If you’re an OEM, distributor, or other professional that relies on fasteners in custom specs or larger quantities, you’re probably sourcing them directly from the manufacturer or a major supplier. And with the way most fastener suppliers now run their processes, specifying, quoting, and ordering is usually done online.
This method of purchasing can be very convenient. Shopping online will maximize your choices and give you the freedom to browse, research, and make a decision on your own time.
An increase in provider options, however, can come with its own issues, including knowing which company to trust, whether they’ll deliver on their promises, and if they are everything they appear to be. Fasteners contribute a lot to an application and can determine its success or failure.
That’s why it’s important to take care when ordering fasteners online. Follow these tips to avoid common headaches and mistakes in your sourcing process.
Shop Domestically And Direct From The Manufacturer
There are many different suppliers of fasteners online and you may end up dealing with a third-party seller even if you’re completing your transaction through a familiar e-commerce source. This means that product quality and integrity can be difficult to trace. If something isn’t up to your standard, you may find it difficult to hold someone accountable.
This is why it’s better to deal directly with the manufacturer of the fasteners you require. You’ll have their assurance of quality and have a source to contact should you have any issues. You may also get more for your money by looking for a domestic source. This can save considerable costs on shipping and transport.
Manufacturers with their own e-commerce capabilities also help you avoid added costs, which third-party sellers tack on to their price to cover the fees associated with selling through big-name online retailers.
And since manufacturers are more familiar with the way customers specify fasteners, they usually arrange their catalog, product search, and quoting features in a more intuitive manner. The washer and shim catalog featured on SuperiorWasher.com is a good example of how a manufacturer can cater a buying experience to the markets they serve.
Look For Certifications
Quality fastener providers are going to be touting their certifications or will at least make it easy to find them. This is much harder to do with a provider that isn’t selling on their own website.
Certifications are about more than just bragging rights; they tell you a lot about the standards a supplier maintains with regard to the raw materials and machinery they use, whether their products comply with high demand applications—such as those used in mil-spec equipment—and other important indicators of quality.
If you can’t easily find that information online, make sure you take the time to contact your potential supplier and ask or look for a more reputable alternative.
Don’t Base Your Decision On Price Alone
When you can easily compare prices across multiple suppliers, it’s tempting to shop for the best deal. There is a big difference between savings and value when it comes to something as integral as fasteners.
Initial costs savings can amount to a compromise in the long run. While a trusted manufacturer should be able to offer you competitive pricing when you get a quote, make sure quality and capabilities are the key factor in your purchasing decision.