Global Fastener News

2007 FIN – FIEG Quality Panelists: Know Your Suppler

May 11
00:00 2015

2007 FIN  FIEG’s White Paper Available Online

November 28, 2007 FIN – Know your supplier, panelists emphasized at the first Fastener Industry Education Group conference.
Joel Roseman, chairman of the National Fastener Distributors Association, described FIEG’s goal as ”assuring quality of fasteners manufactured anywhere in the world for users anywhere in the world. We want only quality products entering the market.’”
The negative reason for knowing your supplier was made clear by distributor and panelist Andy Cohn’s question: ”Is your supplier going to sit next to you at your trial?’”
FIEG was founded this fall by the Industrial Fasteners Institute and the National Fastener Distributors Association to encourage the industry and customers to emphasize quality. The first FIEG conference session was held in conjunction with the National Industrial Fastener Show/West.
“Fasteners are engineered parts and need to be treated as such,’” IFI director of engineering Joe Greenslade noted.
•  “Do something to know your source,’” Greenslade urged. ”Go visit. Hire a consultant.”’ Contracts should prohibit brokers from changing sources. Don’t just tell a broker to ”get high quality suppliers so I can get the contract.”’ Surveillance is necessary to be sure the fasteners are still coming from quality suppliers.
•  “Educate yourself, educate your staff. It is not an expense. It is an investment.’ Settlements can cost millions,” Greenslade noted. “I don’t know. He made it. I just sold it,’ is not a defense for distributors.”
•  “Know what your customer wants,’” Greenslade advised. ”You need to look at prints, not just pass them along. Are there enough details? Is there a reference to standards? Because a customer gives you a print does not free you from your obligation.’”
“You gotta be a pain to get the information you need,’” Greenslade observed. ”The foundation of quality is standards. Understand the standards.’”
Don’t make substitutions without getting permission from customers.
“Get the end user to sign off on the print,’” Greenslade advised.
•  Beyond placing the order correctly, ”Do something to verify that the fasteners meet the requirements of the order,”’ Greenslade added.
Don’t just rely on an ISO certificate for the manufacturer. ”Not every ISO 9000 certificate is equal,”’ Greenslade counseled. ”But it is the first good stage if someone is interested in quality.’”
•  Use proprietary product. Using unlicensed sources threatens quality and creates a fraud situation.
•  Ask for evidence that the products have been tested. ‘If the manufacturer cant show evidence then the product is pretty suspect,”’ Greenslade observed.

The Alternative to Quality
Part of the reason the U.S. Fastener Quality Act was created was that ”government felt the industry was not proactive on quality,”’ Roseman recalled. The industry does not want to go through another decade-long FQA process. ”We felt it was time to be proactive.’”
FIEG wants the industry to know their responsibilities. For example, distributors who also import need to be aware that the importer of record is the manufacturer in the U.S., Roseman noted.
Cohn urged the industry to ”avoid ‘innocent’ mistakes. We need to train our people better. We cant have purchase orders with not enough information. Sloppy ordering is too risky. We as a community need to deal with quality issues ourselves out of obligation and self interest.”’
“Everyone is under pressure to cut costs,’” Cohn noted. That can lead to problems caused by ”cutting corners.’”
Jay Hebert of Porteous Fastener Co. agreed that fastener suppliers cannot just rely on a manufacturers ISO certificate. ISO is everywhere,’ Hebert noted. ISO exempts fasteners from the FQA, but ISO is not a consensus standard, only a process.’”
On tours of Asian plants, Hebert has seen new ”state-of-the-art fastener plants”’ as well as ”aging machines lit only by a 100 watt bulb. It is a mixed bag. Know your source.’”
Hebert asked distributors to ”specify what you need. Don’t assume the other guy knows. The purchase order must spell out the standards to which the product must be made.’” Domestic manufacturer Robert Hill of Hill Fastener Corporation asked distributors “to work with the potential customers. We are looking for as much information from our distributors as possible. What did you send me? Strength level? Dimensions? Tolerances?”
When one audience member pointed out that cost cutting could lead to a negative “quality drift,’” Roseman responded that FIEGs goal is to encourage ”quality drift in the other direction.”’
FIEG will conduct quality meetings in the coming year to encourage an emphasis on quality throughout the fastener supply channel.  ©2007/2015 Fastener Industry News.
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