designs, some other materials (plastics are advancing at amazing rates, as are ceramics), and maybe some of the assisted opening gizmos that are all the rage in the knife world right now.  I would also be surprised if they don't start going the way Victorinox is with some small electronics attached to them, although I don't see them going too far into it.  Maybe an integrated USB flash drive, alarm clock/altimeter or mp3 player.  Failing that, I could see them offered as package deals with these kinds of items to introduce them to a younger crowd.  Imagine a small Photon style light built into the handle so you could fix things in the dark?  Remember, Tim Leatherman designed the PST as an emergency type tool for fixing your car at the side of the road. 

Heck, someday you might be surfing Multitool.org on your new Leatherman Projection PDA!

Def

Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,281
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2007, 05:15:21 AM »
I see Leatherman's product line going through some major changes, which will certainly continue into the future if they wish to survive. They recognized about ten years ago that the PST size plier-type multitool market was saturated. Everyone who could possible want a multitool already had one or more.

Leatherman's response was the little Micra, a huge marketing success. After that came the Juice line, a smaller frame with pretty colors that both genders would purchase and enjoy. Then they made the big plunge into the folding knife market, which from all indications has been another big winner. Meanwhile Leatherman continues to produce their staple plier multitools, but sells fewer and fewer of them each year. In 2006 the number of people employed by Leatherman was about 100 fewer than the heydays of the 1990's.

As their folding knife venture begins to mature and taper off, Leatherman will need to innovate in order to stay on top. Pruner tools like the Hybrid and Vista are interesting, but not nearly enough to make a difference. The one huge advantage that Leatherman has over much of their competition is brand name recognition, coupled with a powerful distribution network. The big-box department stores in my area (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) all carry Leatherman products. A few carry Gerber stuff. None carry Victorinox.

Sorry for the long rambling post, but I predict Leatherman will expand into new areas, trying to capitalize on their name and distribution network. Camping axes, flashlights, fixed blade knives, smaller folding knives, wrench tools or other ordinary hand tools, any of these might be areas they move into in order to maintain sales levels.

Only time will tell whether they will be successful.

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 1,895
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2007, 07:12:13 AM »
(Warning: Small rant below.)

Well, at the rate they're going their basic bottom-end multitool (i.e. Fuse) will weigh 15 pounds and feature only a pliers and a folding lanyard ring. The sheath will be made of tissue paper and will be a one size fits all affair, leaving the smaller tools too rattle around and the large tools to pop the rivets after a few uses.  :P

Apologies, I've been thinking about their current line and am a little miffed that one has to go all the way up to the Blast to see a full-size file or a saw. The Fuse/Kick are almost exactly the same size as the PST/PSTII/Pulse but do not feature equal implements. There is a lot of wasted space in the Fuse/Kick that could be used very effectively while keeping the bulk and weight down.

(Resume reading; rant has now ended.)

But in seriousness I think there is a lot of room to grow in both overall design and implement design. The USB drive suggestion above is spot-on in this vein. High power LEDs are getting smaller, and much more efficient. How long before we see a Luxeon fold out LED that is no wider than the current phillips driver but many multitudes brighter than the 5mm LEDs used by Gerber in some of their multi-tools? There is growth for materials too, better knife steel, G10/Micarta/etc. use in the handle scales, ergonomics akin to a good Spyderco knife, and so forth. Leatherman is touching on many of these areas and I expect them to flesh out some of these ideas in the future. Maybe they'll even come out with their own line of flashlights to complement their tools?
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 60,335 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2007, 12:55:35 PM »
Flashlights and knives seem to go well together, and multitools are usually a few years behind the knife industry.  With light companies like Surefire getting into knives, and knife companies getting into lights (Victorinox, Wenger) it probably won't be long until we see some Leatherman flashlights, either coupled with the tool or just Leatherman brand lights.

Leatherman is also likely to start producing some (more) Leatherman branded watches, and selling them in broader markets.  I can see them being similar to (and possibly provided by) Timex or Casio because they keep with the "tough" type reputation of multitools.

