Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – Detroit Nut and Bolt Maker Expanding

May 14
00:00 2012


June 1, 1982 FIN –  A nut and bolt maker in Detroit is expanding. Not only that, but business has not been good and it thinks it is in the right place at the right time. And, yes, it is involved with automotive.
Highland Bolt & Nut Co., Utica, Michigan’s in a Detroit suburb —you drive past General Motors Technical Center and several big assembly plants on the way up to it. It sells directly to automotive, but to no other OEMs directly. The rest of its business is to distributors and importers.

Highland is part of the MNP group, which also includes MNP Manufacturing, Utica Washers, and Steel & Wire Corp.

It has just received three new high-speed National bolt makers, marking the last step in a complete switchover to high-speed equipment. Over the past year Highland has installed five new National high-speed headers and the three bolt-makers. Adding these to the four it already had gives it a total of seven high-speed bolt makers. “I think we have more high-speed bolt makers than anybody else in this country,” Larry Berman, president, tells FIN. The Canadians have more, he says: “I think Infasco has 11 and Ingersoll has got seven or eight.”

“Highland makes 100% standard cap screws,” Berman says, “and we’re competing against foreign producers, the Canadians and the Japanese. First of all with high-speed equipment. Second, with the people we have, the relationship we have. We run our company similarly to what has become known as the Japanese style. We have a no-layoff policy. It is somewhat like Quality Circles, but not that formalized. Basically, we are trying to eliminate that barrier between so-called management and labor and just say, ‘It’s everybody’s company and everybody has to make the company successful.'”

Because they run only standard products, they “are really doing what the Japanese and Canadians are doing. They’re making standard product. They have long production runs. They are able to get high efficiency off their machines because of that. The question is: Why shouldn’t we be able to compete?”

In passing, he took exception to the statement by Sid Goodwin, president of Ace Industrial Hardware, at a panel at the Columbia fastener show that none of the exhibitors were displaying any standards (see Fastener Industry News, Page 2). Highland, of course, was.

Berman says that 1981 was a record year for Highland. “December, January and February of this year were fair. March was a record month April was an excellent month. This month (May), the distributor market is really down.

“It seems like Detroit is picking up substantially. Automotive is getting very busy. Detroit seems to be the bright spot in the country now. The rest of the country seems to be really depressed.”

Despite this sudden twist, Highland plans to continue with its policy of getting more heavily into distribution, less into automotive. ©1990/2012 Fastener Industry News

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