Fast-Rite Blog

25 Jan

Looking for Welding Supplies?

Give us a call!
Fast-Rite introduces it’s Welding Genius and Genius (TM) supply programs, featuring all major brands of Mig, Tig, Arc & Gas welding consumables, equipment and safety supplies.
And watch out for our new MRO Genius and Welding Genius web sites coming soon!

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29 Jun

Our Summer Sale! Buy American and Save Money Too!

Save yourself some money and keep the jobs here!

Fast-Rite Presents a great selection of MRO Tools, Abrasives, Chemicals, Cleaners, Safety Items and more!
Our Made In USA Catalog has hundreds of great deals!

See Fast-Rite's new Made In USA Catalog

To download the catalog, CLICK HERE!

Or Call us at 888-327-8077!

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02 Jun

Shedding Some Light on Industrial Productivity

If I told you that you could…
o Increase worker productivity 5 – 15%.
o Reduce Absenteeism 40%
o Reduce energy consumption drastically
o Improve safety
o Improve moral
o have this all pay for itself in as low as a year
o Present dozens of documented examples how it’s already been done
Would I have your interest?

There’s a tried and true simple way to do this, that’s currently in use by Coca-Cola, Lockheed, Office Depot and many other companies throughout the US. And it can work for your company too:

In my position as Productivity Manager for Fast-Rite, I often survey customer plants all over North America to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, safety issues, and to bring solutions to the table that will resolve these problems and increase customer productivity. And one of the most obvious problems we’ll see is poor lighting, even dangerously poor lighting.

I remember being in an expansive heavy manufacturing facility, walking around a dimly lit corner when a forklift came barreling around. Now I heard the truck coming, but I’m not sure the driver even saw me. When reviewing our survey with management I asked them how many days since the last injury. They laughed. “Days? Hours, Maybe”. It was a dangerous environment.

And it was a depressing environment to work in. The light level was more attuned to a Massage Envy than an industrial powerhouse. Absenteeism was rampant, turnover was high – despite wages far above the local norm. People just didn’t enjoy working there.

But for many cases, there’s a simple, powerful, effective, and cost effective solution. Just walk out the door, and look up. We have an incredible source of light only 93,000,000 miles away, and it’s free, not taxed (well, not yet), and now we have ways to reap that light and bring it inside cost effectively.

Just a few examples:

Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso Texas installed Orion Energy System’s Apollo ® Solar Energy tubes in 8 buildings on the base. Rather than pay for power, they’ll save about $63,000 a year, or over $1.2 million over 20 years.

Now you say, “that’s in Texas, but we’re up north”. Consider the case of Festival Foods new 70,000 square foot store all the way up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Even without the sun-drenched environment their 172 daylighting tubes totally light the facility up to 10 hours a day, and they expect a full payback in 7-8 years. This especially came in handy during a local power outage, when shoppers kept shopping without even noticing the power outage because the store was so brightly lit.
(Let me mention that I was so enthused about the Orion Solar Energy tubes that I own stock in the company).

Whether Orion or Solatube or another brand, Daylighting is a natural lighting situation that brightens employee morale even more than it does the environment. It’s much easier to be productive in a bright, natural environment.

There are hundreds of examples, but let me just give you a few:—20100716-Orion-Energy-Systems-wins-product-of-the-year.php

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30 May

Fast-Rite Sucessfully Implements SAP HANA!

Fast-Rite is pleased to announce that we’re now live on SAP HANA!

While we are one of the smaller companies in the world running SAP, We’re a very early adoptee of the latest and greatest technology SAP has. This will allow Fast-Rite to “punch far above it’s weight” by improved transaction time and vastly improved reporting, unheard of in our field.

For those who don’t know, HANA is the new improved database that SAP now runs on and is their database platform for the future. This upgrade enables SAP to run faster and also utilize new functionality such as ECOMM and business analytics.
This will allow us to better serve our customer base, and also allow those customers who prefer to use on-line order capacity to place orders on line.

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25 May

Reduce Cost? Or Add Value?

Back in the late 1980′s there was an electronics store in the Chicago Suburbs that was wildly popular. Precision Video in Bellwood had all the best equipment. Their weekly ads listed a ton of deals every week on popular electronics such as TV’s, VCR’s, Audo equipment and more. They competed sucessfully with all the giants.. Fretters, Highland, Polk Brothers, Silo, Village Home Entertainment, others.

One item always stood out on the page, it seems for many years they advertised a 27″ Zenith Picture in Picture TV. I remember seeing this at $449.
All their competition slowly began to fade away, especially when Best Buy and Circuit City came into town. One by one they all fell.

In time that $449 became $399, then it became $349, $299, then $249. And finally Precision Video bit the dust too. The margins could no longer support them even though there was a great demand. Later, Circuit City folded, and since then Best Buy themselves has been on the ropes.

But a trend towards cost reduction has never stopped. This has eroded price – and margins, significantly. Manufacturers had to look to reduce cost in order to be competitive. And the first place they looked was at the cost of their raw components.

Then the American Auto industry rolled out a new trick.

