A review and preview of the global fastener market
Named after the Roman god who is often depicted as having two faces – due to its ability to look to the future and to the past – the Janus Perspective is a unique feature that includes a wide cross section of global fastener business leaders, who have all contributed their retrospective of 2019 and thoughts on prospects and challenges for 2020.
Dr Matthias Sckuhr, CEO and chairman of the board
After a highly promising start to 2019, industrial enterprises around the world are facing considerable challenges at the turn of the year.China’s economy – which for many years has driven the global economy – has stalled. Individual sectors, such as automotive, have been hit particularly hard. The situation is also being exacerbated by the political impact of international trade disputes and BREXIT.
Despite the generally difficult environment, Nedschroef has managed to continue on its growth path, thanks to our growth above market in areas outside of the automotive sector. We have also been able to expand the range of our engineering service activities through our CP Tech business unit, established in 2017, and our machinery division’s innovative cold forming machines have given us a third mainstay that is contributing to our success.
The fastener technology sector as a whole is vibrant and the automotive supplier market is currently undergoing the biggest transformation since the car was invented more than 125 years ago. Nedschroef is facing these challenges with targeted entrepreneurial and strategic decisions. In the process, we are exploiting the opportunities provided by the megatrends ‘sustainability’ and ‘digitalisation’.
The issue of sustainability is crucial as, in addition to the actual environmental aspect, we are experiencing increasing political and social demands for manufacturers to reduce their vehicles’ CO2 footprint throughout the value chain in the automotive sector in particular. Of course, this also includes production of supplier components, such as fasteners. At Nedschroef, we already use efficient, sustainable forming technology processes that hardly create any production waste. We also use steel containing a high proportion of recycled material. Another component in sustainability is innovative fasteners for lightweight automotive construction designs. This means that, in future, it will be possible to produce small, economical and extremely versatile electric vehicles for city traffic and driverless people transporters. In terms of our product strategy, we are concentrating on new results in the automotive industry, especially with regard to e-mobility.
We are exploiting the new opportunities generated by Industry 4.0 for projects such as our ‘Dream Factory’. Here, we are developing platforms for our partners that will massively accelerate and streamline our business processes in the future. We are blazing a trail here, by relying on artificial intelligence to fully digitalise the sequence from receipt of an enquiry to production of the necessary product. Initial results have shown that we are on the right way forward with this concept.
Our 4F product strategy is at the heart of our continued sustainable growth. The term ‘4F’ stands for fastening, forming, functionality and fixing. We will drive this strategy forward to supply our customers with increasingly complex and demanding components, by deploying the strength that is our complete value chain.
This product strategy enshrines our entrepreneurial approach, which is geared to greater flexibility and agility and will, in future, incorporate even more customer centric activities. For example, in the immediate future Nedschroef will streamline its organisation so that it can concentrate even harder on the various markets’ specific requirements and different customers worldwide. This includes development and production of products on-site in the region where the customer is active. This leads to short lines of communication and short delivery routes and means customer requirements can be implemented quickly. We will also rigorously pursue the path to being a full service provider. We offer the customer a ‘one stop’ service package for fastening systems, including development services, testing and, of course, production, as well as delivery direct to the factory assembly line.
This package of measures, and the corporate strategy geared to growth and sustainability, will safeguard Nedschroef’s global trailblazing role in fastener technology and establish it as a leading partner for formed products.
We do not anticipate any significant improvement in the overall market situation in 2020. Our response to this is to pursue our path without hesitation, with the focus on profitable growth, cost optimised concepts for our customers and excellent processes. Rapid, flexible responses to the requirements of the market and those of our customers will be key to our success.
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.