How Fastenal helps teams around the world
August 29, 2023
By Jeff Watts, Chief Sales Officer, and the Blue Print Editorial Team
By Jeff Watts, Chief Sales Officer, and the Blue Print Editorial Team
Fastenal officially became an “international company” back in 1994 when we opened a branch in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada – our first location outside the United States. For us, it was really about following Fastenal’s motto of Growth Through Customer Service.
The organizations that relied on us as a supply chain partner weren’t just operating in the Midwest or Texas or California. So, when they asked if we could support them in Canada, we made the decision to move north. With that, we also established a footprint to build new relationships in that market.
This basic roadmap led us on a decades-long journey across the planet. Fast-forward to today, and we operate nearly 600 Fastenal locations outside the United States, providing local service in hundreds of international markets spread across 24 countries.
But for me, the most impressive number is this: We now have more than 4,400 international employees. When I started on the international sales team, we had 9 or 10 people. It’s amazing to think about the opportunities that have been created for so many employees and their families around the world.
The journey has been led by our local teams. Over the years, they’ve solidified partnerships, earned new opportunities, hired and developed leaders, and come up with ways of doing business that make sense for their local markets. But they’ve done so while collaborating across borders; using shared systems, data, and technology; and executing globally consistent programs for multinational organizations. This unified-yet flexible approach is reflected in our international rallying cry: "One Team, One Goal."
What are we seeing today in local markets around the world? What are the next steps in the journey? Let’s check in with our leaders for a quick report from our international teams.
– Jeff Watts, Chief Sales Officer
Fernando Garcia & Joel Murillo, Regional Vice Presidents
For us, “One Team, One Goal” means all members of the team are helping each other, sharing experiences, abilities, and knowledge to achieve a common goal. That goal is to be the best supply chain partner for our customers.
As a result of our growth, Fastenal Mexico has been able to strengthen different areas of the supply chain and evolve the operation to the point of becoming the best-in-class industrial distributor in Mexico. A key differentiator is Fastenal’s investment in technology that helps organizations capture data and operate more efficiently. Another differentiator is our investment in
training and developing our workforce, which translates to local expertise and excellent service.
Companies are still being challenged with supply chain disruptions, which is why it’s important to
have strategic partners and not just transactional or tactical suppliers. In an increasingly unpredictable world, our role is to strengthen and simplify organizations’ supply chains so they can consistently meet their customers’ expectations.
It centers on a few core commitments
Miguel Pedroza, Senior Vice President of International Sales & Phillip Torfin, Regional Vice President
At Fastenal, we take pride in offering "glocal" service. This means our strategic customers receive best-in-class global resources (think sourcing, quality/engineering, logistics, and technology) along with excellent local service. Our Asia Pacific business is no different. Here we work daily as one team with the same objective, which is to provide the best local service to our customers, using all the experience and global resources we have to offer.
Today we operate in 9 of China’s 12 major cities, and we offer personalized service through the 38 branches we operate in the country, in addition to our locations in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. We want our customers to have the same great experience no matter their location. The service we provide in Shanghai or Beijing, for example, is no different than what they get anywhere else in the world with Fastenal.
The big news for our teams in China is that the restrictions that existed until the end of 2022 are no longer in place. 2023 has been very special for us, and we are very excited to interact directly with all of our customers again – there is simply no substitute for that human connection. Moving
forward, our goal is to continue growing hand-in-hand with our strategic customers. Being a partner in their success will give us the opportunity to invest in even more local resources and expand our capabilities.
Andrew Davidson, Regional Vice President
We have built our European division through an organic approach, which has included hiring and developing nearly all of our team locally, starting with entry-level roles. This strategy has helped define a powerful “One Team, One Goal” culture – one Blue Team working in sync
to deliver value to our customers.
As inflation continues to pressure industrial companies, they need to partner with suppliers they trust to help bring continuous improvements to their supply chain. This is what gets our whole team excited every day. With our total cost of ownership (TCO) mindset, backed with the best data analytics in the industry, we know we can continue to bring proven value to our customers each and every day. The “One Team, One Goal” culture we have built is arguably the most critical point for our customers – it ensures that the entire company is focused on their supply chain as a first priority.
Chris Garratt, Regional Vice President
For Europe, “One Team, One Goal” means going beyond bringing 15 countries, 12 languages, and 9 currencies together as one team. It means operating with the mindset that all of our teammates across the globe are an integral part of our strategy and our ability to deliver consistency to our customers – consistency in terms of value creation, solutions, quality, and world-class customer service. Fastenal is truly unique in this respect, and our accelerated growth in Europe, and throughout our international business units, is a testament to the teamwork and consistency Fastenal brings to our customers globally.
Nelson Vicente, Director of Sales
For our business in South and Central America, “One Team, One Goal” is a statement that great things are never accomplished alone. It takes a full effort from our team, our suppliers, and our customers. Our drive to bring great service, innovation, and value to our customers is fueled by the respect, trust, and care we have for each other. We are all one team working together, backed by the Blue Team on a global level.
As we continue to grow our footprint in Latin America, we’re very excited about the plans we have in place to develop and add local talent, technology, and supply chain capabilities. This will continue to put us in a great position to provide the best service for our customers, introduce new
solutions, and also create opportunities for our team members to take on new challenges in their Fastenal careers.
At the end of the day, our core proposition is to be a partner in our customers’ procurement and material management processes – in ways they’ve never seen before. We do this in large part by crafting and implementing cost savings solutions through technology. By creating value for the end user, we grow together and create opportunities for our team.
“The greatest resource in the world is the human individual, with each individual having enormous potential to do wonderful things.”
Locations by country
United States - 2,829
Canada - 298
Mexico - 190
China - 38
Malaysia - 5
Singapore - 2
Thailand - 3
Ireland - 3
Sweden - 1
United Kingdom - 12
Austria - 2
Belgium - 4
Republic - 4
France - 14
Germany - 10
Hungary - 2
Italy - 17
Netherlands - 2
Poland - 5
Romania - 6
Spain - 5
Switzerland - 1
Brazil - 14
Chile - 3
Panama - 4
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