Fast Company Analysis

Fastenal Company was founded in 1967 in Winona, Minnesota by Bob Kierlin. During the first month of business, Mr. Kierlin only managed to make $157 in sales. Despite the slow start, Mr. Kierlin knew what he wanted to do to make Fastenal successful, and that was to provide the kind of service that keeps customers coming back. This is when “Growth Through Customer Service” was invented. Since then, “Growth Through Customer Service” has been the mission of Fastenal.
Fastenal is an industrial supply company and since 1967, 2,500 stores have opened across 50 states, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Netherlands, Europe, China, and Singapore. Each store utilizes local inventory, outside sales staff, and on-site delivery vehicles to help save the customers’ time and money. Fastenal also owns and operates 16 Distribution Centers with a fleet of over 180 semi-trucks and trailers. Fastenal’s organization structure allows a customer to receive a fully-customized part hand delivered by an employee within three days.
Fastenal’s main inventory is fasteners like screw, nuts, washers, and threaded rod. Fastenal has over 700,000 individual inventory items that range from power tools to tape to janitorial supplies. Fastenal’s target market is mainly focused on companies that consistently need to buy parts for the jobs they need to complete regularly. Fastenal even has vending machines stocked with custom inventory to provide companies in need of access to certain parts without having to come into the store each time.

Vending machines are critical to the business strategy of Fastenal; the machines provide excellent customer service and convenience without an employee having to be present. It ensures that the companies with the vending machine will continuously and consistently purchase products. Fastenal’s marketing plan relies on monthly product deals that are distributed to every account owner each month. Outside sales staff and managers will deliver the catalogs each month. Fastenal also has an online presence, companies have the ability to go online and design an order template for quick and easy purchasing.
Fastenal currently sponsors Carl Edwards from NASCAR, America’s most viewed sport, as an additional source of marketing. In May 2011, Fastenal made over 200,000 sales, 29% more than 2010. Fastenal opened nine new stores this month and 57 this year-to-date. Fastenal has also hired 2,000 more employees compared to 2010. Performance of the company varies from month to month because the winter months of the year typically have less construction occurring which results in a smaller demand of what Fastenal offers.

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