This was something no one saw coming. A pandemic that would shake up life for everyone around the world. As fast as the virus spread, families and businesses had to transition faster.
Manufacturers went from making cars to ventilators, t-shirts to masks, vodka to hand sanitizer, and we thank every single one of those businesses for it. The country, the world needed it – and Sherex is glad we could do our part to help.
Sherex Fastening Solutions went from supplying rivet nuts to some of the hottest new vehicles on the planet, to prioritizing its rivet nuts to manufacturers making products that make a direct impact in helping the world navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, four different rivet nut products went into applications that either directly helped patients or mitigated the spread of the virus.
Sherex’s rivet nuts went into were ventilator stands, hand sanitizers stands, and other critical applications used by hospitals.
“As an essential business, we have a duty to prioritize our products that will help fight this pandemic,” said Sherex president, Adam Pratt. “We’re happy knowing we can say, ‘hey our parts are in this application – we were able to help.’”
Sherex Akron, Sherex’s US manufacturing plant in Akron, Ohio, had an urgent requirement to produce these parts in short time. One of the parts Sherex Akron produced, part No. SXA25-80SPCA, is a flat head, open ended, smooth body rivet nut that installs into a stand specifically designed to hold up a ventilator. The customer was already using the part, but needed more, and needed them fast.
Ventilators are being used as a critical life saving device during the pandemic.
A more common Sherex part, part No. CAL2-580-3.3, is a knurled body rivet nut that belongs in a lot general industrial applications like refrigeration, heating and cooling units, and are used in the automotive industry. Now, they’re also used to create stands for hand sanitizers that will be used at malls, stadiums or any place with large gatherings so people will have ease of access to washing their hands.
The initial order of 30,000 rivet nuts was sent to the customer almost as fast as it was ordered.
Why are rivet nuts used and not typical nut and bolt? All were blind applications, meaning the attachment point could only be reached from the front – making it impossible to attach a nut to the backside of the bolt to keep the bolt secure. Also, efficiency. Once the rivet nut is installed, you just tighten the screw to attach your piece. Other methods are more time consuming, and during this pandemic, time is crucial.
“It felt good knowing that we could help and I know our employees had a sense of pride knowing they were helping too,” Sherex president Adam Pratt said.
By Steve Urhausen, President, All American Systems
For real and meaningful sales growth to take place, collaboration, cooperation and trust between the supplier and the distributor is extremely important.
This is why line walks and joint sales visits with supply chain partners at the end user are so vital that they are included in distributor rebate and purchase agreements. This allows both the distributor and supplier to get a better understanding of the project, processes, and to solve problems the end users are seeking help for.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. Distributors will often go to their supplier for a solution without providing all of the necessary detail to find the best solution. If suppliers don’t know the end product, that typically means the solution they provide is based on the limited information that has been provided to them.
Understanding that there is confidential information, it is quite common for us to execute non-disclosure agreements to work towards an improved solution that benefits all parties involved.
When working with a distributor at an OEM during a line walk, I witnessed a cumbersome assembly for a rivet nut, with the installer reaching for a machined washer to put under the head of the rivet nut prior to the installation. The washer served to raise the head of the rivet nut up just enough that the gasket which was applied to this outdoor housing would not be crushed during final assembly.
Looking for a better solutions and explaining the details to the Sherex team, they were able to manufacture a taller profile head that acted as a spacer in the application thereby eliminating the extra machined washer. This saved cost, the need to manage another part number, increased throughput on that assembly line, and reduced worker fatigue. This resulted in over seven years of sales with over over 600,000 parts sold.
Real sales growth occurs for both parties when the supplier and distributor work together to improve an assembly method or fastener joint resulting in the lowest total installed cost and improved performance of the end product. Both the supplier and distributor gains the respect of the end user, more profit, and more opportunities for additional projects. This improves and solidifies the supply channel while elevating sales experience above the “commodity mentality.” Win-Win!
About Steve Urhausen:
Steve has 43 years in the fastener industry and 25 years as owner of All American Systems. His work experience with importers, distributors, and manufacturers has helped him understand the “right fit” philosophy when trying to match a supplier to a customer. As a sales manager of two different companies, Steve was exposed to sales reps where he learned to respect and appreciate the value that they brought to suppliers and customers. Over the last 25 years as an independent rep has taught him humility, the value of hard work, and that follow through and communication are critical to success!