Welcome to home of AMM's Awards for Steel Excellence

Within this section of amm.com we proudly celebrate the accomplishments of our industry.  Companies large and small are recognized here for achieving excellence in a number of areas.   As the voice of the industry, American Metal Market is proud to honor the best among us.

2014 Winners/Finalists

Best Innovation: Product

Winner: New Star Metals Material Sciences Corp

Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Material Sciences Corp. (MSC), a division of Burr Ridge, Ill.-based New Star Metals, has developed its new Light Weight Steel Laminate, a lightweight metal composite that is both highly formable and weldable and can offer substantial mass savings versus monolithic steel. The MSC Lightweight Laminate solution addresses many of the concerns of making sweeping changes to vehicle design over a short period, reduces risk and minimizes compromising performance. The composite is designed to replace non-structural stamped panels for vehicle body in white without requiting substantial changes to the stamping, welding and assembly process while providing a more economical mass saving solution versus aluminum. It is engineered to be compatible with existing automotive manufacturing processes. The lightweight laminate is engineered for both nonstructural galvanized and uncoated vehicle applications. It is cost competitive with aluminum without significant new investment. MSC is currently engaged with several vehicle manufacturers on future programs involving mass savings of over 50 pounds per vehicle. Early in 2013, Productive Research LLC entered into an exclusive global licensing agreement with MSC to manage the “concept-to-commercialization” phase of its composite technology. More specifically, MSC was responsible for optimizing the chemistry, construction and overall performance of the composite to meet stringent automotive requirements. In addition, MSC was responsible for the development of a cost-effective manufacturing process and investing in all the resources necessary to produce, market and sell the product globally. MSC has successfully optimized cost and performance of the metal-plastic-metal composite to meet all the objectives outlined. The composite is highly patent protected and offers the only metal-plastic-metal construction that is highly formable/weldable. It offers 25-40 percent mass savings compared to monolithic steel and a more economical solution to aluminum. The product is currently being validated for use in several automotive body panel applications. MSC officials say that while results are still too early to analyze fully, they hope the innovation will enable automakers to significantly reduce costs. Material Sciences Corporation is a leading provider of material-based solutions for acoustical and coating applications.

Finalists:

Advanced Gauging Technologies LLC

Plain City, Ohio-based Advanced Gauging Technologies LLC (AGT) developed the AGT800 Laser Thickness Gauge, a non-contact online thickness gauge that measures metals and other materials during processing using laser sensors as an alternative to more-traditional isotope and X-ray thickness gauges. Over the years, federal and state regulation of sealed-source devices has increased exponentially. Metal customers have become resistant to nucleonic thickness gauges, with many seeking a non-nuclear solution, and many customers with traditional X-ray thickness gauges are dissatisfied with the high initial price, alloy/coating sensitivity, long-term reliability and high maintenance costs of their systems. The AGT800, the first affordable and accurate laser thickness gauge in North America, can measure nearly any form of coil, sheet or strip material at any thickness and all readings are completely independent of the material alloy or coatings. It offers an affordable and reliable solution to industry that in many instances can replace the need for isotope and/or X-ray thickness gauges, although it is not a good fit for applications with high heat and/or high moisture and also in cases where the passline height of the material cannot be controlled. AGT, which has manufactured, sold and serviced traditional isotope thickness gauges since 1997, began development of the AGT800 in spring 2012, testing and studying 13 laser sensors from eight countries. The hardware and software were based on pre-existing AGT400 architecture and were developed quickly since only slight modifications were required. The next year was spent in testing and refinement and the first production system was commissioned in January 2014, replacing the need for most isotope and X-ray thickness gauges. In the case of isotope gauges, all federal and state licensing requirements and the resultant administrative fees are completely eliminated, while the problems of alloy/coating sensitivity and high maintenance costs of X-ray gauges are eliminated.


Herr-Voss Stamco Inc.

Callery, Pa.-based Herr-Voss Stamco Inc. developed HS2T (high strength slitting line technology), which allows automotive supply chain service centers and toll processors to process higher-strength steels, thus enabling automotive original equipment manufacturers to meet corporate average fuel economy standards by reducing weight. HS2T has improved operational efficiency by eliminating the number of double pass slitting runs through the slitting process; eliminating the number of re-works due to slit edge quality; consistently and repeatedly producing a superior slit edge quality and tight tolerance width control; and improving operational efficiency by processing the advanced high-strength steels at higher speeds. The line tension control results in tight wound coils that can be safely packaged and transported to downstream operations. It also improves tonnage between tooling regrinds. The new product had to slit coil steel that was increasing ultimate tensile strength (UTS). These tensile strengths represented a 250- to 500-percent increase over existing capabilities. The product also needed to factor in the added safety requirements associated with processing steels with a high magnitude of UTS. The innovation began in 2009, when Herr-Voss was approached by one of its customers and collaborators, Taylor Steel Inc., Stoney Creek, Ontario. As the market leader in toll processing, the company also wanted to be the market leader in providing slit advanced high-strength steel to the automotive market and asked Herr-Voss to develop a slitting line that could handle steel with UTS of greater than 200,000 pounds per square inch. Over the next four years, Herr-Voss’ engineering team—in conjunction with Taylor Steel’s vast processing knowledge—developed, manufactured, installed and commissioned an innovative slitting line based on HS2T. The resulting return on investment can best be seen in Taylor Steel’s high level of efficiency and output processing high-strength steels, as well as its level of business while utilizing HS2T, according to Herr-Voss officials.


Leveltek International LLC

Leveltek International LLC offers unique design concepts and stretch leveling technology that give its customers an advantage and help fill vital market needs. The company, which is based in Benwood, W.Va., about 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, designs, manufactures and installs stretch leveling systems for retrofit and new light- to heavy-gauge cut-to-length and coil-to-coil lines. Leveltek stretch levelers, which fit easily into existing or new cut-to-length lines, can help cut sheets that satisfy fabricators’ increased demand for the memory-free steel required by laser and plasma cutting. Leveltek stretch leveling technology creates perfect, laser-quality flat metals of any kind, width or gauge without marking. The process improves laser-cutting efficiency by more than 20 percent and increases production rates of leveling by 30 percent compared with roller leveling. For example, the process enables production of high-performance, coated building panels without markings of any kind. Leveltek manufactures non-marking stretcher leveling systems that correct the flatness in coils of stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, brass, copper, high-temperature alloys, galvanized steel and other ferrous and nonferrous materials to make them commercially acceptable. A patented, non-marking process grips and stretches the unrolled steel, eliminating shape defects such as edgewave, center buckle, quarter buckle, camber, crossbow, mandrel or coil breaks, some types of chatter, herringbone/mill chop and twist. Leveltek’s system uncoils, stretches, levels and re-coils. On coil-to-coil stretch level processing, every pound of metal that Leveltek receives from the customer is returned. The only measurable effect on the coil is a slight reduction in width and a slight increase in length. With few moving parts, leveling occurs reliably and consistently, helping to meet or exceed productivity goals. Leveltek, a full-service toll processor that can easily handle all processing needs, has been installing equipment in steel production facilities worldwide since 1993, using its unique technology to fill a vital market need.


MMFX Steel Corp. of America

The development of the ChromX 4100 by Irvine, Calif.-based MMFX Steel Corp. of America improved concrete reinforcing steel options for the construction industry. The industry faces challenges such as high labor costs and constructability issues related to rebar congestion. As concrete structures get taller and building codes drive the need for more rebar in a structure, there are many situations where concrete will not properly flow around densely packed reinforcing steel. The problems of rebar congestion are often found in large high-rise construction projects. Focus areas are typically the mat foundations, shear walls and seismic confinement ties, where the steel requirements are high. To address the issue, MMFX Steel late last year introduced its ChromX 4100 Grade 100 reinforcing steel, which can reduce the steel requirements by 20 to 40 percent and provide significant reductions in construction labor costs compared with the traditional Grade 60 or 75 reinforcing steels. There have been some significant changes recently in the concrete construction codes for high-rise buildings and bridges that allow the use of higher-strength reinforcing steel. ChromX 4100 was the natural evolution of the MMFX product line. The new product complements the company’s MMFX2 reinforcing steel, which provides uncoated corrosion resistance along with the Grade 100 high-strength properties. For the targeted applications in commercial construction, many customers did not need corrosion resistance or were not willing to accept the extra cost associated with that benefit. MMFX is now able to offer a cost-saving solution to the construction industry that allows engineers, contractors and owners to take full advantage of advances in the building codes. Designers are finding that they can take 20 to 40 percent of the rebar out of their projects using ChromX 4100 compared with traditional design methods using lower-grade rebar.


