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Record attendance at BIAFD Spring Meeting 2017  (24 May, 2017)

The British & Irish Association of Fastener Distributors welcomed a record number of members to its Spring General Meeting on 18th May in Stratford upon Avon.

Seventy-five representatives from Irish and UK fastener distributors assembled at the historic Welcombe Hotel - catching up with each other over a buffet lunch before being welcomed to the afternoon’s business by BIAFD vice-chairman, Andy Witts.

Matthew Fleming, director at KMPG’s legal services, provided the keynote presentation – taking on the unenviable challenge of exploring the implications of Brexit on the fastener distribution sector, and particular its international trade relationships. While, of course, no-one is yet in a position to provide definitive answers, Matthew clarified many of the issues likely to be faced over the next two years, and provided clear markers for BIAFD members to consider, both in relationship to their own companies and in the wider business environment.

After the refreshment break, Pat Laight, CEO of Aspray24, the Willenhall-headquartered delivery and logistics specialists, outlined a spectrum of challenges currently facing the freight industry. Speaking to many existing customers, Pat’s presentation was invaluable in identifying issues that will impinge on how the delivery sector as a whole services its customers over the next two to three years. Pat also used Aspray24’s unique position to act as a mirror to the fastener and hardware supply chain, exploring changing trends in its physical distribution requirements. Aspray24 is a long-standing associate member of the BIAFD – associates enjoy the same benefits as general members and have a unique access to the key decision makers attending BIAFD’s events.

Rounding off the afternoon, BIAFD members were able to discuss some of the key external factors affecting the fastener distribution sector. For UK fastener importers and their customers - whether distributors or OEM fastener consumers - top of the list has to be the acute impact of the devaluation of sterling against US Dollar and Euro, the primary currencies for sourcing fasteners for UK industry. Inflationary pressures continue to bear on fasteners, exacerbated by the rising cost of the key fastener raw material – cold heading quality steel wire rod – throughout the global supply market.

Earlier in the day, BIAFD Executive members discussed the implications of the impending authorisation requirement for the use of hexavalent chromium compounds in fastener coatings and the obligations placed by the REACH regulation on manufacturers, importers and distributors of fasteners.

BIAFD is a founder member of the European Fastener Distributor Association, which represents the interests of national associations and major fastener importers/distributors across Europe. A key role for EFDA currently is in explaining to policy makers the realities of the modern fastener distribution sector. BIAFD members received a sample copy of a new EFDA document, titled “Securing the Future”. This dispels out-dated perceptions of a simple “box-shifting” sector and outlines the advanced and technically sophisticated management of complex global fastener supply chains, which ensures strategic European industries receive the right fasteners on time.

BIAFD welcomed four new members to the spring meeting. To join them in ensuring your UK or Irish fastener distribution business is better informed, visit www.biafd.org for more information about BIAFD membership or email info@biafd.org.uk

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