50 years of fwb
Supply chain partner, fwb, celebrated its 50th year anniversary in 2013.
From five tons of nuts and bolts to over 50,000 products across eight core product groups in just 50 years.
Experts in delivering the best product and procurement solutions to the construction, infrastructure, industrial and public sector markets, much of fwb’s success can be traced back to its earliest days and the actions of entrepreneurial founder Mr Henry John Key.
Established in 1963, from a garage in Stoke-on-Trent, fwb started out selling a range of nuts and bolts. Founder Mr Key, born into a farming family in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, gained broad yet valuable experience in various industries post his RAF years.
Putting this experience to good use, Mr Key spotted a gap in the market for a company to supply a wide range of fasteners in all shapes, sizes and quantities, as 50 years ago fasteners were sold to local industry in just a small number of sizes in limited quantities.
Entrepreneurial concept and passion for product quality and customer service
With the customer at the forefront of his mind, fwb was born – a specialised service industry with plenty of potential for expansion into new product areas. Mr Key was determined from the onset, fwb’s name would be synonymous with the very highest standards of products and services, and this remains a core principle of fwb.
Approachable, committed team leads to expansion
Long hours assembling orders led Mr Key to appoint his first employee in 1964. Flexibility, hard work and complete commitment to the customer saw the team grow to 10 employees in just four years. As a result, fwb had outgrown its humble premises and expansion meant a move to the Whieldon Road site in Stoke-on-Trent. Although further development has taken place, this location remains a fwb’s main site today - a testament to Mr Key's forward thinking.
Now, with a healthy 155-strong workforce, fwb has two additional strategic sites in Wrexham and Truro. The three key sites enable the company to provide a national service but with local expertise.
Competitive, procurement experts
With 50 years of procurement knowledge under its belt, fwb is a leading independent procurement expert, able to source and supply all major brands and their alternatives. This coupled with its industry-wide technical expertise ensures fwb is able to source competitively and manage products to suit its customers’ requirements.
Expansive product range
Fasteners remain central to fwb’s product range, but the ongoing introduction of new products ensures the company continues to be one of the region’s, and the UK’s most significant suppliers of products to the construction, infrastructure, industrial and public sector markets.
fwb now provides a diverse range of products covering eight core product groups:
- Pipeline & Fittings
- Fasteners & Ironmongery
- PPE & Workwear
- Metals, Rubber & Plastics
- Pneumatics, Fluid Power & Instrumentation
- Site safety & Janitorial
Experts In trusted brands
Whatever your requirements, fwb offers a full range of trusted brand products, with major brand alternatives available where best value is crucial. Our procurement expertise means we source competitively and manage products to suit requirements.
Extensive technical expertise
Fifty years on, fwb is one of the few remaining independent procurement specialists that is still owned by its original founder’s family. There are many employees with high levels of technical expertise, market and product knowledge who have worked for and contributed to fwb’s market position for many years.
Today, by delivering the service and market-leading technical know-how required, whether for large-scale civil engineering projects, daily maintenance or repair and operations contracts, fwb continually reviews its actions and results; a prerequisite for achieving its vision ‘to be the preferred supply chain partner of choice to our customers for our core products’.
As we celebrate our story so far, we continue to look ahead to ensure we carry on offering a seamless supply chain for our customers in the 50 years to come.