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Kudlak: Covid Accelerated Digitizing & Tech

Kudlak: Covid Accelerated Digitizing & Tech
November 09
12:16 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic “accelerated digitizing and tech,” Dan Kudlak declared to the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association.  “Zoom, teams, FaceTime and videos all became new must-haves for communication and “became the preferred methods to communicate,”

In his Associate’s State-of-the-Industry speech, Kudlak, president of Aerosmith Fastenings Systems, noted a “photo is worth a thousand words and a video tells a story.”  These tools “will remain with us as we grow back to full employment, as our industry and many others have forever been exposed to the benefits of work from home and remote work. I don’t think we can or should turn the clock back on this feature.”

“We wore masks, we sanitized our facilities, washed our hands 10 times a day and by doing all of that we discovered how to keep ourselves, our employees, and our customers safe. I’m convinced that our company would not have survived this Covid economy without trust, honesty, and the never-ending spirit to find a way to get the job done.”

“Technology has empowered this condition and that it will stay with our industry for years, that it is dividing the United States, that it is not a good thing, and it will take a better-informed public, those who show more interest in being citizens, mentors, stewards, and educators to start pushing back against this tide, before it settles down. I realize, I’m preaching to the choir, here at this event, but it affects us all, and our industry nonetheless, and I really want to see that change.”

“While all of these tools helped, nothing will ever truly replace the face to face contact we all have grown accustomed to. I think it will take many more months and perhaps years until we are fully able to travel as we once did. “Thankfully our medical professionals rallied and produced at least four variations of vaccines that provide a defense shield against this deadly virus, so now we, and the rest of the world, have a fighting chance.

“In March, April and May of 2020 things seemed pretty bleak and morale globally was extremely low,” Kudlak recalled. “When you can’t overpower an opponent, you counterpunch.  COVID was and is the global opponent.  We have landed numerous counterpunches on COVID, using social distancing, masks, hand sanitizers and now vaccines.  No one punch knockouts here, but plenty of counterpunches have helped us establish a new normal.”

Kudlak said counterpunching is really the Aerosmith Fastenings Systems story.  Aerosmith supplies power driven fasteners, mechanical and adhesive anchoring systems.

Kudlak said keeping product secrets was an Aerosmith strategy.

“We kept a curtain around our product development as we made unique items for select distributors, while generally serving others. These forward-thinking distributors trusted us to engage with their clients, visit their jobsites, work in customers factories, talk with their employees and do a level of research that is rare today.”

When Aerosmith products were ready for market “because of our loyalty to the distributor, they were the only ones that had access to select items.  At one time we had six of these situations playing out across the country running very successfully, without advertising,” Kudlak said. 

“Now, because of consolidation and acquisitions the distributor landscape has changed, and our solutions are public, for all to see, which is causing our company to grow and expand those solutions, domestically and internationally.”

Aerosmith “kept that curtain around our product development program, thinking that if any of the larger, better-known companies in this business decided to mirror or copy what we were doing, that we could get ‘knocked out’ – Not on brainpower or creativity, but sheer size, manufacturing capability and access to capital.”

Kudlak said “we got into these markets by counterpunching.  Aerosmith didn’t have the resources of Makita, Hitachi, Senco, Milwaukee, Bosch, 3M or DeWalt, he noted.

“Our sales team wakes up every day, with the mission of making the installer’s life easier, safer and faster. That happens through demonstration and training,” Kudlak said. “If you train your employees to become true fastening experts, once they understand the customers’ challenges, they can then provide solutions.”

Kudlak’s rules: Know your products; serve your customer, ask specific questions and pay attention; treat peers, fellow employees, customers, suppliers, and trades people, with respect; be truthful; “shut-up and listen –  People will tell you exactly what they need if you just give them the chance; If you have a solution no one else has, price does not matter.

  • Global cyber threats are adapting at light speed.  After a recent White House briefing,  Apple, Google, Verizon & AT&T announced that they would triple security budgets

Kudlak said many predict that the next war will start because of a cyber event. 

“We use 5-layer, ever more specific umbrellas of protection on our network and mobile devices,  Aerosmith doubled spending on cybersecurity in the past five years.  Kudlak acknowledged that “even with that progress, we are not immune.”

  • Is your business ready for Bitcoin? Kudlak asked.  “Don’t laugh, remember when PayPal was introduced?”

Distributor accessible, password protected customer portals are becoming more popular.” ACH transfers, Doc-U-Sign, online & mobile banking and other encrypted transactions are increasing in frequency. Can the request to accept digital currency be far behind?  

If your business accepts credit cards you are a target for hackers, Kudlak warned. Hackers want your customers’ information and can use ransomware to lock up your data, forcing you to pay them to unlock it.

  • Another game-changing innovation: Batteries. “The automotive and power tool worlds have been turned upside down because of smaller and larger, lighter weight and ever more powerful batteries. “It is now possible to truly have a cord free jobsite,” Kudlak declared. “We are going to be amazed at what will be possible in just the near-term future.”  A fleet of electric vehicles with autonomous driving functions running delivery routes are coming.

Larger batteries will charge faster with less heat. EV car and truck batteries charging will drop from one hour to seven minutes and should be available for autos in 2023.

“The future is coming faster than we think, so let’s all pay attention and use all the resources already available from STAFDA, to help stay in the game.”  Web:

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