“It is our goal to consistently grow as an organization and be of assistance to our members by helping them stay abreast of the events taking place in the fastener industry.”

-The North Coast Fastener Association (NCFA)

New technologies such as 3D printing are influencing the future of manufacturing, even for things as small as spare parts. Global market shifts continue to impact the fastener industry. In 2016, an overwhelming 49 acquisition deals were completed. This makes 2016 the year with the most acquisitions in 9 years. Fastener organizations are playing an important role in educating professionals and furthering the industry as a whole. 

The North Coast Fastener Association (NCFA) is one of them. The NCFA is a not-for-profit organization made up of volunteers to help inform and educate affiliates of the fastener industry. Since its establishment in 1982, the NCFA has been finding new ways to provide values to their members. Recently, the NCFA made an environmentally beneficial move by going paperless.  Not only will this save paper, it will also benefit the organization’s operating costs.

We spoke with Larry Kelly, the President of the NCFA about the challenges in the fastener industry, what trends are happening, how fastener associations can work together, and what the NCFA is doing to facilitate industry growth. 

What are some the challenges that the fastener industry currently facing?
Kelly: 
Foreign competition is always a challenge in the fastener industry. Parts imported from overseas have a direct impact on domestically produced fasteners.

Retaining quality people especially in the manufacturing side of the fastener business is getting harder and harder. There is so much emphasis on getting a college education these days’ people are not looking to the skilled trades and do not want to work in a manufacturing plant.  We as a fastener organization need to promote the trades so we can attract skilled and qualified workers.

What do you think is the most influential trend, concern or shift happening in the fastener industry now?
Kelly: The push for lighter weight vehicles is driving the need to produce lighter weight materials such high strength steel and aluminum especially in the automotive industry. Certain types of fasteners like weld fasteners are being replaced with mechanical joining or adhesives.  Plastic is replacing metal and eliminating the need for steel fasteners in certain applications.

How is your organization preparing to handle the changes occurring in the fastener industry?.
Kelly: Keeping our members aware of changes through our newsletters, social media, and having educational opportunities like the event we’ll be having at the NCFA Distributor Social. We are always looking for ways to promote educational activities to keep the members current with technology changes and changes in the fastener industry.

A lot of acquisitions took place in 2016, do you believe this trend will continue in 2017? How does this trend affect fastener associations?
Kelly: 
I think the trend will continue as larger fastener companies look to increase their footprint in the industry. From a fastener association stand point we stand to lose a member company if they are acquired by a non-member company who doesn’t see the value in remaining in our organization. 

What do you believe is important for fastener companies to do in order to stay competitive and maintain a successful business?
Kelly: Training. Training. Let’s face it, we are in an industry with an aging work force so it is critical we train replacements so our organizations continue to be successful.

How could fastener organizations work together to advance the fastener industry?
Kelly: 
I point back to my training comment. If our organizations work together to offer programs to help train and educate we will advance the industry and help retain qualified workers.

What program/benefits does your organization provide to members to enhance their experience?
Kelly: We partner up with many different service providers who offer discounts to our member companies. We also host many different events throughout the year such as the Distributor Social which offers good networking opportunities to our members.

Can you tell us more about your organizations scholarship opportunities?
Kelly: 
We typically award 4 -5 $1,000 scholarship each year to eligible applicants.

Tell us more about the programs you have scheduled for 2017?


FASTENER ASSOCIATION QUESTION SERIES: 

Fastener Interviews, Fasteners, News