Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – Bulten’s New Name: Bossard International

February 06
00:00 2013


September 9, 1982 FIN – Bossard International. Inc., brought 17 manufacturers’ reps from around the country to its new headquarters in Brookfield Center, Conn., and meet with both its U.S. executives and Heinrich Bossard, chief executive officer of the Swiss parent.
Until September 1, Bossard International was called 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.
Heinrich Bossard – using the Americanized “Henry” on his nametag – asked the reps to “Excuse my Swinglish, a combination of Swiss and English.”
He recalled that Bossard had been serving the U.S. market for about ten years by airfreight, 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,” Bossard said.
“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.,” he narrated. “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 recently 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, Bossard national sales manager Paul Brite tells FIN. “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 catalog, 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 an open distributor basis. In addition, Bossard, International will be handling part of its parent’s line of tools. The Swiss distributor has 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 systems.
“As a neophyte company, we won’t start out that way,” says John Sutherland, vice president and general manager of Bossard International.
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,” Sutherland explains. “If you give it a certain number, it could be stainless, it could be brass, aluminum, and 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.  ©1982/2013 Fastener Industry News
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1982 FIN � Sutherland: Bossard Doubling Inventory
April 2, 1982 FIN – Bulten International Inc., recently purchased by the Swiss company, Bossard Group, is doubling its inventory at a new Connecticut location, John M. Sutherland, the new vice president & general manager, announced.
Bulten – previously owned by the Swedish company Bulton-Kanthal, is opening at 81 Commerce Rd., Brookfield Center, Conn. 06805.
The phone numbers are (203) 743-1431 and (800) 243-7422.
Sutherland had been general manager of Woodward Co., a steel service center and fastener distributor,
Sutherland has been interviewing for a sales manager for Bulten International, he told FIN.
The Brookfield center location has about 21,000 sq ft. Inventory is being nearly doubled, he says, to some 5,000 to 9,000 items.
This will be backed up by the Swiss parent company’s inventory of 35,000 separate fasteners.
It is all metric.
Sutherland believes Bossard is the largest distributor of metric fasteners in the world. It distributes fasteners all over Europe and now wants to cover the U.S.
The parent company, founded in 1831 and now owned by the sixth generation of the Bossard family, has divisions distributing fasteners, tools and craftwork supplies as well as a construction company. I
Bossard takes particular pride in its detailed fastener catalog – nearly 1,500 pages.
An American version is now being prepared but the English-French version (English as in England, not here) will be used until it is ready.
Fasteners are bought all over the world, manufactured to Bossard’s standards, with head markings and traceability. “They have extremely tight quality control,” Sutherland says. “Their standards are very rigid and in this country, frankly, the standards aren’t quite that tight. They have a quality control and engineering group, which distributors don’t have. They won’t drop the quality of the product to meet some of the demands of this market, which requires less. We won’t have a dual inventory arrangement, which is a handicap at times because you have some pricing inflexibility.”
Kenthal, a manufacturer, is among Bossard’s suppliers. At present, Bulten has inventory acquired with the company (Bulten has recently been buying from all over the world, not just the parent company in Sweden) plus stock from its new Swiss parent.
Sutherland told FIN the people in Connecticut are not buying except to fill immediate urgent needs. But at some point shipments will be taken directly here.
And Sutherland says that one of his responsibilities will be to seek out U.S. fastener manufacturers as sources of supply. Because of fluctuating exchange rates, the company likes to develop multiple sources.
Other than Sutherland and the new sales manager, the people remain the same. The name will change, however. In its agreement with Bulten-Kenthal, it is required to relinquish use of the Bulten name by September 1. Then, it will change to “Bossard-something”, they haven’t decided quite what yet.
Using both names at the Columbus fastener show, Bulten will have Heinrich Bossard, Jakob Klusser, headof the fastener group, and other top people from Switzerland in its booth.
Bulten has inventories in Chicago and Los Angeles now and will have them other places later. Later it also will be servicing Canada. It sells through manufacturers’ reps to distributors. ©1982/2013 Fastener Industry News
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