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The lifecycle of an AFL supplied part

May 24th, 2021 | Uncategorised | Comments Off on The lifecycle of an AFL supplied part

AUTO-FASTENERS is highly specialised in the sourcing, supply and distribution of automotive fasteners and small parts. Our unique relationships with manufacturers spread across a globally connected network, enable OEM and 1st Tier customers to source a large number of ISO TS16949 approved parts made from high quality graded and certified raw materials.

Following the journey of a single stainless-steel washer reveals AUTO-FASTENERS interconnected sourcing expertise, stockholding, quality control and packaging capabilities, exemplifying how each process is enhanced by our high standards and efficient scheduling to add a unique value to every part supplied to our Tier X and OEM customers.

High quality Global Manufacturing and Sourcing.

The journey of a stainless-steel washer begins with our stand-out approach to Global Sourcing due to unique relationships with multiple manufacturers. In particular, AUTO-FASTENERS’ ability to source from high-quality engineering expertise available in the Far East provides a flexible and agile alternative approach to that of the larger incumbent manufacturers. In forming and shaping relationships with these alternative manufacturers, we are able to address issues of speed of response, competitive unit cost and low minimum order quantities, adding value to the automotive aftermarket supply and the parts within it.

Our strong relationships with global manufacturers and suppliers allow for a rapid response to quotation requests, providing a seamless fast-acting service that allows for this steel-washer to be obtained quickly and effectively so its value exceeds that of similar parts available from other suppliers.

Quality Control and Environmental Standards.

Once landed at our UK Hub, a random sample from our steel washer’s batch heads straight for our quality testing and inspection laboratory. Here a range of quality tests are conducted including hardness testing, dimensional tolerance inspection, tensile testing, fault detection, corrosion and fatigue testing and more. If the part fails in any way the batch is pulled. Our on-site testing and inspection capabilities are backed up by ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and VDA 6.3 accreditation, whilst all our manufacturing suppliers operate to the internationally recognised ISO TS 16949:2009 quality standard.

Unique Stock Control and Inventory System.

At AUTO-FASTENERS we carry all stock on a ring fenced individual customer basis, meaning no stock is shared between customers. Therefore, as our steel washer enters stock control, it is immediately allocated to its specific customer.

This enables super accurate and immediate stock management, driven by our bespoke ERP and stock control systems. This gives the customer complete flexibility to either call off the washer to a predetermined schedule, or alternatively for immediate dispatch.

The system also allows for the detailed analysis of re-ordering patterns, guaranteeing a continuous supply of parts to meet fluctuating demand. All the time, every AUTO-FASTENER partner remains super-connected thanks to EDI data interchange technology.

Kit Assembly and Bespoke Customer Packaging.

Our particular steel washer is destined to be assembled into an aftermarket fitting kit. It is manually packed to the highest possible standard, to guarantee the specific requirements of its customer’s packaging are met – both in terms of branding, labelling and instructions; but also including any necessary materials to protect the part either in transit or customer storage.

Delivery Schedules and Meeting Demands.

Getting the right products to the right locations at the right time and in the right condition is one of the core pillars of the AUTO-FASTENERS service. In the case of our washer, aftermarket demand from its large OEM customer means it is loaded for almost immediate dispatch. Whilst our International Distribution Centre in the UK serves a global customer base, this part is destined for a shorter delivery journey, arriving at its destination – a domestic dealership parts department – just hours after we receive the initial order.

The following day the kit containing our washer is booked out to the dealer workshop by a technician fitting a crash replacement front bumper to a customer’s car. The day after a very satisfied customer collects the vehicle. Blissfully unaware that her shiny new bumper is being held together by a whole range of quality automotive fasteners which we have moved halfway around the globe, and taken through a multitude of advanced processes.

Each step of AFL’s unique supply system ensures the highest quality product and service. Our ability to source ISO TS16949 approved materials from a large network sits at the root of the company’s performance whilst the high quality of materials is reflected through the service provided from sourcing right through to Aftermarket support. Stocks are maintained with backups after initial delivery to ensure a continuous JIT supply for repeated and fluctuating demands, reflecting how each step of our supply process produces a kit of the highest value.

What’s next for the automotive industry?

April 19th, 2021 | Uncategorised | Comments Off on What’s next for the automotive industry?

A look at some of the key drivers reshaping the Automotive supply chain.


Continued electrification

As we begin to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic the world’s major automakers are ramping up their carbon commitments to meet Global zero emissions goals; whilst simultaneously trying to recover from the economic downturn.

Entering into what is set to be one of the sector’s biggest decades yet, new players such as Lucid, Rivian, Chery and BYD join them in expanding their EV passenger car ranges, with the likes of Nikola and Rivian spearheading change within the commercial truck space.


A key feature of the electric automotive revolution involves putting the customer experience centre stage. Today’s drivers want to browse, spec and buy using online sales tools, and are looking for vehicles with connected features which improve and engage with their digital lives.

Autonomous vehicles

Self-driving cars have been on the horizon for a while now, and that’s where we believe they will probably stay for a little longer, at least in terms of mainstream adoption.

However, it’s really not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Mobility platform businesses such as Uber, Lyft and Gett all have business models that ultimately rely on autonomous vehicles, and big tech giants including Google, Apple and Microsoft continue to work in partnership with the automakers to develop this technology.

Effects on the supply chain

The traditional automotive supply chain

Changes to the way vehicles are designed and built to meet new consumer demands and regulatory requirements will continue to have a significant impact on the traditional supply chain.

Electrification alone will mark the end for lots of traditional car parts such as the engine, transmission, intake, exhaust components and fuel systems.

Other components will become ‘electrified’ such as steering, regenerative braking, and HVAC systems, whilst some are completely new – including drive motors, battery and high volt components, for example.

Read our article on Automotive Fasteners and the EV Revolution.

The current supply chain

As well as the new manufacturers already discussed, we are also seeing the emergence of completely new types of companies and new tiers within the supply chain, such as software providers like Google, Apple, Cisco and IBM. Established suppliers are also repurposing, diversifying and moving between tiers.

The future supply chain

Two critical trends – vehicle control (driver or autonomous), and vehicle ownership (private or shared) are likely to shape continued supply chain disruption and could well see service providers such as Uber, Lyft and BlaBlaCar supplant the OEM’s at the top.

Whilst margins are maybe too small for the likes of Google to take the role of manufacturer, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a brand like Apple who traditionally seeks control of both hardware and software could become involved in the design of parts or even complete vehicles.

JOINED UP THINKING – global sourcing, single supply.

In the shorter term, we all need to focus on building the future of the automotive industry. OEM’s are under increasing pressure to bring innovation to market and therefore Tier 1 suppliers need to be innovative, highly responsive and agile. Whilst this takes substantial investment, the pandemic leaves car makers simultaneously needing to reduce costs to maximise margin.

AUTO-FASTENERS’ global sourcing / single supply model helps customers achieve this by delivering both reduced administration and management cost, and increased operational and logistical efficiencies.


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    We globally source, stock and distribute OEM and TS16949 quality fasteners, small parts and engineered components. We can satisfy both OEM production line and aftermarket requirements for both car and commercial vehicles.
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    Auto-Fasteners Ltd (AFL) is a Tier 1 automotive supplier. We globally source, stock and distribute OEM and TS16949 quality fasteners, small parts and engineered components. We can satisfy OEM production line and aftermarket requirements for both car and commercial vehicles.

    Phone: +44 (0) 1926 814600
    Fax: +44 (0) 1926 813575


    Auto Fasteners Ltd
    Global Distribution Centre
    Holywell Business Park
    Northfield Road
    CV47 0FP
    United Kingdom