Global Fastener News

1997 FIN – Fastener Supply Wins USA Today Award

July 29
00:00 2010

May 30, 1997 FIN – An 87% reduction in customer returns over the past three years earned Fastener Supply Corporation the 1997 RIT/USA Today Quality Cup Competition in the small business category and a feature in the national newspaper.

The competition, sponsored by USA Today and administered and judged by the Rochester Institute of Technology faculty, recognizes companies with outstanding quality accomplishments.

Reading, MA-based Fastener Supply was among 300 nominations and winning meant a feature article in USA Today.

Under the headline, “Fastener’s 3-prong plan yields perfection,” reporter Donna Rosato explained how 99% perfection wasn’t good enough for Fastener Supply’s customers, such as NASA.

“A fastener is a tiny part worth pennies, but defects can have major consequences,” Rosato wrote in the May 2, 1997, issue. A fastener defect “could shut down an auto assembly line. Or cause a $500,000 piece of switching equipment to disrupt phone service to thousands of customers.”

So George Danis, chairman of the Danis Group, which owns the 20-year-old, 16-employee Fastener Supply, made zero defects “an obsession.”

Though Fastener Supply hadn’t received complaints from any of its 350 customers and 99% of its products met quality specification, management tapped three employees from purchasing, sales and quality control in 1994 to reduce customer rejection by 50%. Two years later the customer return rate had dropped 87%.

The 99% rate meant 112,000 of the 70 million fasteners the company shipped were rejected.

The improved 99.98% customer acceptance rate makes Fastener Supply “purer than Ivory soap,” vice president for corporate quality John Finn told USA Today.

Fastener Supply, founded in 1975, accomplished it by dropping 37 suppliers who refused or failed to meet a new quality rating system. “We’re only as good as our suppliers,” Rosato quoted materials manager Stephen DiDomenico.

The sales department formalized a customer feedback system, which led to six improvements in the way the distributorship supplied fasteners. For example, the salesperson warned a customer when a shipment was running late.

Employees training meant only two of 7,000 boxes Fastener Supply shipped last year were returned because of damaged parts due to bad packing. Employees were made accountable by signing off after completing each task.

Fastener Supply told USAToday that revenue is up 30% since the quality program began in 1994. ©1997/2010 Fastener Industry News

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