Def

No Life Club Posts: 1,956 Marsh-wiggle
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2007, 02:41:16 PM »
Hey, I really like the electronics direction you guys are talking about!  :) I'd love to see a LM line of flashlights, and I think it could really work out for them too. Most people don't really know about modern (last few years) led flashlights, but LM might have the name recognition and distribution to bring it to their attention.

I agree with the thoughts that they will probably have to branch out to stay competative, although I do think there is some room left for growth and marketing of their multi-tools. I work construction and am surprised by how many guys have never seen or used a multi-tool!. I carry a LM Kick and my coworker calls it my McGiver Tool because he didn't know what else to call it! (A Kick for crying out loud! Thats as bare-bones as it gets!) I handed it with the knife open to a contractor who builds house for a living, and when he went to close it, he just gave it a confused glance and handed it back to me to close it. So it seems to me there could still be some potential there, and  I would guess there are also some other untapped markets in hunting, fishing, gardening, etc.

I also think it would be cool if they experimented with higher end materials (fancy steels/handle materials), but I wonder if there would be enough of a market to make money that way. I noticed when they advertised the first Charge models, they emphasized the great material used- highlighting the bronze, titanium, and diamond but not the 154cm which was the most important one in my opinion! Most people wouldn't know, let alone care, what g10 or ZDP189 is, although a lot of us knife/multi-tool folk they're pretty cool!
No Life Club Posts: 1,458 4x4 since '74
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2007, 05:15:21 PM »
They will probably be making more parts or entire tools in countries with inexpensive labor.

I hope they will be using lighter weight materials which are as strong as today's stainless steel.

In 20 or 30 years, there may be a need for new types of tools to manipulate new fastener designs which we cannot envision now.  (Torx fasteners weren't popular 30 years ago.)

Retired engineer, author.

A man with one multitool always knows exactly which to use. A man with many multitools is never quite sure. - parnass
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 60,335 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2007, 05:17:22 PM »
What I wonder about, and this might be getting a little OT, but twenty years ago we started to hear about plastics that were stronger than steel.  It might be nice to see a multitool made with one of these plastics, although I imagine they are still pretty pricey.

Def

No Life Club Posts: 3,998 Improvise.
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2007, 06:20:37 PM »
Whatever they do, I hope they don't "do a Gerber" and start making cheap tools overseas, then stamp their name on it.  Quality over quantity IMO...I hope they don't cheapen their name.

Over the course of 30 years, I'm sure there will be some design flops we'll all laugh at and keep as collectables, but there will be a lot more design innovations we'll all buy and use. 

One major thing Leatherman can do is make a one handed opening plier.  Another move they can make is have their tools be user servicable...use a standard 6 point torx bit, or a 1/4" bolt in the construction and let the guy who actually BUYS and USES the tool either modify it, loosen/tighten it, or take it apart for cleaning...even if they use those common fasteners in a "high end" line so they can be somewhat sure if a guy drops $100 on a tool, he takes it seriously and won't %^&*# it up and ask for it to be repaired.  Then again...some people have money to burn :-X

Things like better materials aren't really necissary really...has anyone broken their steel with their bare hands?  I'd actually buy a heavier tool over a lighter one for one reason only...theft!  If I have pliers that weigh .25 oz clipped on my back pocket..I wounden't notice if it was gone.  As it is now, if my seemingly 1 lb Powerlock leaves my hip there's a noticable diffrence ;D  I like the feel of a heavier tool also.

[
No Life Club Posts: 1,956 Marsh-wiggle
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2007, 07:25:17 PM »
+1 on hoping that LM doesn't "do a gerber".
No Life Club Posts: 1,593
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2007, 08:22:28 PM »
I really like the way leatherman has a special 'charge' series, with which it experiments, and uses different material, such as titanium, and special steels. Of course this makes the tools more expensive, but I really like the way leatherman goes for it 100%, makes the tools nice and different, and puts a more expensive price tage on them, if you want the wierd stuff you have the charges, if you want pretty much the same tool, but without the special stuff, you have the Wave and its daddy, the Surge (both great tools in their own right).

