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What Makes Action Bolt the Best

A fastener user's criteria for the selection of a distributor

In the past the selection of fasteners and their suppliers has not been given attention proportionate to their effect on the overall productivity and quality of end products. This is changing.

Availability

Obviously, if an end user cannot recieve the fasteners needed in the quantities needed, when needed, all other considerations are of no significance. Availability involves the distributor's financial ability to obtain products and materials and to be able to finance operations. It also involves his organistational abilities and overall attitude toward servicing his customer.

First, potential distributors should be screened financially at least as closely as are potential customers. Exactly the same sort of credit checking procedures can be used for both. It is risky to buy from a distributor who hardly carries any stock or is not allowed to buy from major sources at all, or who has to do business on a COD basis. If a distributor cannot buy what the end user needs he certainly cannot ship it. His financial condition should be investigated through credit organisations and a survey of his vendors. Second, if a distributor can buy products but has unstable management, poor organisation for doing business, or is not responsive to customer needs, he will cause availability problems. The best way to look into this is to obtain a list of 6 to 12 current major customers of the potential distributors and solicit their comments regarding the service, attitude and ability to perform. To operate business smoothly and successfully, a fastener user needs a distributor who will respond quickly, accurately, and professionally towards his orders, contracts, and needs.

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Quality

If a distributor is financially strong and responds well but sends material unsuitable for use, the fastener user is in trouble. Fastener distributors should not be accepted on their demonstrated ability to meet customer product quality needs.

First, they must be knowledgeable about the standards and requirements of the particular fasteners their customers wish to buy. They cannot be expected to catch even simple irritating problems if items are only part numbers to them. They must know jargon, terminology, characteristics, and requirements of the parts they sell in order to know when they do and do not have a problem. If they are not familiar with the types of parts their customers wish to buy, they are not likely to know the best possible source of supply.

Secondly, they should posses or be willing to obtain copies of all the standards to which their customers will be buying parts. How can they evaluate parts they receive and ship if they do not posses the relative standards, and understand them? These issues can usually be determined in general conversation with a prospective distributors.

Third, an organised quality program does not exist without having a Quality Assurance Manual.

The manual provides forms, consistency, and continuity to the overall quality effort, Specifications such as ISO 9002 spells out requirements of a bona fide quality program. A simple manual addresses each of these requirements.

Fourth, a distributor must have the personnel available to perform the required quality assurance procedures. This can be a part time or full-time position but some-one has to exist who understands the product requirements, who can follow the procedures spelled out in the Quality Assurance Manual, and who is capable of conducting required tests and certification audits.

Fifth, the fastener supplier must have the equipment and/or convenient outside testing facilities to inspect what he ships in order to ensure that it is correct. The statement “We only buy from good sources,” should not be acceptable. We all know that even the best sources make mistakes. The distributor should re-inspect what he ships to make absolutely sure it is correct.

ACTION BOLT CONDUCTS STRICT QUALITY CONTROL INSPECTIONS ON INCOMING AND OUTGOING PRODUCTS.

Economics

This is listed last because this is the logical order. If the fastener user pays the lowest price for something he either never receives, receives only after production delays, or receives unusable materials, he has paid much more than the purchase price and his envisioned savings are lost. The cost of fasteners is generally one of the smallest portions of cost in an overall assembly but fastener problems can devastate productivity and final assembly quality.

Fasteners are not the place to economise. Fasteners are not a commodity like salt. They and their sources may look similar but their value based on performance can vary dramatically. Only after a user has determined that a fastener supplier if financially stable, has a service - oriented attitude and has the ability to assure product quality should price be an issue.

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The trend in industry toward “Just In Time” makes this kind of supplier analysis and selection even more important than in the past. If a fastener user does not maintain safety stick, every part must be received on time and it must be usable. Fastener users should realise the important role fasteners play in the overall productivity of their assembly operations and their impact on final assembly quality. If the fasteners are given their proper importance the user should place a high priority on the selection of the proper source for his fasteners. The selection process should be handled in an organised, systematic way by the use of a survey form covering all the critical aspects of Availability, Quality and Economics.

ACTION BOLT INVITES YOU TO VISIT THEIR FACILITIES AND ASSESS FOR YOURSELVES, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND THEIR COMPETITORS.