Best Innovation: Process


Winner: ArcelorMittal

A recent example of how technology created by leading steelmaker ArcelorMittal is transforming automaking can be found in Honda Motor Co.’s 2014 Acura MDX. The vehicle’s hot-stamped, laser-welded door ring, a three-year innovation achieved using ArcelorMittal’s Usibor 1500—a patented aluminum-silicon-coated steel product with a high ultimate tensile strength—and ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks’ innovative laser-welded blank technology, achieves an optimal balance in weight reduction, safety, performance and cost. Honda specifically was looking to protect passengers from a small offset overlap crash event specified by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Within the auto industry, managing the loads generated in this crash event in order to keep passengers safe is considered to be very challenging. In addition, Honda optimized the weight of this structure using the laser-welded blank concept, which contributed to an improvement in fuel economy. Working closely with Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal and Magna International Inc.’s Cosma International unit, a tier-one hot stamper, Honda designed the industry’s first single-piece, laser-welded and hot-stamped side opening panel reinforcement, or door ring. Laser ablation effectively removes a very precise amount of the aluminum coating on two pieces of Usibor steel and welds the two pieces of steel together to ensure a perfectly strong steel-on-steel weld. After the laser ablation, a quality-control process is done both visually and via a high-tech process to ensure precision. The ultimate result after hot-stamping is a lighter, stronger door that translates to better fuel economy and safety ratings for consumers. Engagement between the three partners began in June 2010. By early 2013, the first pre-production parts were being unveiled just before the official launch of the vehicle in March 2013.


Finalists:

AM/NS Calvert

AM/NS Calvert, a joint venture between Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA and Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., sought to dramatically change and improve its process for managing financial analysis, reporting and action in the steel business using a new information technology (IT) solution and approach. The Calvert, Ala., company now has a leading-edge financial reporting and analysis framework that allows it to support a proactive, predictive management of its business. The company worked with enterprise software and software-related services giant SAP AG using the SAP HANA database platform and SAP Business Objects analytical applications to support the new process. SAP HANA converges database and application platform capabilities in-memory to transform transactions, analytics, text analysis, predictive and spatial processing so businesses can operate in real time. The system provides real-time access to massive amounts of data, unlimited multi-dimensional analysis, flexible and unconstrained reporting through SAP Business Objects and fast and non-disruptive development. Other benefits include increased speed of reporting for financial performance and efficiency, powerful insights providing opportunities to maximize profitability and empowering users with access to trusted data to optimize profitable business decisions. The resulting and continued efforts enable the delivery of timely and valuable financial information to the business. The company uses technological advances to enable it to conduct business in a way it had not been able to do with more-traditional reporting techniques and tools. The new, forward-thinking approach and processes enabled the division to move from reactive management toward a highly flexible, proactive and predictive management of business, due in large part to the new ways the company was able to manage and interact with its vast amount of information, including the ability to compile and analyze more varied and larger amounts of data in a fraction of the time. Extracting and reporting on global controlling data went from two days to 30 seconds; margin analysis of 2010-13 data takes only 10 seconds; and all sales document types for a full year are refreshed in two seconds. Annual cost savings in the IT department were nearly 20 percent.


Steel Warehouse/SSS Steel

Steel Warehouse Co., South Bend, Ind., has developed the world’s first temper level line capable of processing 120-inch-wide, 1-inch-thick hot roll coil into sheet at grades up to 100 kilopounds per square inch (ksi) and over. Steel Warehouse officials said they married the understanding of the marketplace with innovative technology with the new Steel Warehouse/Triple-S Steel joint venture in Houston, built last year. Steel Warehouse/Triple-S Steel has increased the size range of strip mill products and increased size, grade, width and strength level for leveled products, allowing more users to enjoy the benefits of tighter gauge control, better surface and lower production cost. Eliminating a seam to reduce welding in a fabricated product—whether it’s in a tank or a vessel of some sort—is an improvement, Steel Warehouse officials said, as is increasing fabrication shop productivity. In the distributor market, plate usually comes in standard lengths of 20 or 40 feet. Since Steel Warehouse can now produce products from a coil, it can give a fabricator exactly the length it wants, reducing or eliminating waste. There have been fundamental shifts in the entire global steelmaking industry, including all flat product steel producers, hot-rolled strip mills and plate mills, Steel Warehouse officials said. About 60 percent of the entire world steel market is plate or coil. What once was plate now has the opportunity to shift to coil. Since its founding in 1947, Steel Warehouse’s growth has been steady, if not always explosive, company executives said. At first, it had just a handful of employees; today, there are more than 600. Originally it serviced customers within a small radius of South Bend; it now ships material throughout most of the country from South Bend and its network branch facilities.


Steel Warehouse Co.

Steel Warehouse Co. wanted to build a facility on the grounds of the Calvert, Ala., mill formerly owned by ThyssenKrupp AG, now AM/NS Calvert, to pickle heavy-gauge hot-rolled up to 1 inch thick. The South Bend, Ind.-based company wanted to offer a heavy pickled product previously unavailable from this mill to service centers, fabricators, profilers and original equipment manufacturers. Steel Warehouse also can pickle hot-rolled coil from other manufacturers. The solution was the world’s first continuous hydrochloric acid pickler capable of handling 72-inch-wide, 1-inch-thick material. Steel Warehouse started building the pickler in early 2013 and completed the facility in Calvert in April 2013. Providing pickled sheet in thicknesses previously unavailable is a major development, Steel Warehouse officials said. Using pickled product saves time and money over blasted and primed metal. There is no need to blast or mechanically grind to prepare the weld joint, even when welding to customer specifications or stringent weld codes or bridge welding codes. Pickled and oiled metal is the ideal option for shop owners who do not have a fleet of blasters and the personnel to run them, Steel Warehouse said. It improves surface finish over sulfuric bath batch pickling; reduces metal finishing costs; eliminates blasting and associated material handling costs; protects from the atmosphere the blasted virgin material that does not have protective oil; smooths surfaces, providing auto-like paint finish; reduces wear on customer tooling; and reduces adhesion of weld spatter and associated costs. There have been fundamental shifts in the entire global steelmaking industry, including all flat product steel producers, hot-rolled strip mills and plate mills, Steel Warehouse officials said. This new technology enables cut-to-length lines to use pickled sheet from coil in thicknesses that were previously only available from plate mills. What once was plate now has the opportunity to shift to coil.


Timken Co.

Timken Co.’s $35-million investment in a new in-line forge press enables it to increase its leadership position in the large bar market with differentiated offerings. The project allowed Timken to maintain and increase its segment share position and profitability in large sound center bar by providing capacity for 10- to 16-inch hot rolled bar. The combination of forging and rolling ensures center soundness throughout the bar with reduction ratios that are less than what would be required without the benefit of the forge press. A key strategy of the steel group is to grow profitably in existing segments by providing differentiated solutions to customers via product and application knowledge, leveraging the Timken brand and providing industry-leading customer service. The steel group—the TimkenSteel Corp. portion of Timken’s business—was formed in 2013 as a wholly owned subsidiary to hold the Timken steel business and will be spun off as an independent, publicly traded company this summer. Timken Co. will not retain any ownership interest in TimkenSteel after the separation. The high-performance large sound center bar product market is of strategic importance to Timken as it focuses on being the premier supplier of large special bar quality (SBQ) product in the United States. (Historically, U.S. customers have relied extensively on foreign providers for larger bar sizes.) Canton, Ohio-based Timken chose to invest in additional manufacturing capacity and process capability in order to become a premier provider of large sound center bars in the size range now available. Key drivers for change were a market need for large sound center bar solutions, providing a distinct competitive advantage; a current manufacturing capacity not supporting future segment demand, including positioning for international expansion; and the ability to become the only U.S. provider of SBQ steel offering bar in these diameters.