So I hope LM will keep with this, and as Def is saying, it would be quite awesome to see some very wierd and wonderful materials being used.

I think the Freestyle LM will release at the end of this year looks very exciting, and shows some good, clear, innovative thinking from LM. The way in which tools are normally made more and more complex, with more and more parts to them is totally reversed with the minimalist design of the Freestyle, and shows that LM do really notice which tools people use, which they don't and that bodes well for all tools they make.

So it would be really exciting to see the direction LM take the freestyle in, maybe itll be a one off, maybe theyll spawn a whole line of tools from them.

And their knives are also awesome, which I think is a very good thing since it means they can appraoch multitools from different angles, ones based around a knife, or ones around pliers, and as they have shown, they are not affraid to base their tools around other instruments such as scissors, or shears, or special wire cutter heads. And of course the Crunch, which is an awesome tool, and quite unique. The Crunch II should vbe very interesting.

I really do think Leatherman will do well in the future, I think they are going down the right lines, and they have such a wide variety of tools, that almost everyone can find something to suit their needs. I just wish the quality of their tools stays top notch.
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,281
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2007, 02:01:00 AM »
I too am looking forward to the Freestyle. It has a lot of potential, both as a minimalist tool, and as a starting platform from which to launch other tools and features. I just pray to gosh that they don't cheapen it up and bring out some hunk of junk.

Quality must always be the priority.

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 3,592 Supreme Planetary Overlord trainee
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2007, 02:44:37 AM »
 LM has no apparent qualms about innovation,I think we all agree about that. Another thing I'm seeing,is that people are afraid that LM may end up cheapening the the quality of their product lines,and there already seems to be grumblings about that.
My big hope is that Leatherman keeps a tight reign over the licensing of their name,and avoid the same route that Remington,and Winchester licensed products have gone down,i.e. dragging down grand old illustrious names with some really cheap junk.

I
No Life Club Posts: 3,998 Improvise.
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2007, 03:15:04 AM »
Does anyone know where their line of knives is made?

I'm curious because the quality is top notch for the price, but nowhere on the box does it say where it's made...if it was made in the USA, I'd think it would be in bold letters somewhere.

[
No Life Club Posts: 1,956 Marsh-wiggle
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2007, 03:59:13 AM »
I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But I think that if it was made somewhere outside the US it would have to say that. Since it doesn't say anything I'm assuming that it was made in the USA, but used some parts/materials from other countries, which I believe is what they've always done.
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,281
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2007, 01:12:25 PM »
I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But I think that if it was made somewhere outside the US it would have to say that. Since it doesn't say anything I'm assuming that it was made in the USA, but used some parts/materials from other countries, which I believe is what they've always done.

From what I have read and learned on the subject, NeitherExtreme is spot-on with his explanation.

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 1,956 Marsh-wiggle
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2007, 02:19:59 AM »
Do you think LM is trying to hit a new market with the Freestyle, or just puting out a new product for existing customers? If so, what marekts do you think would like the Freestyle?
No Life Club Posts: 3,592 Supreme Planetary Overlord trainee
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2007, 06:34:38 AM »
Do you think LM is trying to hit a new market with the Freestyle, or just puting out a new product for existing customers? If so, what marekts do you think would like the Freestyle?
I'm glad you brought this point up. Personally I think LM is aiming at current multi users that found they don't really need a full array of tools onboard their multi,and aiming at the same time at newcomers to the market that might be daunted by that same array.
 I know for myself, I'm getting more excited about the Freestyle,not only is it esthetically pleasing,but it fits my usage nearly perfectly.Of all tools on a multi,I find myself using blade,pliers,and drivers the most. Since I always have a Vic Manager on the keyring,I'm covered  for scissors,and with the Freestyle,if I think I might be in circumstances where a saw or file could come into play,I can slip a SAK in the pocket.

