FIRST LOOK: Bosch System Specialist Initiative Spotlights Nation’s Top Distributors

By Todd Fratzel on Power Tools

Bosch System Specialist (BSS) Program

Sometimes you walk into a power tool distributor and you just know there are good things happening. That’s the experience I had recently when I spent an afternoon in Columbus, OH with Jay Amstutz from Ohio Power Tool. Founded by Jay’s parents Jim and Suzanne Amstutz 27 years ago, Ohio Power Tool is known among customers throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and beyond for having a fantastic range of products in stock and for having the high level in-house experts to support even the most complicated of those products. The Amstutz family also has a reputation for their willingness to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to business practices. Just take a look at their fast-growing online retail portal and the tool review blog Jay Amstutz launched three years ago (

When I read about Bosch’s new Bosch System Specialist (BSS) program and the types of distributors Bosch is targeting with the program, it was no surprise that Ohio Power Tool was one of the first 20 retailers in the United States to receive the BSS designation and the accompanying reset of the dealer’s Bosch inventory and merchandising.

Although Jay had told me I was going to be surprised, and he was right. The best way to describe the BSS store-within-a-store setup is “smart.” Visitors will immediately recognize just how logical the layout is and how easy it is to navigate between various types of tools and accessories. Working from left to right, the tools are arranged from rough and burly to subtle and precise, starting with Bosch’s large angle grinders and rotary hammers across to recip saws and circ saws, on across through impact drivers, drill-drivers, jigsaws and eventually landing on the manufacturer’s popular line of 12V cordless tools. The same is true for accessories, working left-to-right, rough-to-finish. The center floor space is reserved for Bosch’s benchtop products and the intelligent, open layout enables customers to walk around all sides of the miter saws, table saws and stands to really get a feel for them. The labeling throughout is uncluttered and easy-to-read, and interpretive materials and video loops designed to help customers make informed purchases are strategically placed amid the clean-looking racks and shelves. Truly, there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place.

For a distributor that deals in everything from small drill bits to large-format hydraulic cutting and coring rigs costing tens of thousands of dollars, the level of organization the BSS set brings to a large portion of the Ohio Power Tools showroom is a welcome sight for the owners and their customers alike. But there’s more to the BSS program than just a store set. BSS dealers will be the first to debut new products, and they will offer exclusive promotions and special financing options. The service-after-the-sale experience gets a boost too with a loaner tool program and additional maintenance and repair capabilities. In other words, the power tool retail experience just got a whole lot quicker, simpler and more pleasant. And in these tough times, every little bit helps. While it will likely be several months before metrics are available, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a discernible impact on Ohio Power Tools’ bottom line when the 2011 numbers are crunched. Thanks, Jay, Jim and Suzanne for hosting me. You’ve got a winner on your hands.

More about Bosch’s BSS Program:

More about Ohio Power Tool (courtesy of Construction Distribution):

About the Author

Contributing columnist Bryan E. Wright is owner/senior strategist for beWright & Associates, a consulting firm based in Newport, Ky. that specializes in strategic marketing and public relations solutions for clients in the power tools, building products and home improvement industries. During his 20 years in the business, 10 spent solely in construction-related trade categories, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, including Bosch, SENCO, Paslode, Vermont American, Handyman Connection, Husqvarna and more. In addition to his posts here, watch for Wright’s regular news updates to appear at, starting in a few weeks, and follow his updates on Twitter at

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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