Best Merger and Acquisition

Winner: Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.


Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. made its largest acquisition to date last year when it acquired Metals USA Holdings Corp., a move that company officials said was designed to reinforce Reliance’s leadership position in the metals service center industry. The acquisition, valued at about $1.24 billion, added 48 service centers across the United States to Reliance’s operations. Metals USA had delivered industry margins second only to Reliance in recent years. This was the next step in Reliance’s strategy of growth by acquisition, officials said. The addition of Metals USA allowed Reliance to identify areas where it can combine facilities, reduce overall costs and more efficiently meet customers’ needs. The main challenge was how to most efficiently integrate Metals USA into the company’s operating model, Reliance officials said. Immediate results included an increase in gross profit margins, converting some Metals USA inventory into cash and improving inventory turns. The acquisition also allowed Reliance to complement its customer base, product mix and geographic footprint, according to company officials. Reliance is a Fortune 500 company that has been named to the Fortune list of “The World’s Most Admired Companies” since 2007. The company—which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year—serves more than 125,000 customers primarily by providing metals processing, inventory management services and quick delivery. For about 40 percent of its 2012 orders, it performed value-added processing—cutting to length; blanking; slitting; burning; plasma burning; sawing; precision plate sawing; shearing; and more—before distributing metal products to manufacturers and other end-users. Reliance provides value-added metal processing services and distributes a full line of more than 100,000 metal products through its family of companies. Reliance officials said the company continues to celebrate, affirm and encourage core values in business practices and in local communities.


Finalists:

Marubeni-Itochu Tubulars America Inc.

Houston-based Marubeni-Itochu Tubulars America Inc. acquired Sooner Inc. in September for $600 million. Marubeni-Itochu had an established relationship with Sooner through direct business experience with the company, as well as through an investment in Houston-based Chickasaw Distributors Inc. Marubeni-Itochu’s relationship with Sooner prior to the acquisition was strong, and both worked well to effectively address customer needs. After reviewing the benefits of acquiring Sooner, Marubeni-Itochu officials said they knew that the acquisition would be an excellent strategic fit for both companies. Sooner, which has been in business for more than 75 years and has an excellent reputation in the oil and gas industry, is the largest oil country tubular goods (OCTG) distributor in the United States with the largest customer base, selling/distributing OCTG from six sales offices as well as providing inventory management and services such as third-party inspections, remediation work and threading through its U.S. service network. Sooner utilizes its five company-owned yards and 90 third-party yards to effectively manage inventory for its customers. Sooner’s strong relationships and access to domestic mills are of tremendous value to Marubeni-Itochu, according to officials. Marubeni-Itochu has encouraged Sooner to continue to increase its customer presence in the U.S. market and to utilize and grow its relationships with and use of U.S. mills to help both companies meet industry demand. Marubeni-Itochu supplies steel tubulars, accessories, fit-for-purpose products, value-added services, inventory management and technical consultation to U.S. and global customers in the oil and gas industry. Marubeni-Itochu Tubulars America officials said the acquisition gives the company the opportunity to increase its customer base and expand its OCTG business to capture more of the growing U.S. OCTG demand that is attributed to shale oil/gas development. Marubeni-Itochu expects to be a larger sourcing power; share inventory from a local/global inventory pool; provide customers quicker access to products; share facilities and yards with Sooner; have increased manpower; provide inventory and project management; and provide a suite of average to high-end products from local and global mills.

Scrap Metal Services LLC

Burnham, Ill.-based Scrap Metal Services LLC (SMS) in January acquired Paul’s Auto Yard Inc. and its subsidiary, Shafer’s Auto Yard Inc., two automotive dismantling, recycling and core auto parts resellers with yards in Indiana and Michigan. The acquisition allowed SMS to diversify its scrap recycling portfolio and increase its scrap tonnage as well as add to its core business units. SMS formed a joint management team with Paul’s Auto Yard president Paul Shafer and his current management staff, which had built up a company with eight self-service auto parts facilities. As part of the transition, SMS is investing in software to track all vehicles at each location and identify similar parts that are shared among manufacturers and models, giving customers a better tool for finding inventory. SMS executives said that in any expansion or acquisition they value integrity, problem-solving skills and teamwork abilities—the same values that SMS officials said have been used to propel the company’s success. However, SMS also said it pursues due diligence before committing to acquiring a company to join its family of businesses. This year’s move follows the 2012 acquisition of ship recycling company All Star Metals LLC and All Star Shredding LLC, both of Brownsville, Texas. All Star Metals was founded by Nikhil Shah in 2003 and has grown into one of the largest ship recyclers in North America. All Star Shredding, which processes obsolete and industrial scrap using a Newell 98-104 shredder, is capable of producing 180,000 gross tons annually. SMS specializes in scrap processing, scrap management and consulting, scrap brokerage, steel mill services, intermodal/rail car decommissioning, ship recycling and remediation, and shredding and dismantling services. SMS said it will continue to explore other niche businesses and to expand through acquisitions or by opening other greenfield operations as strategic opportunities present themselves.

Best Operational Improvement

Winner: Severstal Columbus LLC


After recently making assessments of several processes at its Columbus, Miss., plant, Severstal North America Inc. implemented a number of improvements to supply chain, chemistry, safety and environmental issues. For scrap purchase and use optimization, the company began using the “steady eddy” approach and value-in-use model analysis to smooth out highs and lows of purchasing scrap and be more consistent in its buying practices. In addition, it analyzed purchases to look for the best-value-in-use scrap recipes to achieve the lowest liquid cost per ton of steel. The result of the project has saved the company millions of dollars as it has smoothed out the buying cycle, avoiding trying to “time” the scrap markets. Another project involved improvements to an electric-arc furnace’s main draft fans, which allowed Severstal Columbus to reduce energy and maintenance costs on the No. 1 EF main draft fans by driving down the plant energy-intensity metric and enhanced competitiveness by continually identifying operational cost drags. The Tennessee Valley Authority awarded Severstal Columbus LLC $2.5 million for these energy-efficient savings at the plant. In another project to enhance chemistry process control and mold life, Severstal Columbus set out to develop and implement an online process model for the control of steel chemistry and superheat during steelmaking. The objectives of the enhancement were high-speed continuous casting with stringent and consistent chemistry and temperature control with reduced production cost. The newly created model optimizes the production cost, and comparative operators’ performance encourages them to reduce production costs further. Finally, safety improvements were made, and Severstal Columbus’ safety statistics last year improved by 79 percent over the previous three years. The lost-work-day-away case rate was zero, giving it the best safety statistics among mini-mills tracked by the Steel Manufacturers Association.


Finalists:

Nucor Corp.

Last year, Nucor Corp. completed several capital investment projects that will expand the company’s product offerings and allow it to further penetrate markets for value-added steel products, particularly high-strength sheet and plate products. These projects are part of the Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker’s overall strategy to grow long-term earnings by offering higher-margin products and gaining greater control over its raw material costs. Since the steel industry’s last cyclical peak in 2008, Nucor has invested about $8 billion to carry out this strategy, including $3 billion in 2012 and 2013. Nucor said it has always used down markets as an opportunity to invest in the future and realize stronger earnings growth when the economy turns around, and the recent capital investments continue that tradition. As a result of these projects, Nucor can now offer a broader range of products, which will allow a growth of sales in new markets. Nucor believes it will gain market share when combining these new products with quality, on-time delivery and service provided to customers. The projects completed in 2013 included 72-inch-wide sheet steel at Nucor Steel Berkeley in South Carolina, which was a “wide-light project” involving upgrading and modernizing equipment in order to produce wider, lighter-gauge sheet steel, Nucor said. Another project was special bar quality (SBQ) at Nucor Steel Nebraska and Nucor Steel Memphis in Tennessee. Nucor’s bar mill group implemented key components of its strategy to grow the company’s participation in higher-margin SBQ products. Expanded SBQ production capacity will support profitable growth for Nucor in energy, automotive, heavy equipment and other markets. Finally, a steel plate project was begun at Nucor Steel Hertford in North Carolina. The Hertford mill started production on its new normalizing line, which allows the company to serve attractive end-use markets, such as energy, transportation, shipbuilding and armor plate. The normalizing line, along with recent investments in a heat-treat facility and a vacuum tank degasser, doubles the Hertford mill’s capacity to produce value-added plate products.


