Hand-tool manufacturer Channellock’s history dates back to 1886 when George DeArment started the Meadville, Pa.-based company.

More than 125 years later, the now fifth-generation company continues to thrive thanks to a commitment to excellence in both the product it makes in its U.S.-based plants and the people it employs.

Channellock recently hosted its 2014 Fiercely Made in Meadville media event at company headquarters. Media members were given a thorough education on Channellock’s history and the great lengths it goes to make quality hand tools. Channellock manufacturers hand tools such as pliers, nippers, wrenches, screwdrivers and nut drivers. The company is known for its trademark blue handles. Attendees were shown how the blue handles are applied.

Channellock is now led by President and CEO Bill DeArment and his two sons. Jon DeArment is vice president of manufacturing and engineering, while Ryan DeArment is vice president of sales and marketing. Bill DeArment’s daughter, Joanie, also works for the company. Channellock has a roster of 360 full-time employees.

“This only happens here because we have good people,” Bill DeArment said. “If we don’t have good people, none of us would be here.”

Media members were given a tour of the company’s two Meadville manufacturing plants and were shown how a tool is made from the beginning die-cast to it being put in the carton for shipping.

Channellock has four key guiding principles it stresses throughout the organization — principles that date back to founder George DeArment:

  • Good management is never far from the factory floor.
  • People count more than machines.
  • Bigger does not always mean better.
  • Dedication to excellence is the surest way to surmount adversity and to prosper.

Point No. 2 was punctuated by a densely populated wall-of-fame at company headquarters that honors employees who have been with the company for long periods of time. In fact, Bill DeArment was honored for his long company tenure during the latter stages of the event.

That longevity, however, is something the company is aware could become an issue as its workforce continues to age. Channellock is being proactive on that front and has established a local apprentice program it hopes will help further feed the pipeline of young, skilled talent.

Channellock also has been proactive in the area of production efficiency. “A lot of adjustments have been made to our production processes,” Jon DeArment said. “We’re focused on lean manufacturing and making continuous improvements to our processes.”

As for the future, Bill DeArment sees plenty of opportunities for the company. “We think there is a lot of room left for selling tools,” he said.