Procurement managers know how critical it is to find the right suppliers, so every link in the supply chain is strong. Construction project managers may also be faced with the task of finding the right suppliers to provide the equipment and tools needed to get the job done right.
Fasteners are an essential part of many projects, from carpentry to manufacturing to construction. However, with close to 5,000 screw, nut and bolt businesses in the U.S., choosing the right bolt and fastener supplier can seem like an overwhelming task.
How do you know you're choosing the right fastener provider? In this guide, we'll discuss eight factors to consider and answer a common question about bulk buying to help you confidently choose the right supplier.
Top Eight Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fastener Supplier
Let's look at eight factors you'll want to consider when comparing fastener suppliers:
1. Online Reviews
One way you can evaluate a fastener supplier is by checking online reviews. See what types of experiences other customers have had working with this company. In some cases, the reviews you find may be focused on specific products customers purchased rather than the company as a whole, but even those reviews can give you some insight into the level of quality and reliability a company offers.
A company's online reputation isn't everything, but it can point you towards a company you can trust to provide a great customer experience.
Another factor to consider is how extensive the supplier's selection is. You don't want to partner with a supplier only to find they don't carry all the fastener products you need. Some fasteners are far more common than others — these are the types and sizes you could find at your local hardware store. But some jobs call for more obscure or rare types and sizes of fasteners.
When you need a hard-to-find part, you don't want to have to find another supplier, so start with a supplier that offers a wide selection of fasteners.
Price tends to be a top concern for procurement managers — and for good reason. You need to keep costs low, so you can maximize your bottom line. Of course, price shouldn't overshadow all the other factors on this list. In some cases, a company with slightly higher prices than another supplier may be the better choice because they offer faster shipping and better customer service.
Ideally, you want to find a supplier who ticks all the boxes for user experience and offers competitive pricing. If you tend to buy large quantities of certain fasteners, look for a company that offers special bulk pricing.
There are two main aspects of shipping to consider: cost and speed. Low-cost, flat rate shipping is a great option. Some companies also offer free shipping, but beware of companies that advertise free shipping but require a high order total to qualify.
Shipping speed is also important. You want to work with a company who has a strong command of their logistics and can reliably get products to you on time. You never want a job to be delayed because you're waiting on your fasteners to arrive.
5. Return Policy
A provider's return policy is another key factor to consider. Knowing you have the option of an easy, hassle-free return takes the pressure off in the event you accidentally order the wrong item or your needs change. Some companies may only accept returns for very specific reasons and may require you to return the item very quickly.
At FMW Fasteners, we make it easy to return products and provide ample time for you to do so — this means you won't be stuck paying for products you don't end up needing.
It's a great bonus if a supplier has a rewards program that provides you with special discounts as a "thank you" for your customer loyalty. For example, FMW's VIP Rewards program awards points for every dollar you spend, as well as other actions you take to support our business, such as liking our social media pages.
A rewards program shows that a company cares about your repeat business and is willing to honor your loyalty with special benefits.
7. Online Support
Finally, consider what level of customer support a company offers. Do they have expert staff who are there to answer your questions and help you through any potential issues? In particular, it's helpful if a company offers online support instead of phone support.
Online support has some distinct advantages. It allows the company to access all your account and order information, send and receive pictures and written resources, keep the whole interaction in one place and get you the help you need quickly.
8. Quantity Options
You should also consider the quantity options a supplier offers. How flexible are they on the quantities you can order? Some companies may force you to buy 100 or 1,000 of a certain type of fastener, even if you only need one or two. Or, perhaps it's difficult to order the large quantities you need.
Ideally, you should be able to pinpoint the quantities you need, especially when it comes to more obscure fasteners you aren't likely to use on every job.
What If I Am Buying in Bulk?
Flexibility is great if you need small quantities of some products and large quantities of others, or if your quantity needs fluctuate — but if you consistently order in bulk, you may want to choose a supplier that specializes in bulk orders or at least offers bulk ordering options.
FMW Fasteners can accommodate bulk orders, but another great fastener industry seller to consider for bulk ordering is Bolt Demon. Their team specializes in solely bulk fasteners and exceptionally fast shipping. They are a great company to work with if you are considering multiple bulk orders.
Make FMW Your Fastener Supplier
If you're looking for the right fastener supplier to partner with, consider FMW Fasteners. With a great reputation, extensive selection of premium products, competitive pricing, fast and free shipping, generous and easy return policy, VIP rewards program, online customer support and flexible quantity options, FMW Fasteners is the ideal supplier to meet all of your bolt and fastener needs.
Place an order with FMW today!