Olympic Steel Inc.

Significant feedback about experiences and expectations with Olympic Steel Inc.’s services and products, a program known as Voice of the Customer, led the company to make a number of changes in how it does business. In order to continue supplying products and services on time, Olympic was charged by one of its customers to achieve several performance targets incrementally over a period of 100 days, including achieving and sustaining 95-percent on-time delivery and improving its quality metrics to drive down its past-due pieces to zero. To achieve these goals, Olympic sought to integrate the principles of operational excellence into its enterprise value stream. The enterprise value stream includes its front-end transactions, material procurement, asset capacity planning and scheduling, order fulfillment processes, and all support groups and systems. Olympic also committed to sustaining the gains of the project efforts while building internal organizational capabilities to provide autonomous deployment and support in the future. As a result, improved customer confidence has enabled increased sales at multiple facilities with the major customer (more than $8 million in sales) in question. Bedford Heights, Ohio-based Olympic also implemented workplace organization in target areas: an analyze phase, which covered performance gap analysis, defect/scrap analysis and material flow analysis; the use of basic tools like Pareto analysis, fishbone diagrams, five-why’s, XY matrices, project failure mode effects analysis and corrective action planning; and an improve phase, which reviewed the analyze deliverables and optimized the current-state process maps into future-state processes. Olympic piloted solutions generated from the analyze phase through a series of rapid improvement workshops; material consumption/replenishment strategies; and a control phase, which integrated standard operating procedures, visual controls and cross-functional training that enable functional performance management and governance. The results of these efforts enabled other business metrics to improve drastically, reduced overtime and increased internal capacity.


Severstal Columbus LLC

After recently making assessments of several processes at its Columbus, Miss., plant, Severstal North America Inc. implemented a number of improvements to supply chain, chemistry, safety and environmental issues. For scrap purchase and use optimization, the company began using the “steady eddy” approach and value-in-use model analysis to smooth out highs and lows of purchasing scrap and be more consistent in its buying practices. In addition, it analyzed purchases to look for the best-value-in-use scrap recipes to achieve the lowest liquid cost per ton of steel. The result of the project has saved the company millions of dollars as it has smoothed out the buying cycle, avoiding trying to “time” the scrap markets. Another project involved improvements to an electric-arc furnace’s main draft fans, which allowed Severstal Columbus to reduce energy and maintenance costs on the No. 1 EF main draft fans by driving down the plant energy-intensity metric and enhanced competitiveness by continually identifying operational cost drags. The Tennessee Valley Authority awarded Severstal Columbus LLC $2.5 million for these energy-efficient savings at the plant. In another project to enhance chemistry process control and mold life, Severstal Columbus set out to develop and implement an online process model for the control of steel chemistry and superheat during steelmaking. The objectives of the enhancement were high-speed continuous casting with stringent and consistent chemistry and temperature control with reduced production cost. The newly created model optimizes the production cost, and comparative operators’ performance encourages them to reduce production costs further. Finally, safety improvements were made, and Severstal Columbus’ safety statistics last year improved by 79 percent over the previous three years. The lost-work-day-away case rate was zero, giving it the best safety statistics among mini-mills tracked by the Steel Manufacturers Association.


TimkenSteel

Timken Co.’s capital investment of $35 million in a new in-line forge press enabled it to increase its leadership position in the large bar market with differentiated offerings. A key strategy of the steel group is to grow profitably in existing segments by providing differentiated solutions to customers via product and application knowledge, leveraging the Timken brand and providing industry-leading customer service. The steel group—the TimkenSteel Corp. portion of Timken’s business—achieved a leadership position in the high-performance large bar segment with strong profitability utilizing this strategy. TimkenSteel was formed in 2013 as a wholly owned subsidiary to hold the Timken steel business and will be spun off as an independent, publicly traded company this summer. Timken Co. will not retain any ownership interest in TimkenSteel after the separation. The high-performance large sound center bar product market is of strategic importance to Timken as it focuses on being the premier supplier of large special bar quality (SBQ) product in the United States. (Historically, U.S. customers have relied extensively on foreign providers for larger bar sizes.) Canton, Ohio-based Timken chose to invest in additional manufacturing capacity and process capability in order to become a premier provider of large sound center bars in the 10- to 16-inch range. Key drivers for change were a market need for large sound center bar solutions, providing a distinct competitive advantage; increased manufacturing capacity for future segment demand, including positioning for international expansion; and the ability to become the only U.S. provider of SBQ steel offering bar in 1- to 16-inch diameters. Other recent investments that together exceed more than half a billion dollars include an intermediate tube finishing line, jumbo bloom vertical caster, ladle refiner, long-length tube line, quench and temper heat treat, small bar rolling mill and ultrasonic test inspection line.

Technology Provider of the Year


Winner: Borusan Mannesmann Pipe USA, Inc.

Borusan Mannesmann Pipe USA, Inc. pipe technology distinguishes itself from the competition and aids the company in a multitude of areas, company officials said. The Turkish steel pipe manufacturer—with U.S. headquarters in Houston—built a $150-million electric-resistance welded (ERW) pipe mill and accompanying heat treatment plant in Baytown, Texas, the first Turkish-owned plant in the United States. The company began building the new state-of-the-art ERW rolling mill last year, with a scheduled mid-June completion date for final full productivity. The greenfield mill was built in record time, with “ergonomically sensitive” construction beginning in April 2013 and the first rolling off the production line in March 2014. This timeline was eight months ahead of a competitor’s greenfield project, Borusan executives said. The plant is producing or will produce products including heat-treat and threading; rolling mill products with a size range of 4½ to 10¾ inches; processing of tubing 23/8 through 133/8 inches, which provides one-stop shopping for shale-play tubular providers; and will have a true annual capacity of 350,000 tons, with a product line mix of approximately 85 percent oil country tubular goods and 15 percent line pipe. The plant also offers semi-premium and premium threading in-line capability; a short lead-time of a 30-day rolling cycle target; and hot roll coil sourced through U.S. producers. It offers safety with a best-in-class, fully automated operator interface, optimal efficiency, and product flow. The mill handling equipment was custom designed and built by Borusan Engineering. Borusan Holding is involved in four major business areas, including steel, distributorship, logistics and energy, with 5,000 employees. Borusan Group has been among the pioneers of industrialization and corporate governance in Turkey throughout its 65-year history.


Finalists:

CareGo

CareGo is a leader in the handling of heavy products such as steel coil and pipe. The Hamilton, Ontario-based company has patent-pending Telia technology that changes how these products are stored, stacked, staged, moved, documented and tracked. Telia automatically minimizes the space needed for coil or long product storage in mills and service centers and reduces operating costs while speeding up throughput. It dramatically increases workplace safety because automated cranes run without the need for human operators, keeping employees out of the coil and pipe field. Retrieval, put-away and repositioning of product are all performed robotically. Coils are never lost or accidentally bumped together. The crane gently places the product in the precise location calculated by the optimization tool, and remembers where it is. Guided by the software, the automated crane works by itself at night, when utility costs are low, sorting and staging product for shipment the next day. The Telia suite of optimization tools can be used for coil or long products, and CareGo is currently conducting research and development into plate optimization/automation. The space optimization ensures warehouse space is used in the most efficient way possible. Products are automatically sent to defined zones, minimizing loading and unloading times. The software continually calculates and re-calculates the best inventory configuration, preventing chokepoints and bottlenecks. Inventory management organizes everything to do with the facility, including modes of transportation and scheduling equipment and resources. The automated crane operates without the use of staff, moving twice as fast as manually operated cranes but with greater precision and sensitivity. Supporting components to CareGo technology are an instant-access web portal allowing customers to view their inventory in real-time and place orders using a smartphone or tablet, an RF data scanner and an automated check-in kiosk for delivery loads. The company started to expand to the United States this year.


