Global Fastener News

1981 FIN – New Jersey’s Fastbolt Going National By Opening in Sun Belt

January 23
00:00 2010


June 10, 1981 FIN – Fastener distributor Fastbolt Corp. plans to become a national fastener manufacturer within five years.
The Hackensack, N.J.-based Fastbolt will first open branch warehouses in the Sun Belt in the next two years, director of marketing Arnold Rofheart told Fastener Industry News.

“Our customers are there. Your friend, the buyer, has now moved to the Sun Belt,” Rofheart observed. “If you want to keep the account, the continuity, the relationship, you’ve got to have a presence out there.”
Fastbolt is looking at Florida, Texas and California, Rofheart told FIN.

“Then we will start high-technology manufacturing,” Rofheart continued. “And then we will combine the two, giving us national coverage as a manufacturer.”

Fastbolt also is moving ahead with quality control. It has put in a quality control laboratory, partially to pick up some defense business, partially because they see quality controlled fasteners as generally a growth market.

“We’ve already seen the benefit of the Reagan defense plan,” Rofheart explained. “We do a lot of work in the aerospace field and we’ve seen a significant pick up there. We have concentrated on electronics which is strong, and some of the energy related markets.”

“If you are going to do business with Hughes Aircraft, they are going to come down and inspect your building,” Rofheart pointed out. “That’s a part of this business most general distributors do not go after. What they look for essentially is not price, but quality and delivery. Usually, delivery is the first criteria.”
“A lot of the major corporations are buying off of computers and get out vendor analysis sheets,” Rofheart told FIN. “All of a sudden these rejects come up: 47% of your shipments the last two months have been rejected. Before, you could bury it because nobody knew what was going on.”

Fastbolt has moved its quality control program up to the use of bonded inventory: pre-inspected parts meeting military specs kept under lock and key. The next step will be a move to nuclear quality, requiring more documentation.
Rofheart sees a growing nuclear fastener market despite the doldrums that the industry is in.

He sees the fastener industry continuing to be made up of relatively small “Ma & Pa” candy store type operations, even though they may be multi-million-dollar companies.
“This business doesn’t lend itself to conglomerate operations,” Rofheart finds. “The secret of this business is to be able to move fast, react to market changes.”
He cited current changes as more offshore fasteners, lead times and a trend to stainless steel.
“If you have to run a company by committee as you do in a conglomerate situation, and go back to the board of directors for funding or any change of direction, by the time you are ready to act you have already lost out in the market place,” he noted.

Rofheart believes the secret to Japan’s success in the fastener industry is – aside from newer, higher speed equipment – is that it has a “‘cottage industry’ set up: a lot of small shops each with a couple of headers. One runs 2s and 4s, another guy will make 6s and 8s. What they do, they do economically, with longer runs and they aren’t breaking the machines down as often. The trading companies pull the cottage industries together and offer a product line. It’s a super way of doing it,” Rofheart explained.
Cold headers in the U.S. are using equipment that is 50 or 60 years old, he pointed out.

One reason for Rofheart’s optimism about Fastbolt is that although the company is basically a distributor it does a lot of engineered selling, where it designs products to be made.
“Domestic manufacturers have to get more sophisticated,” he advised. “The trend is going to be to sell high technology fasteners with better performance, higher reliability – it’s part of the whole crusade to build things that don’t fall apart. The industry is going to get more management conscious, more quality conscious.”

Fastbolt is also lucky because it is borrowing at the prime rate while a lot of competitors have to pay five to six points more. Most people tell him their “number one problem is the cost of money, not that there is any lack of business. Autos are down and so are construction and white goods. But electronics, aerospace and defense are all good, as are oil and solar energy. You’ve got to be able to maneuver.” ©1981/2010 Fastener Industry News

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