How to Choose a Fastener Supplier

Fastener Qualities to Look For

If you are a manufacturer or specifying a component within a manufactured product, chances are very high that you may need to consider fasteners within the specifications. And you may have to choose a lot of them.

fasteners-within-iphoneFor example, did you know that an iPhone has over 50 screws?

Now, imagine that those screws were of poor quality. The phone itself would fall apart, and most would probably agree that Apple wouldn’t have the same 50%+ market share that it enjoys today if the phones fell apart due to poor fasteners.

If you’ve worked with cheap industrial fastening components, odds are that stripped screws and weak bolts are two examples that come to mind. In order to avoid the wasted time and money spent job-to-job or on repair work, know the materials and various characteristics of the hardware that you’re looking to purchase. Settling for various materials listed for bulk sale without the proper details can sabotage projects and hinder your long-term needs. Just because they’re small and often come in bulk doesn’t mean that screws, bolts, threaded rods, and other fasteners shouldn’t be held to high standards. Here are two factors to consider when looking at any fastener qualities:

  • High Resistance (against chemicals and heat conduction). Fasteners’ strength and durability are enhanced against chemical breakdown and erosion. This is contrasted with ineffective metals that have a “high” thermal conductivity.
  • High Intransigence (against vibrations). Maximizing a product’s quality means utilizing desensitized materials that won’t beat up and break down despite corrosion from minor vibration caused by machinery or other use.

So is it time to look for a new fastener manufacturer or distributor, and what should you look for?

There are any number of reasons to begin to search for a new fastener partner. From what we know after having served tens of thousands of different customers over the years – these are the biggest reasons for a switch to a new fastener supplier.

1. The current fastener supplier has poor execution on delivery.

Anyone in the “fastener industry” can sell you fasteners. But can they deliver on time? Do they give you a delivery schedule and work within your JIT manufacturing needs? Lead time can be critical to your success.

So when looking for a new supplier, you can ask for references of course. But how many of those suppliers are going to give poor references? Another way, although a little more time intensive is to ask the prospective new supplier to fulfill a small job first (while still ordering from the old supplier), and to specify a date. Many fastener suppliers can start with small quantities, and if the shipment arrives right on time- try them for a bigger job until they’ve proven a track record.

2. The current fastener supplier makes the wrong recommendations.

There’s nothing worse than a fastener supplier who is no more than a call center filling orders, without any knowledge of what they are selling. They’ll all take any order, but if you need recommendations, watch out.

Look for staff that has extensive experience in the fastener and component industry, and is looking for more than a quick sale. How can you tell they are qualified? Like most industries, there are industrial and supplier associations that will put a ‘stamp of approval’ on their members. Unfortunately, some of these are simply not stringent in their member vetting, and simply paying the dues gets them in. As a barometer in itself, it’s a weak one. Certainly, ask them for their credentials, and see how they respond. And once again, as for references.

One other option: if you know the technical specs of what you need, test the new potential fastener supplier. For example, ask them to help determine and specify a screw or bolt for a component that you already know the right solution. Does it match yours (or is it a good alternate recommendation?)

3. The current fastener supplier sends the wrong fasteners.

This one is an easy out. Poor organizational skills equals a poor organization.

To test your new potential fastener supplier, you won’t know unless you try them. See #1 above.

4. The current fastener supplier isn’t cost competitive.

One face value, this one is easy to compare, but watch out. Sometimes the cheapest bolt or washer isn’t the right one for you either. Look to the beginning of this article regarding our quality discussion.

5. The actual fasteners are of poor quality.

One More Thing when looking for a fastener supplier

look-for-fasteners

One more guideline that you might consider when selecting a fastener supplier.

First, be sure to verify that manufacturers are recognized in the design and sales of a wide variety of molded plastic fasteners or machined metal fasteners.

About E & T Fasteners

E & T Fasteners offers a complete line of engineered molded plastic fasteners and machined metal fasteners. Plastic and Metal Fasteners / Components include: Plastic Screws – Bolts – Nuts – Washers- Threaded Rod – Plastic Push In Fasteners – Plastic Balls Industrial – Seals – Bushings – Spacers – Plastic Post & Screws, Hole-plugs.  To get a quote on fasteners, contact us or call us toll-free at (800) 650-4707.