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Fastenal shows double-digit sales growth

BY Ken Clark

Winona, Minn.-based Fastenal reported third-quarter sales of $802.6 million, up 10.4% from the same quarter last year.

Net earnings for the specialty building products retailer were $109.3 million in the quarter, up 12.9%.

As of Sept. 30, Fastenal operated 2,650 stores, and the company has opened 73 new stores in the first nine months of 2012.

The company also established more vending machines to distribute products through its FAST Solutions industrial vending program, which has 17,013 machines in place. During the first nine months of 2012, the company installed 9,560 new machines, an increase of 128.3% since December 2011.

“We believe industrial vending is the next logical chapter in the Fastenal story. We also believe it has the potential to be transformative to industrial distribution, and that we have a ‘first mover’ advantage,” according to the company’s press release.

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Beyond security: motivating employees

BY Rebecca R Hastings

Given the economic factors at play from 2001 to 2011, it’s hardly surprising that employees ranked job security as the most important factor for job satisfaction. This is no longer the case, however, according to new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) research.

According to the SHRM 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey published Oct. 3, 2012, “opportunities to use skills and abilities” now holds the top spot on the list of job satisfaction drivers (63%), placing job security (61%) in second place for the first time since 2007, when compensation/pay topped the list.

Notably, the percentage of employees who consider the opportunity to use their skills and abilities very important for job satisfaction has increased steadily since SHRM began measuring the statistic in 2004.

Still, fluctuations in the factors that contribute to satisfaction, as well as overall satisfaction levels, tend to shift over time.

“In the 10 years that SHRM has been conducting its job satisfaction survey, there has been a noticeable fluctuation in employees’ overall satisfaction with their jobs,” the report notes. For example, the 2012 overall job satisfaction rate of 81% is down five percentage points from its peak of 86 percent in 2009, and four percentage points above its low of 77% in 2002.

The other three aspects of job satisfaction that made the top five include:

• Compensation/pay (60%).

• Communication between employees and senior management (57%).

• Relationship with immediate supervisor (54%).

• The extent to which employees value each of these three factors varies over time, and their position in the top five — or even the top 10 — list has varied as well. In other years employees ranked factors such as flexibility and safety as very important.

Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

© 2012 SHRM. All rights reserved.

Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

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Two Indiana manufacturers merge

BY Brae Canlen

Midwest Rake Co. of Warsaw, Ind., has purchased Seymour Manufacturing Co., headquartered in Seymour, Ind., for an undisclosed sum. Both companies are outdoor hand tool manufacturers, serving multiple markets both domestically and internationally. 

Midwest Rake will continue to operate independently with existing management in place. At the same time, the companies will share in the breadth and diversity of each other’s product lines and customer base.

Midwest Rake Company is a 22-year-old family owned and operated manufacturer and supplier of long-handled tools used in a variety of markets and work environments. Midwest Rake products are sold and in use domestically and internationally, under the Midwest Rake, Kenyon, Northstar and Toolite labels. The company also provides OEM and private-label capabilities.

Seymour Manufacturing began its history in Seymour, Ind., in 1872, three years before the first telephone, as a manufacturer of wagon wheel spokes. Purchased by Semple and Birge manufacturing company of St. Louis in 1875, Seymour has remained in the Birge family since that time. During the middle of the last century, Seymour established its reputation of providing the market with high quality digging tools and snaths. 

Under the leadership of Berl Grant, the company embarked on a program of product line expansion that included the acquisition of Structron and its line of fiberglass handled tools in 1995, and more recently, O.P. Link and its replacement handle business. Today, Seymour sells more than 2,400 different lawn and garden tools, fireplace equipment and accessories. Seymour will continue to operate in Seymour, Ind., and three Tennessee locations.

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