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What to Consider When Choosing Your Fastener Supplier

According to a report by Fortune Insights Business, the global fastener market is projected to reach $106 billion by 2028 from $76.70 billion in 2020. That’s assuming a 4.2% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2021–2028.

Many established fastener suppliers operate in the sector, alongside new entrants. The business models used by these fastener suppliers vary. Some companies have little more than a call center and a nice website, while others have a global footprint.

Naturally, the level of support offered between these two extremes varies significantly. That can make searching for a good fastener supplier difficult. This guide will discuss important considerations for selecting a quality driven fastener supplier for your business that serves as a partner.

Take the Time to Understand Your Objectives

Needs and Program requirements vary by company. With that in mind, criteria to consider include: 

Effective program management and flexibility to meet your needs. A fastener supplier needs to work with you as a partner to provide the service that fits your needs. They should offer services such as Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), consignment inventory, or blanket purchase orders. They need to be agile to achieve your objectives.

On-Time Delivery (OTD) is also critical. Your fastener supplier needs to deliver your products on the agreed delivery date. To ensure OTD, the supplier needs flexible logistics and a close relationship with the companies in its supply chain. Many companies lack this, which results in a delay in deliveries when issues like supply shortages or higher freight shipping costs arise. 2021 and the challenges many in industry are tasked with magnifies the need. There may be some speed bumps given the logistical challenges many of us face, but can your supplier be agile and act as a partner to resolve issues?

Application engineering serves as a resource to you should recommendations be needed regarding component performance or reductions with in-placement costs. 

Vet Suppliers for Quality & Process

When sourcing fasteners, you need to be sure you are working with a reputable company that delivers quality fasteners, bolts, screws, clamps, and other components. There are many elements to this. Your fastener supplier should be quality and process focused to ensure the quality of the products they sell. They should have a Quality Management System (QMS) to manage the processes and flow-down that integrates supply chain inspections and lot traceability. 

Global supply chains are also complex, and there are always risks of supply chain disruptions. You need a supplier with strong relationships with manufacturers and all companies that operate in their supply chain. Partnering with a company with global supply chain management expertise mitigates the risk of disruptions resulting from sourcing impacting your operations. 

You will need a framework for vetting your fastener supplier. Some points to consider when reviewing a supplier include:

  • Do they have a QMS?
  • Are they certified in their QMS? ISO? IATF?
  • Do they have product flow down to facilitate the product certifications and lot control you require?
  • Do they provide solid input with respect to First Article Inspection reports?
  • Do they use statistical process control?
  • Do they conduct manufacturer and supply chain risk assessments?
  • How do they assess and reduce supply chain risks?
  • Do they have application support to enhance your quality and reduction in -placement cost efforts? 
  • Do they maintain the investment needed in the Supply chain to avoid product disruption?

You will need to audit your chosen fastener supplier regularly as well. If your supplier has issues with execution on delivery or quality, it could be time to seek an alternative fastener supplier.

Procuring & Sourcing the Fasteners You Require

You need a fastener supplier that invests in the fasteners in your pipeline and can source the products you require. That should be straightforward for the most common types of washers, bolts, and screws. It’s more difficult when you have custom requirements or need fasteners that align with certification standards. 

A company with strong links to a diverse range of manufacturers will find sourcing fasteners that meet the necessary certification standards and compliances easier. They should also have an adequate supply of safety stock available to ensure your immediate needs are always met. 

That level of service is something that many of the large distribution houses do not provide. Fastbolt does provide this type of service. Moreover, we go the extra mile by offering additional assistance where needed. For example, we have applications engineers who work with you to understand your specific technical requirements. Our engineers provide pre- and post-sales support. 

Invested in Your Long Term Service

Finally, choose a supplier that prioritizes long-term partnerships. Your fastener supplier is a strategic business partner. You want to work with a company that provides the support you need to succeed.

The right fastener supplier will focus on understanding your business needs, be strategic with you in procuring specialty or proprietary products, and deliver the products you requested on time. Moreover, strategic partners will invest time in strengthening that business relationship and make the investments needed in the continuous improvement of the relationship.

Summing Up

Choosing the strategic supplier for your fastener requirements can be difficult. With so many companies in the market, you may not know what to look for. 

This post discussed some of the key attributes you should consider before you select a supplier. 

Fastbolt is one of the few companies that check all these boxes. We have provided expert fastener services for nearly 50 years for end-users such as Boeing, Amazon, Tesla, and Chrysler for many years. Our supply chain is agile and dynamic, and we have a customer-centric approach in all we do. If you’re interested in learning more about Fastbolt, we are here and ready to partner with you.

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