I
No Life Club Posts: 1,956 Marsh-wiggle
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2007, 01:50:11 AM »
Bison56, that's pretty much what I see as well. I was just wondering if someone saw more to it than I did. I am also looking forward to seeing one of these in person!
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,281
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2007, 11:55:30 PM »
I too am looking forward to seeing how Leatherman executes the Freestyle. I hope to heck they do it up right, top quality. The concept is sound; the goal being to put only the most essential functions into as lightweight of tool as possible.

I'm anxious.


In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,281
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2007, 07:53:41 PM »
I can't seem to find the link now...but I'm certain I read somewhere that there were going to be several variations of the Freestyle, including one made from titanium. Super strong and lightweight; that would be awesome!

I wonder though if they would just construct the frame from titanium? Or might they use it for the plier head too? Knife blade?

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 1,593
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2007, 11:11:09 PM »
All titanium? Would certainly be amazing, and I would like to see Dunc complain about that LM rusting  >:D ! However, I am sure a tool like that would have an absurdly high price range, more than most of us would like, or even be able to spend  :(
No Life Club Posts: 1,064
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2007, 11:18:15 PM »
In 10 years I see LM in Portland, Oregon.


I hope they improve the rust issues though.

[
No Life Club Posts: 1,956 Marsh-wiggle
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2007, 02:31:19 AM »
Have our flashlight guesses been confirmed?

From the latest newletter:

K500L/K501L Folding Knife
This folding knife is predicated on one of our most popular existing Leatherman models, the k500x/k501x (an even number indicates a straight blade and odd indicates a combination straight/serrated blade). For this latest model, we've added a versatile and convenient LED light feature that can be used while remaining attached to the body of the knife, or removed to clip on anywhere. A pivoting head allows you to direct the light as you need it. The premium quality blade is 154CM stainless steel, and the hidden carabiner doubles as the best bottle opener we've ever made.

Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,281
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2007, 03:49:25 AM »
Hmmm, could be. That does seem like a sensible concept.

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 60,335 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2007, 03:50:00 AM »
"No Longer Will Leatherman Customers Be In The Dark!"

Def

No Life Club Posts: 1,348 Right Wing Psychopath!
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2007, 04:28:11 PM »
I would like to see leatherman make their tools with a little more precision.  I am an accuracy freak and love perfection although it is rarely achieved by anyone.  Victorinox has em all beat in this category.  I compare leatherman tools to the AK-47.  They are not the most pretty.  There is no tight fit and the materials are a little less than ideal.  However, that is not to say that I do not like their product.  It works and they have great ideas.  I would like to see better blade steel in all of their blades.  Better fit and finish would be a plus as this would reduce the amount of "rattle."  Overall, I see leatherman tools getting better with time if they listen to their customers.   
Sr. Member Posts: 297

AJ

****
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2007, 04:49:58 PM »
In 10 years I see LM in Portland, Oregon.


I hope they improve the rust issues though.

I sure hope they are still in the US in 10 years.


[
No Life Club Posts: 1,348 Right Wing Psychopath!
Re: Where do you see LM in 10, 20, or 30 years?
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2007, 06:47:32 AM »
I definately would like to see Leatherman in the states for all time.  I like USA made goods.  I believe that American craftsmanship is of the highest quality.  However, we Americans have gotten lazy.  I believe that some and not all have gotten away from their "can do" attitude lately they do not take pride in their work as they once did.  My great grandfather missed not one single day of work is some 50+ years of work at the ceramic pipe factory.  The 1 day that he left early he was not feeling well, he died later that day from a stomach anurisim. 

I know that I am drifting a little off topic but I witness this phenomenon first hand everyday.  I am not bragging, but I work very very hard everyday to insure that I do the highest quality work (it runs in the family) there is never a day when I do not give 100% to what I am doing.  There are others that work with me that really dont care yet they wonder why they recieve such low marks at their job.       

 

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