Global Fastener News

2006 FIN – Grainger Offering 9 Times as Many Fasteners

October 05
00:00 2012

2006 FIN  Grainger Commission 7-Foot Fastener Sculpture

March 21, 2006 FIN – To mark the addition of more than 30,000 fasteners to its product line, W.W. Grainger Inc. commissioned a seven-foot tall, 500-pound fastener sculpture by Chicago sculptor Erik Blome. The sculpture is comprised of thousands of fasteners and related products and is on display this week at Grainger’s booth at the National Plant Engineering & Maintenance Show in Rosemont, IL.
Blome’s other works include sculptures of Rosa Parks, Wayne Gretzky and the Chicago Blackhawk’s 75th Anniversary sculpture located outside the United Center.
Grainger is adding 39,000 products for a total 115,000 products in the 2006 catalog being released April 2. In addition to more fasteners there are new electrical, cleaning, material handling, plumbing and ventilation products.
“Our customers count on us to be a one-stop shop for a broad selection of maintenance repair and operating supplies, enabling them to efficiently manage their facilities,” said Michael Pulick, Grainger’s vice president of product management. “We had a clear opportunity to bolster our offering, especially in fasteners.”
Product selection tools on will assist customers in narrowing their selection to the right product based on factors such as grade, size and material. Advanced cross-referencing tools, a new dedicated fastener catalog and employee product training will also help customers save time in sourcing the right product for their applications.
Grainger has 1.7 million customers from the manufacturing, commercial, government, transportation and contractor markets. Web: ©2006/2012 Fastener Industry News
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March 7, 2006 FIN – The new 4,007-page WW Grainger catalog will have 260 pages on fasteners. The 2005 catalog had just 60 pages on fasteners. In what Purchasing magazine described as “the biggest product expansion in its 78-year history” Grainger is spending $5 million to $10 million to jump from 3,500 fastener SKUs to 30,000.
Grainger’s catalog lists a total of more than a half million supplies and 2.5 million repair parts primarily to MRO customers. Grainger reported sales of $5.5 billion in 2005.
Last summer potential fastener suppliers reported going through a “difficult” approval process (see, August 24, 2005).
Grainger’s fastener expansion was initially viewed as moving into more direct competition with Fastenal. However Grainger could affect local distributors too. “Customers and other purchasing professionals who want to leverage the unplanned MRO buy have told us that we need to add more fasteners to our offering,” Grainger vice president of product management Michael Pulick told reporter Susan Avery of Purchasing magazine.
Grainger found that 88% of its customers make unplanned purchases of fasteners and turned to local distributors or fastener specialist sources. “By expanding our fastener line, we are giving our customers a broad array of products so that they can truly consolidate their purchases which saves them time and money, and, ultimately makes them more productive,” Pulick explained.
In addition to finding sources, Grainger has added fastener training for employees and a central technical support group.
In 1927 Bill Grainger founded the company in Chicago to supply electric motors. The first branch was opened in Philadelphia in 1933 and by 1936 there were 15 branches.
Today there are 570 North American branches, including 400 in the U.S.
Grainger became a publicly held corporation in 1967. Grainger reported sales of $5.5 billion in 2005.
Richard Keyser is CEO of Lake Forest, IL-based Grainger. ©2006/2012 Fastener Industry News
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Scroll down for the FIN interview with the new fastener manager for Grainger.


2006 FIN ? Durante: Customers Want More Fasteners
March 17, 2006 FIN – W.W. Grainger’s expansion in fasteners is based on “what our customers want” in order to “consolidate their unplanned product purchases,” Rich Durante, the new category manager for fasteners, explained.
Grainger has long sold fasteners, but last year the company began an expansion program that increases the number of fastener SKUs from 3,500 last year to 33,500 in the 2006 Grainger catalog to be released April 3.
The 588 North American branches will stock about 4,000 SKUs of fasteners and another 29,500 can usually be shipped overnight from 18 distribution centers.
Early reports suggested Grainger ‘s fastener expansion was designed to compete more directly with Fastenal, but in a interview, Durante emphasized serving Grainger’s core MRO customers.
Grainger is “not looking at” fasteners to broaden its MRO market, Durante added. Grainger just wants to provide “everything customers need to keep their facilities running every day.”
Grainger’s additional fasteners can help customer cut costs by reducing vendors, he suggested.
Durante said Grainger doesn’t have a break down of fastener sales. “We have a very small share of the market,” he acknowledged. “We see an opportunity in the market.”
The Grainger sales goal for the new products – dominated this year by fasteners – is to contribute 1% to overall sales growth.
Durante is new to fasteners but he brings seven years of Grainger experience to his role as the top fastener executive.

$200 Average Order
Despite the lofty 2005 corporate sales of $5.5 billion from everything from hammers to power tools, the average Grainger order is less than $200, Durante noted.
Grainger’s fastener expansion is part of an “ongoing process” of finding “where are holes are at” and the company will continue to look at product offerings which allow MRO customers to consolidate vendors, Durante told FIN. Durante is looking to fill the individual orders.
Grainger hopes fasteners can increase the average order as current customers don’t have to go elsewhere for fasteners. “We’re looking to really help our current customers consolidate their unplanned purchases from motors to fasteners,” he explained.
The ultimate goal is to be the complete MRO supplier.
He acknowledged Grainger will be competing “at the branch level with local distributors, national distributors and retailers such as Home Depot” for fastener sales.
In addition to fasteners, Grainger’s main product categories include: adhesives, sealants & tape; cleaning & painting; electrical; HVAC; hardware; lighting; material handling; metalworking, welding & shop supplies; motors & power transmission; office equipment; pneumatics & hydraulics; pumps & plumbing; safety & security; test instruments; and tools, outdoor equipment and auto shop.

Fastener Technical Support
Product selection tools on are designed to assist customers in narrowing product selection based on factors such as grade, size and material.  Grainger also added advanced cross-referencing tools, a fastener catalog and employee product training to help customers find the right product for their applications.
Grainger also has a technical support team available for branches to call about all the 115,000 products in the 2006 catalog, Durante explained.
He pointed out that Grainger’s internal technical support does not provide application expertise. “We help guide the customer to the right choice” of fasteners or other products.

How to Sell to Grainger
What does W.W. Grainger require of fastener (and other) suppliers? Durante started with the expected “high quality products” and added “broad product line.”
Suppliers “must understand what it takes” to supply Grainger, including “shipping accurately and shipping consistently.” Suppliers need to understand weight and size requirements and have labeling and bar coding capability.
Grainger has a separate website for communication with suppliers:
“It is how we communicate with our supplier base,” Durante told The website also includes information on how to become a Grainger supplier.  ©2006/2012 Fastener Industry News.
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