The fastener supply sector, both nationally and globally, is extremely fragmented, with no company able to claim either market dominance or brand leadership. However, the global market is estimated to be around £50 billion per annum — and growing — of which we have assumed that £25 billion falls within our target customer sector capability.

This has given Trifast an ideal opportunity during the past five years to develop both a strategy and a market reputation to be able to 'stand out from the crowd' within our sector.

We started to realise that we were on the right track back in 2010 when several multi-national OEMs in electronics and Tier 1 automotive conducted quality and environmental audits on our Singapore and Taiwan factories.

Not only did our factories pass these audits — which then led on to TR being nominated as 'Preferred Vendors' on a global basis, but we also received feedback that these major fastener buyers had benchmarked us against several other multi-national fastener suppliers and found that TR had unique advantages:

  • Low cost/high quality manufacturing capability
  • Distribution logistics capability in over 50 countries across three continents
  • Design and application engineers available to customers on site

The reason for being assessed as unique is that, although we are not the largest global supplier, no other player appears to combine an equal capability in manufacturing, lean distribution and on-site engineering resources.

In early 2010 our sales teams had been given a challenge to secure long term supply relationships with 30 multi-national OEMs that had, as an absolute minimum, a £500k annual spend on fasteners and other 'consumable' components.

This target of 30 customers was met by mid 2012, and by year end March 2014 this number was over 40; moreover, with some multi-nationals operating as many as 200 assembly sites around the world, our initial aim of £500k spend per company now looks decidedly conservative. Our OEM multi-national activities now account for over a third of Group revenue.

However, there is so much more to TR's key strengths than just successfully supplying multi-national OEMs, as we blend sales growth of historically strong branded products for sheet metal and plastics with new initiatives on product ranges and technical design innovations for lower cost assembly techniques. These dynamics are further enhanced by our ongoing geographic expansion within Europe and Asia.

Our annual recruitment of young, well educated apprentices ensures that we enjoy the benefits of new blood bringing in fresh ideas"

Our Company profile has been substantially raised in recent years, as has our reputation for being fair, trustworthy and reliable — which has been so reassuringly fed back to us by many of our staff, customers, suppliers and shareholders. We believe that this is why we are regularly approached by potential vendors of fastener businesses around the world, with genuine reasons for wanting us to acquire their business, perhaps because of the founder's lack of an heir, a major shareholder needing to liquidate their assets or because there is a realisation that survival and growth increasingly depends on being global. Our recent additions of PSEP in Malaysia and VIC in Italy are prime examples of how high quality manufacturers have been such welcome assets to support our future aspirations for strong growth, deriving from the drive of competent and ambitious team leaders around the Group.

Key strengths of any business clearly rely on quality products and services at competitive prices being offered to the appropriate markets; however, they fade into relative insignificance without being managed and motivated by the right people. We try very hard to encourage our people to grow their confidence and skills by personal training and development, and by avoiding the stifling of enthusiasm and initiative by micro management. Their loyalty and dedication is clearly indicated by the fact that around 40% of our staff have been with us for over ten years. Our annual recruitment of young, well educated apprentices ensures that we enjoy the benefits of new blood bringing in fresh ideas, alongside the stability and knowledge provided by older colleagues.

Without doubt Trifast is a people business before any other asset.

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