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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2020 / Vol 43 No2

8 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

8 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Laurence Claus Laurence Claus is the President of NNi Training and Consulting, Inc. He has 25 years of experience with a medium sized automotive fastener manufacturer, holding positions including Vice President of Engineering, General Manager, Director of Quality, Director of New Business Development and Applications Engineer. In 2012 he formed NNi offering technical and business training courses as well as technical consulting, expert witness and consultation work. He can be reached at 847-867-7363 or by email: Lclaus@NNiTraining.com. You can learn more about NNi at www.NNiTraining.com. WHY FASTENER STANDARDS ARE SO IMPORTANT I just returned from a meeting that included many of the leaders of the North American fastener industry. Amidst the discussions of the impacts of COVID-19 and 2020 Presidential Elections, I found myself in several discussions about fastener standards. Although I understand that among this important and influential audience other topics reach higher priority, I was surprised to find a complete absence of understanding and interest into why fastener standards are important and perhaps even critical to their organizations. Based on their individual perspective, many organizations may wrestle with this assertion. In fact, there would have been a time in my career where I would have been leading the pack in asserting little or no relevancy between the industrial standards our company intersected with and the success of our business. However, I now believe this argument to be very relevant and would like to take the rest of this article to explore why I believe standards represent a critical and often times overlooked key to the success of our businesses. To begin the discussion we must first review the fundamentals. What is a standard, what is it seeking to do, and how does the normal fastener supplier interact with them? To define what a standard is, let me share an example. Imagine you are rolling up to a stoplight as it turns red. You clearly know what to do, stop! In fact, anywhere in the world if you encounter a stoplight you know that red means to stop, green means to go, and amber means caution. You also might not be surprised TECHNICAL ARTICLE to find this same convention expressed in other formats, such as signage and instruction manuals. Whatever the presentation of these color conventions may be, you always know what to do. These color conventions represent a simple, but very important, standard. Imagine what would happen if the color conventions were reversed in, say, Europe. If you rented a car there you might find it exceedingly difficult to drive because you would want to stop when it was time to go and vice versa. Amongst other things, standards help to provide guidance and understanding so that we have consistency rather than chaos. Even though industrial standards are more complicated than the simple example I have cited above, the principles and the purposes are pretty much the same. Industrial standards exist to provide a uniformity and consistency in product or practice that allows users and buyers to have confidence in knowing what they are getting. One need only understand a little of the history and evolution of fastener standardization to know that standards serve this purpose. Mechanical fasteners have been around for a long time, with examples appearing in much studied early civilizations such as the Assyrians and Egyptians. Examples of “modern” threaded fasteners begin to appear in the Middle Ages. However, items using such fasteners were hand crafted by a local craftsman. This created a significant problem should a fastened item require a replacement and the original craftsman was not readily available. CONTINUED ON PAGE 102

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    advertisers index I INDUSTRIAL FAST

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