One major Auto maker began to demand a 3% cost reduction from their suppliers, year after year. And to a large extent, they got it.
Why? Well, because at first, the margins of their suppliers at the time supported it.

But it was obvius from the start that this trend couldn’t go on forever. You couldn’t reduce and reduce and reduce and stay in business.
So the suppliers sharpened their pencil at first, and later, began to sharpen their operation. They started shaving everything they could, improving their efficiencies, so they could lean out their margins even more.

Was that good? Well, in many ways, yes. Business supply was not very efficient. American factories needed to tighten up our act, especially in automotive and other heavy industries.
But there were bad repercussions also. The relentless drive toward cost reduction has put a focus on the price versus the value. Yet we have a public, especially in the US, that wants more and more value for their money.
How do we do this?

Some have tried to do so by reducing the quality.

As the American automotive industry learned, quality is a given, and a drive to cost reduction can push the level of quality down. If that happens, business will flee.

Toyota had some bad press due to very poor management decisions with brake problems a few years ago, but just look back at what happened when the Camry came out years ago. As is typical, the American competition would go out and buy the competitor models, and take them apart to find out what made them tick.

David Magee tells the story of what they found out:

“… the Ford team members knew the Camry would soon take over; the vehicle was undeniably a wonder for the price. No other car came close. When Ford Engineers took a Camry apart piece by piece for study, many became mesmerized and others panic-stricken by the obvious quality, suggesting it was frightening to think Toyota could make a car so good.” – How Toyota Became #1: Leadership Lessons from the World’s Greatest Car Company – David Magee

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It’s critical that we focus harder on Value Add than Cost Reduction.

At Fast-Rite, we spend a lot of time seeking to add value to our customers. We visit their plants, and identify opportunities to improve their operations, their product, and their cost effectiveness. One of the things we’ve learned is the value of another set of eyes, getting another’s input as to how to improve an operation.
Our customers know their products and their processes very well, yet we’ve been able to apply experience and a lifetime of learning to be able to identify and save them millions of dollars in productivity and hard cost savings.
One thing we’ve learned, you need experts, yet, not everyone that can help needs to be experts at your operation. In fact, sometimes you may find someone whose only work history was working at Dunkin’ Donuts can join a kaizen event for a manufacturing cell, and while they may not know beans about manufacturing, they learned a little bit about organization or ergonomics that the other members would not think of.

So we thought we’d give some examples of some of the things we’ve learned over the years. How to raise productivity is a job that will never be done. Continuous improvement will never be done.

In the next post on this series we’ll shed some light on a very simple matter: Light, and it’s relation to the work environment.

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28 Mar

Need immediate assistance? Chat live now!

We’re pleased to announce we’ve added a chat function to our website. For immediate assistance click on the “Chat Live Now!” link on the bottom of our website.

Agents are available from 8am to 7pm CST.

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24 Jan

Never run out!

Fast-Rite is pleased to announce the new Actylus™ Smart-Bin System featuring Right-time bin replenishment for right-size inventory – and better cash flow!


• Your supply chain talks to you
Smarter Spaces™ technology eliminates the tags, flags and cards
of manual monitoring with proactive restock and reorder alerts
right to your ERP.

• Keep lines up and running
Real-time replenishment alerts and automated ordering put an end
to stock-outs and emergency orders – and keep everyone working.
• Visualize your supply chain
With Trajectory Cloud™ Business Intelligence tools, you can view
real-time information and see changes in usage patterns,
consumption trends, productivity and more.

For more details click here or call 888.327.8077!!  Fast-Rite Actylus


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07 Jun

Laminated shims can save you money

Did you know that using laminated shims can decrease your SKU count and lower your overall cost?

See this great article in Assembly Magazine.


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06 Jun

New Product / Service offering!

Fast-Rite is pleased to announce that it is now the first US Reseller of The Warehouse Auditor.

The Warehouse Auditor is a Unique Combination of Service and Software for Measuring and Managing Continual Improvement through photographic evidence based auditing against a set of meaningful criteria, complete with an audit scoring system, recommendations and corrective actions to ensure continual improvement.

A terrific Performance Enhancing  tool, The Warehouse Auditor will allow Fast-Rite personnel to visit customer locations and evaluate their storage locations and processes, and provide tangible evidence back to the customer on how they can measure and improve their operations.


Over the next month our personnel will be trained on the new product.

For more information please  contact Jim Gillespie at 630.942.6270.

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11 Apr

A Riveting Solution!

Introducing the Kingset:

 Using Blind Rivets?  Spending more money in labor than rivets? We have a solution that’s:
  • Cost-effective
  • Durable
  • Lightweight: app 5 lbs.
  • Hangs from your current balancers
  • Is much easier to use than the current system
  • Cycle time to feed rivets to a ready position within one second
  • Eliminates the problem of dropped rivets on the work surface and floor
  • Captures the mandrels
  • Pistol Grip solution ideal for work surface level operation and flex positioning
  • Rapid Reload: 100 rivet belt swapped in as little as 15 seconds for skilled operator
  • One-Touch operation that frees one hand for operator to position or hold material

 Click here to see it in action!

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