TERRITORY FOCUS: BENELUX, featuring Stanley, pgb, Fabory, Kobout & PECO

With political uncertainty becoming more of a, well, certainty, the Netherlands has been no exception and remarkably didn’t have a working government for almost nine months of 2017 – for a record 208 days. But it hasn’t seemed to have held back the Netherland economy – far from it.

According to estimates from ING, reported by the Financial Times, the Dutch economy is expected to have grown 3.1% in 2017 – the fastest growth the country has seen since 2007.

The Netherlands is the sixth largest EU economy and pitched as the gateway to Europe thanks to Amsterdam’s phenomenal transport links. The Netherlands is also the fifth largest exporter of goods in the world (£482bn ($668bn)), Source: Holland Trade and Invest) and the eighth largest importer of goods.

As a strong trading nation, the Netherlands is among those bracing for the impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. While there is still much clarity required, KPMG has predicted that – for some sectors – the introduction of customs formalities for import and export of goods between the Netherlands and UK (excluding any customs duties that may apply) would result in total additional costs of £550m (€623m) per year. KPMG noted that it is unlikely Dutch businesses will bear those extra costs in full.

Construction growth

Grafton Group – best known in the UK for merchanting brands like Selco, Buildbase and Plumbase – has a significant presence in Benelux: Grafton trades under the YouBuild and Mpro brands in Belgium and the Gerritse, Breur Ceintuurbaan, Van der Winkel and Gunters en Meuser brands in the Netherlands.

According to Grafton, the Netherlands is seeing a “broad based economic recovery” that is supporting the housing and non-residential construction markets (according to its January 2018 update). Demand is strong in the country for specialist merchanting in tools, ironmongery and fixings. At the end of last year, Grafton acquired third generation family business Scholten & de Vries – Estoppey (“SV-E”), a distributor of ironmongery, tools and fixings from four branches located primarily in the Greater Amsterdam Area.

NEVIB (Nederlandse Vereniging van Importeurs van Bevestigingsmaterialen en Aanverwante Industriële Producten) represents fastener distributors in the nation and is a member of EFDA, the European Fastener Distributor Association. Without an active national fastener distributor association of its own, Belgium is represented at EFDA via pgb-Europe, via MEFDA – ‘More EFDA’.

BELGIUM: PGB-EUROPE

pgb-Europe has four locations worldwide, including Melle, near Ghent, which is scheduled for expansion this year with a new automatic pallet warehouse.

Thanks to the purchase of a neighbouring piece of land, the way has been cleared for pgb-Europe to extend its existing automatic picking warehouse, where 7,000 order lines are processed every day.

Together with the new ERP package, this 2018 warehouse will significantly enhance pgb’s internal logistics. Johannes Heye, Product Manager for pgb-Europe, said: “The big challenge will be to get this new structure up and running so that we can continue to grow as a wholesaler and producer and that our customers can reap the benefits.”

In total pgb has around 125-130 people employed, with 75 in Belgium, 35 in Poland, eight in Asia and six in its new offices in France.

NETHERLANDS: STANLEY ENGINEERED FASTENING

STANLEY Engineered Fastening has been operating from its Born headquarters since January 2013. A leader in innovative industrial fastener and tooling solutions, STANLEY has an incredibly broad portfolio of fastening and joining systems in the industry – brands include POP, Avdel, Masterfix and Spiralock. STANLEY has a wealth of knowledge and logistical back-up in local market, with over 160 years of experience and more than 35 world-wide locations. Torque Magazine tapped into that local knowledge of the Benelux market for a short Q&A…

What factors are currently impacting the Benelux fastener market?
Two key factors… growth in ground transportation and general industrial verticals.

How big is STANLEY’s operation in Benelux?
STANLEY Engineered Fastening’s Benelux operation features a sales office and the European Central Distribution Centre, employing 80 staff servicing our POP, Avdel and Masterfix brands.

What are your company’s targets and ambitions in Benelux for 2018?
At STANLEY Engineered Fastening we are ‘For Those Who Make The World… Together, Stronger’. Our aim is to live out this purpose in all that we do for our stakeholders. Our target is to continue the double-digit growth trend attained over recent years. Our value proposition and differentiation is offering the widest solutions of technology-based fastening and assembly systems helping our customers achieve cost efficiencies, improved quality, lower warranty cost, reduced inventory, and increased productivity with no operational downtime. We aspire to be easy to work with.

NETHERLANDS: KOBOUT

Kobout is expanding. From January, the firm is growing with an extra 7,000m² space alongside its headquarters. The expansion will include a warehouse approximately 4,000m² and space for 1,200m² offices at least.

The new warehouse will handle incoming goods, house a large quality department, include bulk storage and Kobout’s enlarged packing and assembling department.

The production department will also move to the new location: “We have a good range of industrial equipment for sawing, bending and drilling all types of rods, bolts and nuts. Due to this movement we increased our capacity by 50%. In total Kobout has 13,300m² warehouse to serve our customers.”

Kobout has imported fasteners since 1979, has over 25,000 articles in stock and has customers in trade, industry and construction.

NETHERLANDS: FABORY

Fabory began 71 years ago from a single location in the Dutch coastal town of Scheveningen. Seven decades on and the multinational firm has 80 locations across Europe, more than 1,100 staff and over 200,000 different products and services. Over the years, Fabory has, like many, diversified to distribute not just fasteners but also related products and services like tools and safety products.

Last year, Fabory was named fourth best wholesaler in the Netherlands by Management Team Magazine. The publication polled 1,500 of its readers, who scored companies in their industry on customer focus, product leadership and excellence of execution. These three elements were judged to make the difference between a ‘normal’ company and a truly valuable one. Industry peers scored Fabory as fourth in the Wholesale Industry and 65th of 500 Dutch companies with the best reputation. Fabory said: “We view this as a great compliment
to our team members and a fantastic basis for our ongoing efforts to increase value to our customers!”

NETHERLANDS: PECO

PECO Select Fasteners is based in Pijnacker in the Dutch province of South Holland. The firm prides itself on being flexible and making quick deliveries of special fasteners.

PECO covers many types of fasteners, in several material grades as well as several dimensions. All articles have European origin and have the certification to prove it. That range includes carbon, stainless steel, Duplex (1.4462) and Super Duplex (1.4501) among others. PECO also has a wide range of stock of Friedberg HSFG Bolts (EN14399-4/6) as well as the non-preloaded Structural Bolts and nuts (EN15048), with FOC test certificates 3.1.

Thanks to a very close relationship with Douwes International, PECO is also able to supply a wide variety of tools and equipment for assembling. PECO and Douwes are based in one building in Pijnacker and both belong to the Indutrade Benelux group.

This article originally appeared in the February edition of Torque Magazine. Read it online on our archive and/or subscribe to Torque Magazine for free online.

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