Leveltek International LLC

Leveltek International LLC’s stretch levelers fit easily into existing or new cut-to-length lines. The company, based in Benwood, W.Va., about 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, offers unique design concepts and stretch leveling technology that give its customers advantages over competitors and help fill vital market needs. Leveltek designs, manufactures and installs stretch leveling systems for retrofit and new light- to heavy-gauge cut-to-length and coil-to-coil lines. Leveltek stretch leveling can help cut sheets that satisfy fabricators’ increased demand for the memory-free steel required by laser and plasma cutting. Leveltek stretch leveling technology creates perfect, laser-quality flat metals of any kind, width or gauge without marking. The process improves laser-cutting efficiency by more than 20 percent and increases production rates of leveling by 30 percent compared with roller leveling. For example, the process enables production of high-performance, coated building panels without markings of any kind. Leveltek manufactures non-marking stretcher leveling systems that correct the flatness in coils of stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, brass, copper, high-temperature alloys, galvanized steel and other ferrous and nonferrous materials to make them commercially acceptable. A patented, non-marking process grips and stretches the unrolled steel, eliminating shape defects such as edgewave, center buckle, quarter buckle, camber, crossbow, mandrel or coil breaks, some types of chatter, herringbone/mill chop and twist. Leveltek’s system uncoils, stretches, levels and re-coils. On coil-to-coil stretch level processing, every pound of metal that Leveltek receives from the customer is returned. The only measurable effect on the coil is a slight reduction in width and a slight increase in length. With few moving parts, leveling occurs reliably and consistently, helping to meet or exceed productivity goals. Leveltek, a full-service toll processor that can easily handle all processing needs, has been installing equipment in steel production facilities worldwide since 1993, using its unique technology to fill a vital market need.


Financial Services Company of the Year


Winner: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a long history of providing financial services to the steel Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a long history of providing asset based and cash flow financing for middle market to large corporate companies in the steel industry, both domestically and globally, along with other bank products and services such as treasury solutions, foreign exchange, etc. Its capital markets and investment banking capabilities provide its clients access to the private placement, institutional term loan, high yield and convertible debt markets along with M&A advisory services. Its commodities risk management offerings include hot-rolled coil, iron ore, natural gas, power, diesel and base metals such as nickel. And, on the equity capital markets side, Bank of America Merrill Lynch was a bookrunner on the initial public offering of TMS International Corp., the follow-on offerings for U.S. Steel Corp. and Steel Dynamics Inc. and the convertible offerings for Steel Dynamics and AK Steel Corp. and it provides equity research coverage for many companies in the industry.


Finalists:

Crunch Risk LLC

Houston-based Crunch Risk LLC is one of the primary steel financial/futures brokers in the steel industry. Andre Marshall started engaging steel producers and users on over-the-counter financial swaps when working for Koch Metals from 2001 through 2007, two of those years as an agent under his own company, Crunch Risk. In 2008, Marshall helped the Chicago Mercantile Exchange/Nymex start the hot rolled futures exchange contract, bringing buyers and sellers together to transact in the new market. For a couple of years, Crunch Risk was the only broker in that space, but the market has grown sufficiently to allow more participants to help generate liquidity. Since then, Marshall also has helped start the busheling futures contract based on AMM’s Midwest busheling scrap index. Marshall has been a tireless advocate of the futures market for steel, having spoken at various steel and scrap industry meetings and holding futures workshops two or three times per year to help those who would like more education in futures before engaging a program within their company. The steel futures market has grown measurably since its inception and Crunch Risk has been an integral part of that growth. For some industry participants, the futures market has meant a change in how their business is conducted, so the growth of this market has been significant to the steel industry. The advent of these futures instruments has enabled a number of steel industry participants to grow through new orders, eliminating risk, managing their inventory risk and leveraging their returns. As a 22-year veteran in the metal futures and financial swaps space, Marshall has helped numerous steel industry clients understand, implement and execute their futures strategies within their company. In cases where a company’s risk profile is complex, Crunch Risk has provided consulting services to help with understanding and capturing that risk profile while also helping to establish policies, procedures and strategies.


EY (Ernst & Young)

With a volatile outlook for mining and metals, the global sector is focused on cost optimization and productivity improvement while poised for value-based growth opportunities as they arise. The sector also faces the increased challenges of changing expectations in the maintenance of its social license to operate, skills shortages, effectively executing capital projects and meeting revenue expectations. EY’s (Ernst & Young) Global Mining and Metals Center brings together a worldwide team of professionals to help steel businesses succeed. EY offers a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services to the mining and metals sector. EY’s Global Mining and Metals Center is where people and ideas come together to help mining and metal companies meet the issues of today and anticipate those of tomorrow. Ultimately, EY said, the center helps steel-related companies meet their goals and compete more effectively on a number of fronts. For example, EY offers debt restructuring, strategic cost optimization, product mix transformation to value added, customer relations management and sales transformation, asset disposal and international trade disputes support. It also offers supply chain management, productivity enhancement, strategic cost reduction, cost benchmarking, operational effectiveness, finance function effectiveness, activity-based costing/management, cost of control optimization, low carbon strategy, financial and operational restructuring and treasury and liquidity management. EY believes these and other services it offers are necessary because of changing product demand profiles and customer reach, shrinking margins in the steel business, periods of economic cycles, government regulation, the flexibility of the supply chain, commodity price volatility, and consolidation in the industry’s structure, among other trends affecting steel.

Information Technology Company of the Year


Winner: Schneider Electric Industries SAS

As an expert in mining, minerals and metals, Schneider Electric Industries SAS provides solutions to maximize production, increase overall efficiency and optimize asset utilization. Steel production is a very energy-intensive process and requires large amounts of natural resources. In fact, energy costs account for up to 40 percent of the total cost in some countries. Therefore, optimizing process efficiency is one of the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption and lower costs, with the added benefit of reducing the steel industry’s impact on the environment. Schneider Electric’s Energy Management Information System (EMIS) for the iron and steel industry helps steelmakers accomplish this. It is an integrated energy/production system that delivers monitoring, data analytics and decision-making. It can help reduce energy-specific consumption through integration of power, control and energy efficiency; energy management systems; and high-efficiency drives and motor monitoring and control. Through process and production optimization, EMIS makes energy a variable, manageable cost. It results in up to a 4-percent savings in energy efficiency, enhances capabilities to manage and utilize blast furnaces and coke oven gas, and identifies process irregularities and equipment performance issues. It provides automated metering processes, simpler internal energy cost administration and easier sustainability reporting. Schneider’s solutions exceed traditional boundaries of energy management by integrating business and energy strategies across an entire enterprise, the Rueil-Malmaison, France-based company said. All of this is accomplished through massive aggregation of energy and production information from dissimilar applications and systems, as well as from different areas, processes and plants; and delivering an enterprise-wide picture of total energy usage, costs and performance. Sustainability concerns, increased energy costs, availability of raw materials and a decrease in talent availability are adding to the challenges in steel. The need to invest in technology to drive productivity is becoming a business necessity, Schneider said. Stakeholders from management to operations will be empowered by actionable energy intelligence to give true accountability to energy cost centers, reveal energy efficiency opportunities, isolate problems and drive cost- and risk-reduction strategies.


