The manufacturing and distribution of screws, nuts, bolts, and washers might seem like a static industry, but the truth is quite the opposite. Fastener manufacturers operate in a globally competitive arena, and the pandemic disruptions that started in 2020 have alerted industry leaders to their vulnerabilities.
A report about the U.S. fastener industry in 2021 highlighted how fastener makers and distributors have accelerated their adoption of new technologies and approaches to marketing. Reconsideration of long-distance supply chains has also come to the forefront.
Direct Marketing To End Users
Enabling end-users to buy fasteners directly, especially through websites, has emerged as a trend for fastener companies in 2021. As an example, BACO Enterprises Inc. offers direct online ordering of coupling nuts and other fasteners. This is seen as essential for maintaining and ultimately growing market share. The marketing strategy recognizes that industrial customers may be more likely to search for exactly the fasteners needed for a project instead of leaving the task to intermediaries who deal in offline inventories.
Technological Advances For Internal Operations
In addition to improving eCommerce capabilities, fastener manufacturers that wish to remain competitive have turned their attention to upgrading manufacturing facilities. Machine retooling, remote operations, and a reevaluation of worker safety are on the top of plant managers’ minds due to the challenges created by plant shutdowns and supply shortages because of the pandemic.
Remote operational capabilities are now seen as a way to maintain productivity when future disruptions to the working environment occur. Technicians and engineers can continue to monitor machines and evaluate data in real-time with enhanced technology.
Precise control of the manufacturing environment also leads to quicker responses as demand for different fasteners changes. Fastener companies make and stock vast inventories of items in different sizes, such as hex coupling nuts, 316 coupling nuts, stainless steel coupling nuts, or rod coupler nuts.
Customization Sharpens The Competitive Edge
Technological updates to manufacturing facilities increase a company’s ability to fulfill custom orders. An important part of growing a business involves capturing more business, and customization attracts customers that are having trouble finding what they need elsewhere.
Advances in materials and enhanced building codes in domestic and international regions influence fastener choices and requirements. A manufacturer that can accommodate nonstandard specifications can increase its access to more markets. Such a company could produce fasteners for more applications. The agriculture, aerospace, petroleum, and automotive sectors offer expansion opportunities due to their growing demand for special fasteners.
The Nearshoring Trend
The manufacturing community had focused its attention in previous decades on global supply chains. Offshoring was the goal whenever it could reduce costs, but the pandemic brought the risks of a far-flung supply chain home for many manufacturing companies. Losing access to a single part or supply of raw materials can shut down whole plants.
Fastener companies have long been able to fulfill orders rapidly. Speedy fulfillment has traditionally been essential for staying competitive because customers do not want to delay projects while waiting for nuts and bolts when they can get them elsewhere.
All of this has resulted in making nearshoring a priority. This means that companies want to build relationships with suppliers within their region. Domestic supply chains are much better able to avoid frustrating problems associated with border closures and port bottlenecks.
Despite recent challenges, the fastener industry that already has a global annual value of $25 billion can expect to maintain modest growth. The world will not stop needing fasteners, but only the most innovative companies will thrive.