Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – Bossard Meets with 17 U.S. Reps for Metric Education

May 08
00:00 2015

September 9, 1982 FIN  –  Bossard International Inc., brought 17 manufacturers’ reps from around the country to its new headquarters in Brookfield Center, Conn., got them together with both its U.S. executives and Heinrich (an Americanized “Henry” on his name tag) Bossard chief executive officer of the Swiss parent, and signed agreements. FIN tagged along through the festivities.

Bossard International was called, until September 1, Bulten International. The Swiss distributor of fasteners, tools, craft supplies and constructors bought the U.S. fastener distribution operation from the Swedish Bulten-Kenthal early this year. The new owners had until September to change the name.
Henry Bossard, apologizing “Excuse my Swinglish, a combination of Swiss and English,” recalled that they had been serving the U.S. market for about ten years by air freight, responding to orders from U.S. companies. “We were flattered to get orders from America, but we didn’t really know why we got them or how they found us. About five years ago the U.S. decided to join the same metric standardization as the rest of the world and we sent our first salesman to the U.S. We built up our market to ten metric tons by air per week and realized there must be a better and cheaper way to serve this market.”
Bossard handles strictly metric fasteners. It will sell strictly through distributors, reached by its just-forged network of manufacturers reps, including many of the better- known names in the industry. In the process, it will attempt to educate, first its reps, then their distributor customers, and finally the customers of the distributors on metric fasteners.

Bossard thinks the U.S. market is ripe for this, reporting that Ford is 50% converted. General Motors will be 100% by 1983, the hand-tool industry is now 25% converted, and tires will come in metric sizes by 1985.
To spread the word, Jacob Kluser, head of Bossard’s fasteners operation worldwide, was at the meeting of distributors. He is the only member of the International Standards Organization (ISO) committee on metric fasteners standards representing distribution rather than a manufacturer.
Bengt Blendulf, well-known consultant on metrics (formerly with Bulten, and just became a U.S. citizen), has been retained by Bossard to conduct seminars (the first of which was given to the new reps at Brookfield Center).
Having a wider range of metric fasteners available in the U.S. should also help says Paul Brite, national sales manager for Bossard International. “One difficulty in the metrification of the U.S. has been the limited number of items available to manufacturers,” he says. “There have been 8,000-10,000 line items available.”
The massive 700-plus pages Bossard catalogue, now available in the U.S. edition, carries some 35,000 items. An inventory of about 15,000 of these will be maintained in three warehouse-sales office centers in the U.S. in Brookfield Center, Chicago and Los Angeles. The other 20,000 items will be deliverable within ten days by air freight and sea.
Bossard plans to set up additional warehouse and sales office locations in the U.S. and Canada as markets develop. They will be selling on a open distributor basis. In
addition, Bossard International will be handling part of it’s parent’s line of tools. The Swiss distributor has as big a catalog of tools as it has of fasteners. They are mostly basic hand tools, but the company is moving in the direction of sophisticated measuring devices and electronic equipment for assembly and manufacturing. Initially, tools dealing with assembly will be offered by the U.S. subsidiary.
Since Bossard had already assigned its own parts numbers to its full line, computerizing the inventory has been relatively easy. The Swiss headquarters (in Züg, which is near Zurich) is building a fully automated computer controlled picking system.

“As a neophyte company, we won’t start out that way.” says John Sutherland, vice president and general manager of Bossard International. But its Qantel mini- computer hardware and software package doesn’t do badly: “We can ask for a given item and it offers all kinds of combinations. If you give it a certain number, it could be stainless, it could be brass, aluminum, it can find it. It is very accessible for pricing, for inventory, in trying to choose between one product and another, or finding an alternative. We can approach the part number from three or four different directions: a part number, a description, attributes.”
Bossard is offering one further spur to metrification. Seven days in Switzerland is the grand prize in a lottery. Distributors get a ticket, accumulative over 12 weekly drawings beginning October 1, every time they place an order for at least $50.  ©1982/2015 Fastener Industry News.
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