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1 person found this helpful  

A Disjointed, Double-Edged Experience

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Inside Sales Support
Current Employee - Inside Sales Support

I have been working at Fastenal full-time for more than 3 years

Pros

Fastenal has a decentralized business model which minimizes or eliminates ridgid operational prodcedures and gives every branch the ability to operate as they see fit. There is very little oversight / hand-holding from upper management.

You'll have tons of opportunity (though largely dependent on geographical location) for growth, development of relationships, and advancement and there is a staggering amount of product knowledge to acquire. The full-time medical benefits are fairly good (at least in my case). Matching 401K, stock options, etc. are available. Employee discount is substantial.

Fastenal can be a fun, fast-paced, satisfying place to work if all the right pieces are there.

Cons

The same decentralized model that affords the branches freedom to operate on their own also condemns a lot of branches to perpetual understaffing, poor time management, and lost sales. The success of a branch is largely dependent on how much the employees are willing to put into it. Sales dollars and margin are paramount. Everything else takes a back seat, especially training & development of employees, technology, and other support areas.

The company is frugal to the point that it can compromise productivity and even safety. Technology at the branch level (computers, hand scanners, etc) tends to be slow, several generations old and replacements cost the branch thousands against their sales. Fastenal leases many of its buildings and some are quite sub-par. Mold was rampant in my last branch, the warehouse area flooded every time it rained due to poor drainage, and the HVAC system only worked about half the time. OHSA compliance is left in the hands of the branch and there is next to no oversight when it comes to safety. HAZMAT materials are regularly transported via Dodge pickup truck without proper paperwork, signage, or anything.

Most branches don't have an adequate support staff to handle the day-to-day tasks of wrangling purchase orders, processing quotes, putting stock away and pulling orders, calling on past due accounts, managing inventory, answering the phones, dealing with walk-in customers, etc. These tasks are picked up by under-trained part time associates or by the GM and the sales team who SHOULD be out making sales calls, not doing data entry or chasing down packing slips. Inventory management at the branch level is a joke and there is practically no loss prevention department. All this ends up with the sales team having to handle all aspects of running the business, cutting in to the face time that they have with their accounts, generally leading to a decline in sales. These same salesmen are then evaluated on a monthly basis on a ridiculous number of graded categories and taken to task over why their numbers are suffering. The most common answer given from upper management is "Other branches make it work." Again, you get out what you put in, and many branches (including mine) were forced to bust our humps working unpaid overtime and weekends to turn things around.

The company's chief deficiency is in training. Branches often struggle to find decent part time help, available labor hours are frequently cut to save a buck, and new hires are expected to be "self-starters" and due to the sometimes frantic pace at Fastenal, they are given little chance to sit down with a more experienced employee and learn how things are supposed to work. They are, however, encouraged to watch training videos and take assessment tests on their own time via the company's corporate intranet. Individual branches are responsible for recruitment and development of employees, despite the fact that the District Manager has final say on who gets hired.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Invest in your employees, even a tiny amount. Put together an actual structured, monitored training program. Understand that not everyone you hire is going to be your star salesman month after month. You can't fill a store with nothing but Triple-A sales people and expect it to run well. A company like this needs a support staff to handle store operations, training, procurement, inventory, accounting and, honestly, people to perform the grunt work of putting away orders and filling vending machines.*

*Recently Fastenal has rolled out a new hiring initiative to build up the part-time labor force, so at least this area is being addressed.

Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

609 Other Employee Reviews for Fastenal (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall good experience over 10 years employed there.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Computer Support  in  Winona, MN
    Former Employee - Computer Support in Winona, MN

    I worked at Fastenal full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Company is growing, if your in sales you have a good opportunity to make good money as you are in a bonus program.

    Cons

    Not a lot of room for advancement, company seems to have a lot of family and friends so if you haven't been there since the beginning or have family who's been in the company then advancement won't be an option. CEO doesn't feel computer department contributes to helping on sales and considers it to be an expense - IT department only got a very small bonus and since has been excluded from the bonus program and base pay compensated, but is still $5000 - $7000 lower than the national average for the area on annual pay.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Everything is pretty much Great!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Trainee  in  Orangeburg, SC
    Current Employee - Sales Trainee in Orangeburg, SC

    I have been working at Fastenal part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good Hours and Good money

    Cons

    None at this very moment

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it up!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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