Global Fastener News

2001 FIN – Calfee: How to Sell Fasteners & Stay Out of Jail

December 29
00:00 2012

2001 FIN – Calfee: How to Sell Fasteners & Stay Out of Jail

October 18, 2001 FIN – Fastener distributors can’t just accept test reports and file them, Martin Calfee warned distributors at the Western Association of Fastener Distributors fall conference.
Calfee, of Phoenix-based Copper State Bolt & Nut Co., passed around copies of lab reports generated by suppliers, which don’t meet the standards.
One was a test certification for one bolt. But testing of five out of 400 is required. That saved the manufacturer about $200 in testing, Calfee pointed out.
Distributors need to look up the actual standard and verify that the certifications cover what the standard requires, Calfee emphasized.
One test report Calfee showed at the conference was accurate and could fool most customers. “The paper looks real good, but it may be no good,” Calfee said. “You have to know how to read what you are getting.”
And too many don’t even read the certs, Copper State quality assurance engineer Ed Kowel said. “The only time someone really reads the paper is when something goes wrong.”
On a handout Calfee highlighted the ASTM A 354 specifications, such as testing responsibility, lot inspection, lot processing, number of tests, product marking and packaging requirements. Calfee emphasized a paragraph on responsibility: “The party responsible for the fastener shall be the organization that supplies the fastener to the purchaser and certifies that the fastener was manufactured, sampled, tested and inspected in accordance with this specification and meets all the requirements.”
If your competitor is saving money on testing, it could cost you. “The buck a bolt he saves costs you the order,” Calfee pointed out. “You lose the job on price.”
In his session titled “How to Buy & Sell Fasteners & Not Go to Jail,” Calfee warned that skimping on testing will be expensive in the future. “They are going to catch you eventually. Somebody in the next couple years is going to get nailed,” he predicted.
Thus far enforcement agencies aren’t trained in the fastener business and therefore aren’t as likely to watch.
Calfee indicated there are potential legal cases. Kowel said he joined Copper State after a previous employer was “asking me to sign my name on certs.” Secretaries have been used for signing certs, he said.
Calfee urged distributors to “make sure you know who you are buying from. Make sure the paperwork matches.”
The problem isn’t always someone trying to save a buck, Calfee said. “Three-quarters of the people selling fasteners have no clue. Does a file clerk know what paperwork means?”
Too often paperwork is used only to protect. “When a light pole falls over, somebody is going to sue someone,” Calfee warned. Because you buy it that way, if you get caught is it worth it? ©2001/2012 Fastener Industry News
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