Finalists:

Aptean

Aptean’s Axis enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a comprehensive enterprise system designed by the Atlanta-based company specifically for metal producers, processors and service centers. It integrates production, sales and financial management around a single, highly accessible base of information to help companies create a competitive advantage in global markets. Axis has been developed by professionals with in-depth experience in the metals industry to support the industry’s unique requirements. It is a complete business and operational management system with a core of mixed-mode production management capabilities designed specifically for companies that transform materials through melting, casting, rolling, forging, drawing, extruding, blanking, leveling and/or slitting to produce product. Axis provides integrated capabilities for improving business processes and enhancing visibility across virtually every aspect of a business, from customer order entry to scheduling, procurement, production, shipping, cost management and finance. Axis has many built-in features designed to meet the special needs of each segment of the metals industry. Axis includes functionality in ERP with comprehensive support for integrated sales, production, quality and financial management; shop floor data collection with real-time shop floor communication using multiple data entry devices that include touch screens; advanced reporting with enterprise-wide report writing and dashboards with drill-down analysis; and an e-suite featuring an Internet-based customer and vendor portal. Axis provides the tools and technology to streamline operations, improve productivity and reduce costs; decrease lead times; improve customer service; improve profitability; and support growth without adding resources. Several high-profile companies are using Axis and have improved production scheduling and control to better meet commitments and utilize company resources. They also have a better understanding of costs, improved margins and full traceability of product from source through processing and out to customers. They also have seen reduced response times for custom product orders and significant business transformation and growth without adding support staff.


Crowe Horwath LLC

Along with a full suite of performance improvement, risk management, audit, tax and financial advisory services for metal manufacturers, Chicago-based Crowe Horwath LLC has developed enterprise business solutions that are specifically engineered for the metals industry, including the Crowe Metals Accelerator (CMA) for Microsoft Dynamics AX. The CMA leverages the proven Microsoft Dynamics AX platform, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, to provide an industry-specific and deeply supported solution designed to meet the needs of metal producers, processors, fabricators and service centers. The most notable quantitative benefit is the reduced cost of ownership associated with an enterprise system deployment. Metal companies are plagued by implementations with cost overruns, excessive customizations and difficulties in adapting to the changes in process or technology. The Microsoft Dynamics AX platform and CMA offer a unique combination of a highly flexible and adaptable architecture, tailored functionality to the needs of the metals industry, experienced consultants and a proven implementation methodology that helps ensure projects are delivered to achieve business objectives on time and on budget. Crowe’s clients realize additional revenue enhancement and cost-reduction benefits. Enhanced revenue is achieved through creative and flexible pricing strategies, ease and speed of entering customer orders and quotes, enhanced tools for customer service/support and streamlined processes that help ensure on-time delivery. Cost efficiencies are obtained through efficient inventory and capacity planning tools, detailed visibility to inventory and decision-making, advanced cut planning logic to reduce remnants and scrap, and streamlined production control processes to reduce rework. By extending the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Crowe helps metal companies link order specifications to processes; gain efficiency in multidimensional inventory; integrate quality management; improve yield planning and tracking; and manage mixed-mode operations. With CMA, metal companies are able to see improvement in many areas, including inventory management, finance, planning and scheduling, sales and purchasing, production, and product quality.

Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship


Winner: AEP River Operations LLC

AEP River Operations LLC executives said the company’s environmental objectives can be summed up in two words: zero harm. The St. Louis-based company has made a commitment to protect and enhance the quality of the environment as it conducts its business. AEP River Operations complies with all applicable environmental laws, regulations and requirements, and it audits its performance regularly to verify compliance, improve the environmental management systems at facilities and on vessels, and identify exemplary practices for application throughout the company. Beyond that, AEP River Operations’ “See Green” program is committed to pollution prevention. See Green was developed more than five years ago to minimize the waste entering landfills from company vessels and offices. The See Green program embodies all three of the commonly accepted goals of sustainability: improving economic well-being by enabling the organization to identify inefficiencies in work practices, products and services by finding cost-saving solutions; enhancing environmental protection by reducing hazardous and solid waste introduction into nature and by reducing the demand for resources and energy from nature; and achieving social well-being through efficiency improvements that allow more resources to be available for all. AEP River Operations’ results continue to improve each year with new milestones and new ideas. Its policies establish and maintain a standard work practice that is environmentally sound while protecting the health and safety of the company’s staff. All AEP River Operations’ vessels have written guidelines posted on board, which assist captains and crew members in the course of their shipboard duties. In June 2011, in accordance with AEP River Operations’ target of zero harm to the environment, the company began purchasing B-5 biodiesel (5-percent ethanol, 95-percent diesel) for its fleet of towing vessels. Biodiesel provides a life-cycle emissions reduction of 78 percent compared with petroleum diesel, and AEP River Operations experienced favorable emissions reductions after using B-5 fuel on some of its vessels.


Finalists:

AK Steel Corp.

AK Steel Corp. in 2006 signed an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio EPA, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to remove polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated soil from affected areas of Dicks Creek and Monroe Ditch in Middletown, Ohio. PCBs were widely used in industrial oils throughout much of the 20th Century, mainly because of their ability to help prevent fires. It is likely that some PCBs reached Dicks Creek from oil recycling operations that were discontinued at the company’s Middletown Works in the early 1980s. The remediation and restoration work covered a 2.5-mile stretch of Dicks Creek and a nearly 1-mile stretch of Monroe Ditch. Over the course of the project, more than 205,000 tons of soil was removed from the affected areas and properly disposed of. In addition, during the restoration phase more than 13,000 trees and shrubs were planted in the floodplain, returning the area to its natural state. Importantly, the entire project was completed without a single Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordable injury. There are numerous real-world benefits associated with AK Steel’s environmental remediation and restoration project in Middletown, company executives said. The project not only benefited the environment and the community, but the company and the steel industry as well. The project returned a significant stretch of creek to its natural state, benefiting native plants, fish and wildlife as well as members of the community who live near the restored area. The project demonstrated West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel’s commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen, bolstering the company’s good reputation, building trust and helping to create goodwill in the community. The project also speaks volumes about the steel industry in general, the company said. For those who know little about the steel industry, or associate the industry with 100-year-old negative stereotypes, AK Steel’s efforts send a positive message about a modern, responsible steel sector. AK Steel takes its commitment to the environment very seriously, spending millions of dollars on environmental controls and capital projects every year.


David J. Joseph Co.

David J. Joseph Co.’s environmental responsibility/stewardship initiatives address several key areas, including stormwater control and removing mercury switches. All of DJJ’s recycling facilities utilize source control programs to ensure that all “convenience” light switches, which might contain mercury, are removed prior to receipt of automobiles for shredding. DJJ also supports the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program, a partnership between steelmakers, scrap suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dedicated to recovering mercury-containing light switch assemblies from older-model vehicles before they enter the scrap supply stream. In fact, as part of Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp., DJJ led the nationwide movement to encourage the removal of mercury switches found in older-model vehicles before they are recycled. At an Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries national convention presentation in Orlando, Fla., last year, DJJ discussed the importance of mercury switch recovery during the end-of-life vehicle recycling process. A second green initiative for DJJ is stormwater control. Controlling pollution from stormwater discharge is a great challenge but one of DJJ’s top priorities. Much of DJJ’s industrial activity occurs outdoors, and many of the recycling facilities are located on small footprints in urban areas without room for stormwater ponds. DJJ’s goal is to control common pollutants, such as iron, zinc, aluminum, hydrocarbons and solids, in stormwater that is released from recycling facilities. DJJ uses a combination of training, structural and administrative best-management practices as part of its pollution prevention efforts to maintain clean stormwater. In each of the past six years, DJJ’s Cincinnati headquarters was awarded the EPA’s Energy Star designation—the national symbol for protecting the environment through superior energy performance. DJJ also provides community awareness and student education, utilizes state-of-the-art technologies, provides a safe environment for employees and customers, and strives to be as green as possible.


