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SUMMER 2011

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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer Issue 2011 / VOL 34 / NO.3

70 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

70 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK By John Wolz editor@globalfastenernews.com PANEL REVIEW - WISHNEW, MALLO & VODICKA: How To Buy Fasteners Product knowledge and knowing the end use of a fastener are keys to successful purchasing, "How to Buy Fasteners" panelists advised buyers for distributors. "First, know what you are buying," XL Screw Corporation vice president Wayne Wishnew advised. "Know how your customer is going to use it," Rotor Clip Company vice president Sara Mallo counseled. "Ask questions," AllStar Fasteners Inc. sales manager Bill Vodicka urged. The three veteran fastener sales people with a combined total of 79 years of fastener experience offered tips to fastener buyers during a workshop sponsored by GlobalFastenerNews.com during Fastener Tech 2011. Even in an age of online ordering, "never be afraid to pick up the phone and ask questions," importer Wishnew advised. Don't just ask questions of your vendors – also talk to your customers, manufacturer Vodicka added. One buyer discovered an order of one-inch screws were penetrating out the back of the actual application. By finding that out before the next order, AllStar then produced 15/16s-inch screws. "Problem solved," Vodicka declared. "What is your customer going to do with the product" manufacturer Mallo asked. "It is essential that you know how they are using the product since even packaging and finishes are crucial." Getting the order right the first time eliminates the cost to all sides of handling returns. Communicating with your suppliers can reduce costs. For example, instead of just placing an immediate order, by talking with a vendor about future needs, costs can be lowered and supply steadier, Wishnew finds. If your vendor knows your anticipated annual needs, a stock & release program can be created. The anticipated demand for the coming year can be frontloaded to avoid usage spike problems, lock in prices and allow you to pull from inventory anytime, Wishnew explained. A stock & release program can provide savings, lower freight costs and reduce inventory turn costs. A "drop ship to end user" program can be set up. . Letting vendors know anticipated usage is especially important now as all stages in the supply chain have lower inventories. "Everyone is out of stock," Vodicka said of the entire supply chain from steel to packaging. . Make certain both your requests for quotes and orders are accurate. "Verify plating, salt spray requirements, RoHS, steel grade, specialty materials and certifications," Mallo advised. For example, "Make sure if it is plain or plated," Wishnew pointed out. "Rejections are expensive." . Learn what quantities can reduce costs. Reaching certain box or package quantities result in the best price and availability, Mallo pointed out. "Developing a good working relationship by understanding our products, how it is handled, packaged and shipped are points of discussion," Mallo explained. . Mallo said fastener buyers should provide prints for non-standard parts. Wishnew added that prints must be "detailed and legible." When your sales person calls asking details it is because "we want to get it right," Wishnew said. "You should welcome a vendor calling back." . In choosing an importer, ask what the company's U.S. Customs rating is, Wishnew advised. Importers with high ratings avoid audit delays. Shipments can be delayed 10 days if an importer has made a mistake in classifying a screw for a bolt" as duties on screws are higher than bolts. please turn to page 101

THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 71

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