In stainless, it's survival of the nichest

Sep 27, 2012 | 10:29 AM | Michael Cowden

Tags  RathGibson, Mark Essig, stainless steel, Precision Castparts, Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — To survive in the stainless steel business, a company has to either find a profitable niche or be a low-cost producer—and in North America, it’s difficult to be the latter, according to former RathGibson LLC chief executive officer Mark Essig.

Succeeding in a niche means rethinking a company’s focus and organization as well as investing in innovation, Essig said.

The Janesville, Wis.-based specialty tubular producer had become too focused on speculating on inventory and overly confident about the value of its brand, he said. The RathGibson brand was well-recognized, but it wasn’t creating value or instilling respect in the market.....

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