By Steve Auld, managing director, The ARK Group of Companies
The challenge for fastener industry wholesalers is to make a value proposition that distributors want to buy into and more importantly one that provides the margin development they are all looking for.
At the ARK Group of Companies we have put together a complete support package for fastener distributors that have a desire in making their business development programme work for them and the customers they serve. The approach is driven by engaging customers regarding engineering and application details of the product sold, as well as the use of end-to-end supply chain solutions that are as short as needed to ensure the pricing is margin enhancing for the distributors.
To add to this, distinctive branded boxes provide a visual impact for product recognition. Detailed and comprehensive labelling also supports the technical details required by engineers and inspectors working in the OEM market.
The factory production processes used by ARK not only conform to the relevant International ISO standards, we also operate with full lot traceability on raw materials used; the machine tools used in production; through to the actual machine the goods are manufactured on; and the operative running the machine. Plus, controlled packaging facilities make sure the onward shipment of boxed and labelled goods are completed and secure. This provides complete confidence in the product offered for sale under the ARK brand.
ARK branded products are produced and stored in the factory warehouse with up to 2,500 pallet spaces available and are shipped to the European central stock facility where a further 800 pallet locations are available. This supply chain is implemented to reduce lead times on standard parts and to deliver a depth of stock that distributors can rely on.
The control of manufacture and replenishing stocks is handled by the factory, which monitors – through the eCommerce solution – the daily, weekly and monthly stock movements on the ARK brand.
Our most recent development is the eCommerce solution being offered to fastener distributors that sign up to being an ARK brand seller. The eCommerce platform enables the distributor to manage the way they want to take delivery of product, as they will be able to see stock in the European warehouse and also the stock in the factory. They can also confirm the price for goods required; view previous orders they have processed; as well as look at the total spend on the account. This means that order placing will be driven by distributor requirements with next day delivery as part of the offering.
Fastener distributors are also able to sign up to a webshop solution, which will allow them to promote the ARK brand as part of their own company web shop offering. This will be placed in the distributors own webshop by using an ARK menu tab that will give their customers complete access to all the ARK branded stock range. This will drive all the orders to the distributor who then makes the decision on where the goods need to be delivered, either direct to the fastener distributor or direct to their customer if required.
Building value together through the eCommerce solution is a major move away from the traditional market activities operating in the fastener industry. The challenges of current market conditions may require such a solution – as fastener distributor customers are looking to adapt to new market challenges with connectivity as part of the desired solution.
The ARK brand is not a generalist but a specialist that believes in supporting and developing fastener distributor’s business requirements – working together to make us both stronger.
Chris Roden completes 50 years
Chris Roden retired from the UK fastener industry at the end of July after a 50 years within the industry.
Starting with the Alder Miles Druce fastener company back in the late 1960s, with the early part of his career supplying threaded hexagon fastener products across all the imperial thread forms. He underwent the metrification process and decided to start his own business in 1976 and the company Abbey Fasteners was formed. During the development of the Abbey Fastener company Chris decide he would undertake the opportunity to develop the sale of Huck® fastener products and he created the company Rivco Limited to deliver on this project. The world of rivets had gripped his interest and he completed 25 years of trading with the Rivco company.
In 2010 we both met and agreed a way forward for us to work on a project that would see the company grow significantly during the next 10 years. The group of companies that Chris has retired from is full of energy and enthusiasm, which is the best way to describe his working life in the fastener industry.
It has been a pleasure to work with you Chris and we all want you to enjoy a long and happy retirement – very best wishes from all your friends in the fastener industry.
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.