Screwing down specialist fasteners

By David Porter

FAST TURNAROUND: Paul Adlam and daughter Bridgette Lasike. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
FAST TURNAROUND: Paul Adlam and daughter Bridgette Lasike. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Since 1980, Rotorua's Paul and Carole Adlam have owned one of New Zealand's most unique small manufacturing businesses, making a comprehensive range of screws and specialist fasteners.

In addition, in 2000, they took over former competitor CMI Fasteners in Auckland when it went into receivership.

That means they now own two of the only three companies still manufacturing screws and fasteners in New Zealand.

"Manufacturing has taken a hit in NZ, but there are still companies manufacturing that are relatively small," Mr Adlam said. "We can help those smaller manufacturers by making small quantity runs of special fasteners."

Screw Productions and CMI Fasteners supply mainly the New Zealand domestic market. And while the two companies work together on a number of fronts, they operate independently in the market.

Daughter Carole Lasike now manages the day-to-day Rotorua business operations, while Mr Adlam splits his time between Rotorua and Auckland.

"The big thing about manufacturing screws in NZ now is that millions of them are imported into the country, so we have to compete against that and it's very difficult," he said.

"The way we compete is by manufacturing custom products in small quantities and fast."

Mr Adlam had been working for a decade with Tasman Pulp & Paper as a purchasing officer when he decided in 1980 the screw-making business looked interesting, bought a couple of second-hand machines in Britain and set up in Rotorua.

Although Screw Productions and CMI Fasteners have distribution arrangements and produce standard fasteners, they also work directly with OEM manufacturers to design specialist screws in head styles, thread forms, materials and finishes that are suited to their products.

Ms Lasike said they're focused on developing and supplying good NZ-made products that suit customers' requirements. "The small-run capability is part of the key to what we do, but also the fact that we can tweak things to suit whatever they might be wanting," she said.

"As things have moved on we've needed to try and secure some more direct business.

"We can help with those smaller runs that they require. If they want a head that might be a bit smaller than standard then we can manufacture that for them. And if they don't want a standard length, we can shorten or lengthen it."

One of the company's clients is Track Magic, an Auckland-based company that specialises in making curtain tracks. Owner Trevor van der Harst-Williams said Track Magic's philosophy was to have its products made in NZ and it used local companies like Screw Productions because of their reliability and quality.

"If Screw Productions wasn't there we'd have to be buying huge quantities from China or somewhere to get any sort of specials at all and it just wouldn't be economic," he said.

"It means our margins are a little bit smaller than if we brought it in from China, but we are committed to our products being made in NZ. Somebody has to keep jobs here."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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