"That's one of our problems," says Cellary. "Many fastener distributors think that all we produce is 410 screws. Although we do have one of the largest inventories of 400 screws in the country, we also produce substantial quantities in 1808, brass and steel. This include all kinds of thead-cutting screws such as F, 1, 23, 25, BF."
Ford Fasteners got its "name" because when Cellary launched the firm in 1963, it adopted "Ford for 400" as its theme. Its original production was of 410 stainless screws for hardware distributors who supplied manufacturers of aluminum windows and doors. Soon Ford was selling stainless steel screws to major appliance manufacturers and selected screws distributors throughout the country.
In its early years, Ford Fasteners employed sales representatives. This didn't work out, mainly because these sales reps generated as many inquiries for parts which Ford
didn't make--such as imported carriage bolts, slotted machine screws and nuts, etc. --as they did sales. So Ford switched over to fastener and screw distributors.
"We prefer distributors to OEM accounts," says Cellary. "About 95% of all our sales today are through distributors throughout the country. We even have some sales overseas."
One of the reasons Ford likes selling through distributors is the willingness of distributors to recommend Ford Fasteners for their quality, service and price. This leads to an extensive number of telephone inquiries, and Cellary is a stickler on how these are handled.
"We carry an inventory in the neighborhood of 300 million screws," he says. "When a customer calls, we insist that he be told within three minutes whether the screws he wants are in stock, and that prices be quoted quickly and accurately. We also insist that any order which is phoned in before 2 p.m., provided no secondary operation such as plating or heat treating is required, be shipped out that same day."
Ford Fasteners' sales department is headed by Barnett Singer, a veteran in the fastener sales industry. Singer has worked for some of the largest fasteners in the New York metropolitan area, and he knows the industry as well as the industry knows him. His two principal assistants are Bob Dickinson, who has spent his entire career in the fastener industry, and George Cellary's son Chris, who has worked in virtually every department at Ford Fasteners.
Ford Fasteners today employs a total of 50 people -- quite a difference from 1963 when George Cellary and three others started the operations. Today Ford has 18 High Speed Headers, not many compared to the "giants" who have 100 or more headers. But Ford isn't looking back on 16 years of solid, consistent growth; they are looking ahead.