Global Fastener News

2005 FIN – Perspective: Euro Show Participants: It is a Different Market from UK & US.

April 25
00:00 2013

Editor’s Note: FIN interviewed a wide variety of participants at Fastener Fair Europe. Here are excerpts from the comments

October 25, 2005 FIN – Earnest Machine Products opened in Europe six years ago and John Zehnder acknowledged “it took a while to get going.”
It also took time to find the right location and for the word to get around that Earnest “has got it in stock.”
By 2004 Earnest Europe had a “booming year, Zehnder smiled. Zehnder told FIN he first got interested in the European market when he visited Ramco in Italy. Although he wasn’t planning a European operation he developed “this inkling,” he recalled.
Today the European operation functions independently. John Challans, the European director of sales & operations, explained that “we have all the backing but our own freedom to do what is right for the European market.” The UK-based division gains from “buying power, technology and stability” from the Cleveland, OH-headquartered Earnest.
The parent company is “getting more familiar with what to buy and what to sell, such as differing Imperial size pitch and threads,” Zehnder noted.
Earnest uses its Cleveland labs to “help us determine that we are supplying quality product,” Zehnder added.
Brighton-Best Socket Screw is establishing a “good, healthy niche in Europe” and the challenge is “to get through the next hurdle,” managing director Ray Southam said. The immediate goal of the UK-based division, which opened in 1993, is to expand its market on the continent and elsewhere, as far as South Africa. Brighton-Best UK operates independently although “the U.S. parent is our strength,” Southam acknowledged.
There are market differences that any parent company needs to learn, Southam observed. “What to them is a standard item may be a special here. On some products the margins are reversed.”
“Everybody in the UK knows us,” Southam claimed. “Europe is different. Germany is very, very slow to break into.” Web:

Ekkehard Beermann, managing director of Germany-based Fastbolt, spent the summer in China opening a fulltime office. “As a trading company it is as important to be as close to the customer as to the supplier. Selling is as important as buying.” And Fastbolt is both buying and selling in China. “The importance of China as a market is growing.”
Fastbolt specializes in selling small fasteners to distributors.
Europe still competes in high-end quality where “we can do what others can’t do.” But Asians “are learning at a fast pace.” They are ‘understanding,’ not just copying.”
The China office gives Fastbolt “a better handle on quality before shipment. We are in touch with the supply market, raw materials, export rules and taxes and have first hand information from our own people.”
“We never just place an order before going to the factory for a pre-selection audit.”
Fastbolt continues to stock fasteners in Germany and the UK.
Founded in 1982 in the UK by Heinz Storch, Fastbolt opened in Germany in 1992.
Eastern Europe is a new frontier for suppliers,” Beermann pointed out. “Existing companies were completely unknown to us. It is amazing how big [the Russian] market will be. The volume is massive. Beerman said Fastbolt competes in Europe with price, buying power and quality.
“It is not only who has the cheapest screw, but the handling, he explained.
Beerman, who was once with the former Internet portal, predicts more online activity. Fastbolt just launched inventory checking and other features for customers providing “real time data.”
“This kind of work can be done by machine so salespeople can spend those two minutes with another customer,” Beerman pointed out. Web:

Sorin Valeanu, general manager of A.M.T. Prodserv S.R.L. in Romania, reported that even Eastern European fastener manufacturers are feeling “big pressure from the Far East.”
A.M.T. Prodserv manufactures nonstandard machine screws for OEMs and household appliances. A.M.T. uses Germany machinery.

Lancaster Fastener Co. Ltd. exports to 22 European countries and recently opened a stocking facility in Holland to provide overnight delivery to much of the continent. European sales now add up to 60% of Lancasters revenue.
Managing director Sam Wilson predicts more shifting of production and sales to Eastern Europe, which reflects “the global shift in manufacturing with suppliers following around the world.”
“It is a fast changing business,” Wilson observed. “There will be more electronic buying and selling slowly creeping into the larger distribution markets.” Web:

Rajesh Jain, director of Lakshmi Precision Screws Ltd. of India, told FIN he is looking for small manufacturing or distribution companies up to $10 million in the U.S. and elsewhere. Banks in India “are now open for foreign acquisition,” Jain noted.
Jain’s father founded the company in 1958.
It is now publicly owned, though the family holds 73%.
More than 70% of fasteners are sold to OEMs. Jain, who earned an engineering degree in India and spent three years at Harvard Business School, said Lakshmi has three plants and multiple ISO and Six Sigma certifications. In 1998 Lakshmi entered into a joint venture with Bossard. Web:

Galina Kotelnikova, editor of the Russian Fixings, Adhesives & Tools magazine, told FIN that fastener buyers are looking for foreign partners to supply high quality fasteners. “There is some manufacturing in Russia, but they are not as developed with advanced technologies,” Kotelnikova explained. “There is great interest for imports for customers in the Russian market. Web:

Sabine Reimann of Lindapter GmbH described the German manufacturers strategy as providing products. If their products can “save time in installation we can compete with drilling, welding” and other options. “We are a full service company. By providing technical service we try to make life easy for our customers.”
Lindapter also competes by making specials for customers “very quickly.”
“We sell worldwide, though predominately to Western economies, Reimann noted. Web:  ©2005/2012 Fastener Industry News
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