Fastenal, currently the largest fastener distributor in North America, recently announced a milestone after its active vending device count surpassed 100,000. The vending milestone has been quickly followed by another one, pertaining to the company’s fast-growing Onsite program.
The milestone: 1,000 active Onsite locations, each providing a customized local supply chain within (or very near) a customer’s facility.
The milestone Onsite is being set up within the Rocanville, Saskatchewan facility of Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs, services, and solutions. It’s one of three dedicated Fastenal service and stocking locations, which have been customized to meet the needs of specific Nutrien facilities.
The service models range from a location within a Nutrien plant (Rocanville), to an offsite location situated across the street from a Nutrien facility (Aurora, North Carolina), to a larger location servicing five surrounding Nutrien sites (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan).
“Some of our locations are in remote areas, so an immediate benefit of a Fastenal Onsite program is that it shortens supply chain from a distribution standpoint,” said Rob Gilmour, MRO category manager for Nutrien. “Integration is also very important to us. Having a fully dedicated Fastenal resource allows us to step away from tactical activities to become more efficient and focused on our core business.”
Like many aspects of Fastenal’s service, the Onsite concept came in response to a specific customer need. In 1992, a large manufacturing plant required more inventory than the local public branch could fit on their shelves. They also wanted Fastenal to be in their facility on a daily basis to assess their needs and replenish inventory. So, they proposed a novel idea: bring the inventory and the Fastenal rep within their four walls to support their operation on a full-time basis.
Fastenal went on to open more of these “branches within a facility,” but at a slow pace (usually fewer than 10 per year). This began to change in 2014, when the inherent efficiencies of the model became apparent and the decision was made to bring greater focus on developing and growing this area of the business. The concept was embraced by Fastenal’s employees and customers, and Onsite quickly expanded from a niche offering to a company growth driver.
Thanks to the efforts of Fastenal’s sales and implementation teams, the number of active Onsites increased from around 200 at the end of 2014 to nearly 900 by the end of 2018. At the close of the second quarter of 2019, there were 1,026 Onsites generating over 25% of Fastenal’s total revenue. To put the 1,000th Onsite milestone in perspective, it took Fastenal nearly 35 years to open its 1,000th public branch (Kapolei, Hawaii, 2001).
“Onsite is a natural progression in Fastenal’s 50-plus-year journey of service, bringing us even closer to our customers in terms of proximity and partnership,” said Kris Van Dalen, a vice president of Fastenal Solutions. “The value we deliver through a customized supply chain management program is differentiating our company in the market, strengthening our customer relationships, and, in turn, driving growth, employee opportunities, and shareholder value.”