Scrap Metal Services LLC

Scrap Metal Services LLC (SMS) installed two 60,000-cubic-feet-per-minute baghouses that resulted in a zero-emission environment at its Coatesville, Pa., mill service location. The system, designed to handle torch cutting indoors, also includes 120 high-efficiency particulate air filters that have 400-horsepower fans on each side. The Burnham, Ill.-based company also is an active participant in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s voluntary protection program, which allows its on-site safety team to work to identify best practices and implementation of procedures. On-site environmental and safety teams meet weekly with employees to educate staff on various concepts and programs. SMS also installed new Siemens AG motor drives to efficiently run and increase power in its automotive shredder in Brownsville, Texas, resulting in a 90-percent-plus power factor, up from 70 percent previously. It also decreased peaks in surges that the local city-owned utility faced during high-demand times. SMS also installed a wastewater treatment plant that separates more than 1 million gallons of oil from water, and installed cutting pads for stormwater management practices. These pads filter water through limestone and have plastic liners so that any rain is contained in a tank, protecting land and water from contamination from various metals. SMS also provided recycling expertise to help the Brownsville government create a sustainable recycling program. After several aborted attempts on its own to create recycling programs, the city was able to use SMS’ help in establishing a master recycling plan, which has been in a testing phase for more than seven months. SMS specializes in scrap processing, scrap management and consulting, scrap brokerage, and steel mill services; intermodal/rail car decommissioning; ship recycling and remediation; and shredding and dismantling services.


Sims Metal Management Ltd.

Sims Metal Management Ltd. constructed the Sunset Park material recovery facility, a $110-million state-of-the-art processing plant on the Brooklyn, N.Y., waterfront, to process the mixed recyclables collected through the New York City curbside recycling program. The facility has barge, rail and truck access. In addition to being the largest and most sophisticated recycling plant of its kind, the facility incorporates a variety of sustainable features, including a 600-kilowatt solar array—one of the largest in New York City—on-site stormwater management, extensive use of recycled materials in construction, and the elevation of buildings by four feet to protect against a sea level rise and storm surges. The facility has resulted in a reduction of 240,000 vehicle miles traveled per year, the basis for a federal congestion mitigation and air quality grant. The additional sorting capacity at the facility has allowed New York to expand the array of plastics included in the curbside recycling program to all rigid plastics. Sims worked with local environmental organizations to design and install “fuzzy rope” panels at its wharf for mussel cultivation and water filtration. New York-based Sims works closely with local economic development organizations to identify job candidates and hire locally. At the Brooklyn site and at Sims’ other facilities, the company collaborates with local nonprofit organizations with charitable donations and programs ranging from litter collection to “greenway” maintenance. Such actions aren’t new for Sims. When Sims started preparing for its first public disclosure on sustainability in 2006, such action was a relatively new concept. It required Sims to develop systems for measuring and reporting key data. Over the years, the sustainability agenda has evolved to become a strong and integral part of how the company conducts all aspects of its activities.

Logistics Provider of the Year


Winner: AEP River Operations LLC

As a highly coordinated team of shore-side and vessel teammates, AEP River Operations LLC offers unsurpassed service in barge transportation of dry bulk commodities and project cargo throughout the inland waterways. Historically, St. Louis-based AEP River Operations has transported about 70 million tons of dry bulk cargoes annually. As a leader in the river transportation industry, AEP River Operations is committed to protecting the country’s waterways, offering unparalleled service in the transportation of dry bulk commodities, including the movement of grain, project cargo, coal, steel, ores and other bulk products. Its fleet of nearly 3,000 hopper barges ranks as one of the newest and most dependable in the industry, ensuring customers’ product quality remains intact and reducing delays caused by older equipment issues. Complementing its barge operations is a fleet of more than 70 towing vessels ranging from 1,550 to 11,000 horsepower. The company, which employs more than 1,360 people, operates barges and towing vessels on all major navigable inland waterways connected to the Mississippi River, and owns and operates two barge cleaning and repair facilities in New Orleans and Convent, La., as well as a full-service marine shipyard facility on the Harvey Canal in Belle Chasse, La. In 2013, it moved more than 65 million tons of dry bulk cargo for customers, all while protecting the marine environment and company assets. Beginning in March, AEP River Operations took delivery of the first of 20 new 10,000-barrel tank barges. Companies looking to transport liquid products will have AEP River Operations as a new alternative service provider in the liquid freight market. AEP River Operations said it is committed to social responsibility and sustainability, and is proactive in efforts to protect people and the environment.


Finalists:

MoveTran LLC

MoveTran LLC began operations in January 2013 as an integrated logistics company for its clients’ supply chain needs. The Baltimore-based company was formed to fill the void for quick delivery of steel products following the permanent closure of the Sparrows Point, Md., steelmaking complex of the former RG Steel LLC. Its original offerings included warehousing and transportation services. Now, in addition to just-in-time delivery and transloading services, MoveTran also provides certain value-added services, including slitting steel coil up to 60 inches wide. Other value-added services include repackaging, assembly and return logistics; and freight transportation, warehousing, distribution and order fulfillment. MoveTran has started offering services to pack, unpack and reship containers, both domestically as well as internationally through the Port of Baltimore. The company has begun stocking select sizes and weights of aluminum products in addition to steel products, and has expanded steel product offerings to include select long products. MoveTran initiated “pick-and-pack” service to store and ship just-in-time common sizes and weights of steel. It operates in a 206,000-square-foot warehouse that offers customers rail and truck access as well as easy transport for transatlantic shipments via the Port of Baltimore. The facility is a heated warehouse that is monitored around the clock with modern, high-technology security systems, making it ideal for long-term storage. Since its start-up in January 2013, MoveTran has steadily expanded its services within its original facility. The company has instituted an inventory management system that provides customers with an online virtual warehouse with unique identification codes for easy locating of products. MoveTran’s basic “rail-offload-local trucking” concept (transloading) can save 10 to 50 percent of the cost of direct long-haul trucking. This savings can be shared by the supplier and customer of the metal products.


Port Hedland Port Authority

Port Hedland in Western Australia is the world’s largest bulk iron ore export port, a vital logistics link in the delivery of raw materials to the Asian steel industry. The Port Hedland Port Authority is a world-class operation that is certified to international standards for its safety, environmental, information security and quality management systems. Those systems are in place to help the port achieve its goals of safely, profitably, sustainably, efficiently and innovatively operating the port to promote, facilitate and expand regional trade. It also seeks to maintain its leading port status by promoting new technologies, continuous improvement and industry best practices. With strong global demand for iron ore expected to continue in the coming years, the port authority has set goals for the port’s growth through numerous expansion projects. During the past year, the port has seen record-breaking trade, helping it retain its title as the world’s largest bulk export port and Australia’s largest tonnage port. A total of 288.4 million tonnes moved through the port last year, 97 percent of which were iron ore exports. The number of vessel movements through the port also has increased, including a shift to the handling of larger vessels. In response to this growth, recent system upgrades have allowed the port authority to better use real-time sea, swell and tide data to predict sailing windows with greater accuracy. It also has completed a two-year study of the tidal system within its harbor, and has overseen or plans to include upgrades to it mooring systems. The port authority also has concentrated on improving workplace safety, and has seen a sharp decline in its lost-time injury frequency rate, which fell to zero last year. It also adheres to strict policies concerning environmental and wildlife habitat issues.

Scrap Company of the Year (small/midsize)


Winner: Columbus Scrap Material Inc.

Columbus Scrap Material Inc. (CSM) is a fast-growing provider of ferrous and nonferrous metal recycling services with five facilities in Mississippi and Tennessee. Its customers are primarily industrial manufacturers ranging in size from Fortune 500 accounts to regional and local businesses, as well as daily peddler customers, while its consumers include multibillion-dollar foundries and steel processing facilities. Columbus, Miss.-based CSM’s model is built on providing value-added programs and services, including logistics management, materials sorting, cutting, baling, upgrading and sourcing of material. CSM markets and sells ferrous and nonferrous products directly to local foundries, steel mills, specialty mills and smelters. It was founded in 1956 by Henry Weiss. Gregg Rader, who joined Henry in 1991 as vice president of operations, became an owner in 1996. CSM has a track record of retaining and growing its customers: It has retained 95 percent of its top 20 customers over the past five years, with its volumes with those same customers increasing by 12 percent during that period. CSM has built a business that is centered on best-in-class operating efficiency relative to its competitors. It benchmarked against other major publicly traded companies and ranked first overall as measured by sales per employee, tons per employee, ferrous price per ton, nonferrous price per ton, freight cost per ton (local logistics advantage) and inventory turns. CSM offers sophisticated pricing methodology, strong market knowledge and low conversion costs; best-in-class payment terms (10 days); and regulatory compliance through operational excellence. The company said it has a deep and experienced management team with a record of success in good and bad markets; stable, predictable, recurring cash flow; strong earnings performance through the prior downturn; and a business model that limits risk associated with changes in raw material prices. CSM’s management goals include doubling the size of the business over the next five years.


