The summit was co-organised by Chinafastener.com and the Shanghai Fastener Industry Association at the Shanghai Grand Hyatt on the first day of the Shanghai Fastener Expo.
Opening the four-hour event, Mr Yang Junfeng, CEO of Chinafastener.com, expressed his hope that the summit would become an annual event attracting global speakers and an audience of directors and senior managers.
Jim Barker, CEO of Trifast plc focused on whether “Customers need a solution or the product itself” and was emphatic that “today you cannot just supply the product to the customer drawing and walk away”. He added, “the demands are for a complete supply solution, requiring early involvement in the design”. Trifast’s multinational OEM customers require “our product on a least three continents”, Barker said, explaining that “while the design centres may be in America, the product may be required in Shanghai, Thailand, Houston, Czech Republic, England and Turkey”. Logistics have to be “inventive and efficient”, with lead times and stock holding the responsibility of the fastener supplier, which has wide ranging implications for the management of foreign exchange and anti dumping issues. “All very demanding”, he reflected, and a far cry from the demands when the now global manufacturer and distributor of industrial fastenings was established in the UK forty years ago.
Executive editor of Fastener + Fixing Magazine, Phil Matten, considered what strategic branding offered Chinese fastener companies, exploring the critical importance of delivering genuine and credible brand values. He concluded with a warning that the Chinese Fastener Industry itself was a global brand and respectively suggested it needed to give greater consideration to the negative impact of the activities of a minority of fastener exporters intent on circumventing EU trade defence measures by transhipment through third countries. The surveillance systems of the EU, he emphasised, were proving increasingly effective at identifying circumvented imports and custom authorities were levying massive back duties on importers as a result. For the Chinese Fastener Industry these practices, Matten said, fueled the continued exclusion of China from legitimately supplying the EU fastener market.
Gian Marco Dalpane is owner and managing director of Bulloneria Emiliana Srl and current president of UDIB, the Italian association of fastener distributors. His theme, “New media technologies applied to the Fastener Industry” was amply illustrated by a sophisticated and highly engaging visual presentation. Mr Dalpane reflected on the deeply challenging outlook for the Italian economy, concluding that, “in such an uncertain economic situation it is crucial to promote our products using new technologies and social media”. UDIB, he explained, was already taking practical steps to “upgrade our fastener system”, working on the adoption of a unique Italian fastener bar code system to share technical information and ensure easier traceability and logistics. He envisaged the development of an international fasteners network and finished on a simple message that “we are all sharing the same boat”.
Mr Feng Jinyao, long servicing chairman of the China Fastener Industry Association and general manager of Shanghai SQB Automotive Fasteners, made an authoritative and passionate presentation on the current status of automotive fastener manufacturing in China, outlining a clear set of steps the industry needed to take to achieve globally comparable quality standards.
Robert Shieh, president of Brighton Best International, was equally passionate about how online trading had been the key to a sevenfold increase in his corporation’s total supplied tonnage over the last four years. In the coming three year BBI projects that it will double the tonnage it sells in the USA, with the majority of that growth coming through medium and low carbon lines as well as stainless steel. The presentation went on to detail how Brighton Best International believed it had “revolutionised the industry through web sales”, achieving economies of scale via an in-house developed IT system that allowed the company the scalability and flexibility to adapt.
Recognising that a fastener is a commodity, and that Brighton Best was selling a product that people “need, not want” meant customers inevitably sought “the highest overall value”. For Brighton Best that meant a broad and deep inventory, competitive prices, customer service, quality products and a “relentless focus on execution”.
Concluding the Summit was a presentation on “modern equipment and technology as the key to high quality and productivity in fastener production” from Wilhelmus Romijnders, commercial director of Nedschroef Herentals N.V.. Citing detailed examples where Nedschroef multi die cold heading technology and tool design had eliminated machining and achieved significant material saving, Romijnders went on to consider the key advantages of Nedschroef’s rapid changeover features and also of its bolt-formers. The ultimate goal, he said, was to achieve a new intersection between reduced operating costs and enhanced machine performance through a combination of modular, innovative and reliable machine solutions; unique features on new machines that could also be retrofitted on existing machines; tooling development and training.
The 2013 Fastener Expo Shanghai runs for three days until Saturday 22nd June at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center.
Article written by Phil Matten - Executive editor of Fastener & Fixing Magazine