Fastenal had 1,925 machines installed with customers as of the fourth quarter 2010; at the end of 2012’s fourth quarter, the company had 21,095 machines installed, an almost 1,000 percent increase over a two-year period. Vending sales made up more than a quarter of Fastenal’s sales in the 2012 fourth quarter.
Fastenal is trying to increase the number of machines per store. About 45 percent of Fastenal’s capital expenditures in 2012 were vending-centered, and the company will continue to invest in the program with a new vending-specific warehouse in Indiana.
Another way Fastenal plans to improve vending margins is by reconfiguring some of the machines with more profitable products.
Vending will continue to be a priority for the distributor, which has found that customers with vending solutions are seeing 30 percent daily sales growth; down from past years but still attractive, according to CFO Daniel Florness. “Every one of our customers has the potential to spend more money with us, and the real question is how do we position ourselves to get more of that spend and provide more solutions for our customer in the process.”