Global Fastener News

1984 FIN – Fastener Industry’s First On-Line National Inventory System

August 11
00:00 2010


By Dick Callahan

March 28, 1984 FIN – The Fastener Network system is the long awaited solution to the fastener industry’s need for a nationally integrated and perpetually updated inventory availability system. With the system requiring no prior computer experience, it is the most cost effective marketing/procurement tool ever made available to the fastener distributor, manufacturer or importer.
In order to access the FN system, a company will need a minimal amount of computer hardware. In the case of companies currently possessing some basic computer equipment, it is likely that little or no additional equipment will be necessary.

If a company currently possesses no computer hardware, going on line with the FN system requires the purchase of lease of an RS232 compatible dumb terminal and a 1200 baud modem. The purchase cost of this equipment is $1,000. A small printer is also available at an additional cost of $525. The printer is not necessary to operate the system.

System Features

Becoming a member of the FN system allows the user to execute several important marketing and procurement functions. One of the most basic of which is advertising the price and availability of prime and hard to find items from a member’s inventory (price is optional). The availability of his inventory will be displayed along with that of all other subscribers wishing to advertise the same item. This information is available for display on any other subscriber’s in-house computer terminal upon demand in less than 60 seconds.

When a subscriber inquires into the system regarding the availability of a particular item, the system will display all of the vendors offering the specific size of the item he is looking for. The display will show all the various platings, materials and other potential variations of the item.

The system also allows the seller from his in-house terminal to add, delete or revise any of his inventory availability information at any time. New or revised information is available to be viewed by all members of the system immediately.

When a buyer has completed the evaluation of all the possible vendors on a given time, he will select those most qualified and then negotiate the terms of the impending sale over the phone in the traditional manner.

The FN system is also designed to allow the subscriber to advertise inventory on a Hot List. The Hot List is reserved for subscribers to display items that are extremely well priced, of large quantity of that are currently in high demand. The objective is to focus a high degree of national attention to the item being advertised and facilitate a speedy sale. The truly “Hot” nature of the list will be preserved by requiring listors to pay a daily fee in order to display an item on the list. It is anticipated that the Hot List will become the industry’s most cost effective and potent marketing tool for promoting the fast turnover of any item.

The final element of the basic FN system is the Want List. This list is designed to facilitate subscribers in the solicitation of specific quotations from new vendors. The Want List will be especially useful when the subscriber is faced with unacceptable price of availability terms on a current or future inventory requirement. Under these circumstances the subscriber can define the quantity, price and other terms of delivery he is in need of, and make that information available to all potential vendors participating in the system. Most large vendors will print a copy of the Want List each morning, and examine it for potential opportunities to quote within their product lines.

FN will also offer its subscribers several additional features. All subscribers will receive, at no charge, a monthly sales activity report. This report shows the beginning and ending inventory levels of every item that a subscriber has advertised on the system during a given month. The report allows the subscriber to constantly evaluate the cost effectiveness of his participation in the system. In addition, it gives him a tool with which to monitor whether his company’s inventory is being updated quickly and accurately. This report should make the well informed manager aware of any item that has been recently sold, but whose inventory level has not been adjusted.


System Costs

The basic system costs the subscriber $200 per month which includes 4 hours of inquiry time on the computer, and 4 hours of telephone time from the subscriber’s terminal to Denver. It also includes 500 line items of storage. All overtime and additional storage charges are billed on a per minute or per line basis respectively. As part of the initial service agreement FN offers the subscriber a 90-day money-back guarantee of satisfaction.

The system will commence full operation on June 1, 1984. At that time the database will contain a minimum of 75,000 line items and 75 participating companies. These companies will include importers, manufacturers and distributors representing every major product line and region of the United States and Canada. By the end of 1984 it is expected that over 400 companies will be participating in the FN system. By the end of 1985 that number is expected to reach 1,000.

The FN system is the most significant innovation made in the fastener industry over the past 10 years. The system will allow buyers and sellers to collectively benefit from the increasingly national scope of the fastener business. As a result of this powerful marketing and procurement tool, the necessary foundation can be established from which the industry can focus attention on its most critical problem and prominent challenge – inventory control.

The main offices of Fastener Network are in Englewood, Colorado. The company also has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.  ©1984/2010 Fastener Industry News



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