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FALL 2013

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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall Issue 2013 / VOL 36 / NO.4

36 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

36 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK When Robert J. Webster founded North East Fasteners 50 years ago, the New England area was the major force in the fastener industry. Today, this Connecticut company is one less than a half-dozen fastener manufacturers in the region. In 1963 the nearby town of Waterbury, CT, was the cold heading capital of the world. In large part this was due to the Scovill Manufacturing Company, which was manufacturing millions of brass clothing rivets for blue jeans and other products. Scovill trained hundreds of header operators who would add to or start-up their own cold heading manufacturing companies. The region's many fastener manufacturers are why the Waterbury and Hartford Fastener machinery companies originated in nearby Connecticut towns. But in the decades that followed fastener production moved - first to Rockford, IL, then Japan, followed by Taiwan and China. "Globalization and difficult economic conditions drove many of the once thriving New England plants producing fasteners into diversification, downsizing and then, often, right into extinction," current NEF CEO Eric Webster explained. "Now, less than six fastener manufacturers remain." NEF survived by being "fairly crafty, hyper efficient and most importantly by controlling the overhead in order to avoid being overly exposed during the more difficult downturns," Webster told FIN. "We were just small enough and had such a specialized niche that we were able to survive the initial blasts of the new 'global paradigm'." North East Fastener Corporation 8 Tremco Drive, Terryville, CT 06786 Tel: 1-860-589-3242 Fax: 1-860-589-6969 Email: nef@nef1.com www.nef1.com CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF FASTENER MANUFACTURING NEF Founder, Robert J. Webster NEF can produce a 70-pound box of -00- screws totaling nearly one million parts. "These are very small screws," Webster says as he points to the several thousand screws in his hand. "If NEF can make these very tiny screws to the highest standards, it can easily make any size screw to the exact standards." NEF now produces a size range up to number 10 diameter and up to 2 inches in length as well as the Metric equivalent. Webster credited NEF's focus on efficiency from the point of quotation through shipment for the company making it while nearby companies disappeared. Even machinery is packed efficiently into a relatively small plant. There are over 80 highspeed production machines into the SQ FT facility. ”We can and do rebuild nearly all of our equipment in-house and on a regular basis," Webster added. NEF’s employees average over 18 years of fastener experience and total well over 2.8 million hours of manufacturing screws. "Our employees are empowered and encouraged to improve the quality of the systems affecting their work," Webster told FIN. NEF has computerized every aspect of sales, quotations, quality, production and testing procedures. "In over a 15-year period NEF has continuously built its own state of the art software programs," Webster explained. "Starting with the first potential customer inquiry, the system tracks and alerts the NEF employee to any and all of the customers unique fastener requirements, which allows for a sophisticated and exacting quote to be e-mailed within seconds." please turn to page 152

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