“The MWFA’s purpose is to serve and promote the fastener industry and the ever changing needs of its membership.  Specifically, the MWFA is dedicated to representing all segments of the industry: manufacturers, distributors, importers and suppliers to the industry.”

-MWFA Mission

The Mid-West Fastener Association (MWFA) is one of the oldest fastener associations in the United States, extending for over 70 years. Every year, the MWFA activities have drawn members, as well as the fastener industry, to dinner meetings, Educational Seminars, annual Fastener Expo & Trade Shows, and programs from all over the world.

To date, the MWFA has awarded 499 scholarships to members, spouses and their children, totaling in excess of $636,000.  As a leader in the fastener industry, the MWFA places education as its top priority. Education and growth are important in keeping companies and industries competitive, especially with the rapidly evolving industrial sectors.

New technologies such as 3D printing are influencing the future of manufacturing, even for things as small as spare parts. Additionally, the global market is finding new ways to conduct business. No doubt these shifts are impacting the fastener industry. 2016 witnessed the most fastener acquisition deals completed over the past nine years with a whopping 49 acquisitions completed.

We spoke to Bob Baer, the President of the MWFA, about the challenges in the fastener industry, what trends are happening, how fastener associations can work together, and what the MWFA is doing to facilitate industry growth. 

What are some of the challenges that the fastener industry is currently facing?  
Baer: Increased overseas competition and the uncertainty of a possible import tax by the Trump administration. There also exists a lack of good data on trends, sales etc.   The FDI is good but lacks depth as not many companies participate.  

What do you think is the most influential trend, concern, or shift happening in the fastener industry now?
Baer: Almost all distributors now have websites where you can purchase product direct through the web.  Communication is becoming less and less. 

How is your organization preparing to handle the changes occurring in the fastener industry?
Baer: We are enhancing our website to work with all devices and utilizing email more often than direct calling.

A lot of acquisitions took place in 2016, do you believe this trend will continue in 2017? How does this trend affect fastener associations?
Baer: Yes, as business gets better this year and companies profit, they will invest in purchasing companies to facilitate growth in sales.

What do you believe is important for fastener companies to do in order to stay competitive and maintain a successful business?
Baer: New products, constantly refresh website, social media presence and increasingly competitive pricing.  

How could fastener organizations work together to advance the fastener industry? 
Baer: Get involved with local associations, take ownership of the industry as if it were part of your company.   

What programs/benefits does your organization provide to members to enhance their experience?
Baer: The MWFA continuously contribute to the Midwest members with educational / networking and industry events.  

Can you tell us more about your organization’s scholarship opportunities?  
Baer: The MWFA has one of the industry’s best scholarship program disbursing close to $660K to date.  We encourage every member to apply every year

Baer is the first President in a series of fastener association leaders we have selected to interview. Subscribe to receive these interviews directly to your inbox.

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