Fastenal launches expense reduction program

April 9, 2012
Program includes machines that vend shop supplies and keep track of expensive diagnostic tools.

Fastenal, a national distributor of industrial and construction supplies, has introduced an Expense Reduction Program for auto dealerships that's saving owners time and money related to their shop supplies and essential tools.   

The centerpiece of the program is Fastenal's FAST Solutions industrial vending system. To date, 8,000-plus machines have been installed to help organizations reduce supplies consumption, move the cost of inventory to Fastenal, and increase worker productivity. Introducing this technology to auto dealerships nationwide should be an easy win for both the dealership and Fastenal. With more than 2,600 Fastenal stores and 9,000 local representatives, it's not uncommon to see an auto dealership down the street from the local Fastenal store. 

As any dealership owner or service and parts manager will tell you, technicians typically spend a lot of time walking and waiting in line to get supplies and essential tools. The more technicians you have, the more walking, talking and waiting that takes place in the dealership. Fastenal's vending technology virtually eliminates these costs by making shop supplies and essential tools immediately available to technicians 24/7, right on the shop floor. 

Although it only takes seconds for workers to get what they need, it's hardly a "free-for-all" on supplies. To access product, the worker enters an ID code and a repair order number, then makes a selection. If the request is authorized, the machine dispenses the product and automatically reports the details of the transaction, making workers accountable for what they use. Controls can also be established so that workers only have access to the products (and amounts) needed to do their jobs. As a result of this control and reporting, businesses typically reduce supplies consumption by 25 to 35 percent.

The system completely automates the supply process. Local Fastenal store personnel monitor usage and inventory online and make sure the machines are always filled, with no labor or paperwork required on behalf of the dealership. Each transaction is automatically tracked by the store for billing; and through an optional consignment plan, the dealership only pays for dispensed items, eliminating inventory carrying costs. 

Machines can be configured to stock items like gloves, cable ties, tapes, abrasives, batteries, and other shop supplies. Optional locker units can be utilized to control, track and charge scan tools. Owners can now face OEM audits with a smile, knowing exactly where their essential tools are located – no more unexpected invoices for tools that disappeared during the last year.

Dealers using FAST Solutions are passionate about what the technology has done for their business. The reduction in walking and waiting time has led to more billable service hours, and the expense reductions (in terms of reduced consumption, tool loss, inventory, and service and parts shop labor) have been significant enough to make FAST Solutions a "best idea" within dealership 20 Groups. Click here to view a video case study of the technology's impact at Park Chrysler Jeep (Burnsville, MN).

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