Finalist:

United Milwaukee Scrap LLC

United Milwaukee Scrap LLC said it is redefining the scrap metal industry by providing superior customer service, fast and flexible payment terms and innovative cutting-edge processes that help it deliver to customers some of the best value for their scrap. The Milwaukee-based company operates eight plants throughout the state, a warehouse in Minnesota and a sales office in Boston. United Milwaukee buys, processes and sells scrap metal generated from industry, obsolete materials, plant tear-downs, construction and other sources. Over the past two years it has made several improvements to safety and environmental practices that have enhanced business and customer support, including enhanced use of hand-held Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. Niton analyzers to help better identify the metallics of the scrap materials it processes, installation of a new Ludlum stationary radiation detection system, participation in a national vehicle mercury switch collection system and enhancements to its security surveillance. It also holds weekly safety talks in its yards, has passed unannounced Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections and installed two above-ground containment devices for fluid sampling. These and other steps have reduced workers’ compensation claims; improved insurance ratings that have reduced company costs; and allowed for participation in reclaiming accumulated fluids to create a purchase back program with an outside fluid recycler, improving environmental safety and increasing profits. The scrap dealer’s experience and history in Milwaukee dates back to the early 20th Century. Since a merger in 2003, it has experienced continuous growth and is committed to continuing this growth into the future. United Milwaukee Scrap said it prides itself on creating partnerships with customers based on integrity, experience and superior customer service.

Scrap Company of the Year (large)


Winner: Scrap Metal Services LLC

Scrap Metal Services LLC (SMS) is a supplier of ferrous and nonferrous scrap commodities to both domestic and international consumers. Burnham, Ill.-based SMS has seen revenue growth of more than 270 percent over the past five years. The growth in employees and other factors also has been significant, and company forecasts for the next five years are bullish. During the past year, SMS has acquired Paul’s Auto Yard Inc. and its subsidiary, Shafer’s Auto Yard Inc., two automotive dismantling, recycling and core auto parts resellers with yards in Indiana and Michigan. SMS was awarded a new mill services contract for the creation of a new slab conditioning and scarfing facility at Severstal North America Inc. in Dearborn, Mich., and has been awarded a U.S. Navy contract to dismantle an aircraft carrier, the first supercarrier to be dismantled in the United States. It also has expanded into Mexico. SMS executives attribute the company’s growth to a willingness to diversify and expand into entirely new areas of business, even in difficult economic times. The company also prides itself on its reliability in shipping quality products regularly with minimal issues from buyers. At the scrapyards themselves, SMS has implemented new software that allows it to keep accurate records and pictures of materials purchased. It has converted its payment system, added more secure anti-theft devices and controls, and adopted stringent environmental standards that include radioactive material detectors. Additionally, SMS has developed safety and environmental programs to help ensure that employees share a safe and healthy workplace. SMS specializes in scrap processing, scrap management and consulting, scrap brokerage, steel mill services, intermodal/rail car decommissioning, ship recycling and remediation, and shredding and dismantling services. SMS said it will continue to explore other niche businesses and to expand through acquisitions or by opening other greenfield operations as strategic opportunities present themselves.


Finalists

David J. Joseph Co.

David J. Joseph Co. (DJJ), founded in 1885, is one of the largest scrap brokers/processors in the United States, with 2,000 employees worldwide providing scrap brokerage services to more than 250 consumers and 1,000 suppliers. DJJ’s Recycling Group operates 79 facilities nationwide with the capacity to process more than 5 million tons of ferrous scrap and 500 million pounds of nonferrous scrap annually. DJJ executives said they strive for excellent service for customers and suppliers. The company conducts a front-line customer service training program for all its scale operators, cashiers, dispatchers, greeters and inspectors. The program focuses on enhancing the customer experience and creating outstanding customer service. Cincinnati-based DJJ has made transaction system enhancements that led to improved interaction and service for its customers and suppliers. DJJ’s systems and enhancements have resulted in reduced costs, increased transaction accuracy, improved performance metrics and expansion into international markets. The company’s updated and improved systems are driving better reporting, availability of real-time data and increased visibility for DJJ’s customers and suppliers. DJJ offers online, real-time information about scrap shipped via ScrapConnect (www.scrapconnect.net), which provides current information on contracts, shipments and payments, reducing the amount of time spent finding data. During 2013, DJJ upgraded its freight system to incorporate its scrap data and rail/barge freight data for Nucor Corp. The internet-based point-and-click system streamlines logistics, allowing for DJJ, customer and supplier enhanced supply chain visibility. The upgrade also ensures the accuracy of DJJ customers’ freight bills, which is an added value for them. To combat metal theft and deter stolen scrap from being brought into any of DJJ’s recycling facilities, the company utilizes a computerized imaging system that digitally records every transaction. This includes capturing suppliers’ driver’s licenses, license plate numbers, information on the type of material delivered, and a series of photos taken when material is weighed in at the scale and at the cashier’s area when the transaction is paid, and a view from the ATM when a cash card transaction is conducted. DJJ’s training programs include videos focusing on detecting/preventing metals theft.

Upstate Shredding LLC-Ben Weitsman & Son Inc.

Upstate Shredding LLC-Ben Weitsman & Son Inc. is the largest privately held scrap processor on the East Coast. In 2014, the company will process more than 1 million tons of ferrous scrap and 200 million pounds of nonferrous scrap. Company owner Adam Weitsman said he has dedicated the time and resources to make the company grow. Under his leadership, the company has been positioned as a resource in the industry. While others in the industry have downsized, laid off workers and closed locations, Upstate Shredding recently added a wire chopping plant, one of the few units like it in the world. With the addition of the wire chopping plant, Upstate Shredding now has the capability to handle insulated copper wire recovered from vehicles and appliances during shredding and process that into a copper chop material. The company has flourished through aggressive growth and expansion and has set a standard for financial success, reputation and brand recognition. The company has consistently posted record quarterly results, with profits reported for 30 consecutive quarters. This impressive record has been achieved without a single layoff. The company is building toward its goal of $1 billion in annual sales in 2015, having doubled in sales over the past three years. In support of this goal, Upstate Shredding continues to acquire new locations and supporting technologies. It grew its holdings from 12 locations to 18 in the second half of 2013, and has plans to acquire and/or build 33 facilities. The company added a new facility at the Port of Albany, N.Y., in August 2013, and it won the bid against industry competitors to expand the facility by 12 acres. The location allows Owego, N.Y.-based Upstate Shredding to expand its export market with direct access to shipping vessels. Since March 2013, the company has invested tens of millions of dollars in new equipment in order to increase productivity and output at the highest quality, including the purchase of a wire separation plant, a microfines plant and several shredders.

Service Center of the Year (small/midsized)


Winner: Berlin Metals LLC

Berlin Metals LLC uses an annual, formal customer satisfaction survey as the basis for setting improvement objectives. The 2013 survey showed that 98 percent of respondents would strongly recommend the Hammond, Ind.-based company, with 95 percent saying it had earned their support. Numerous practices led to those numbers. Berlin Metals requires front-end involvement of mill sources for each specification and application to provide the basis for advanced product quality planning to ensure that initial orders with new accounts perform as required. It engages in a continuous feedback loop where all customer concerns and accolades are communicated to management and appropriate employees. Berlin Metals also has developed and continuously improves a multidimensional company website (www.berlinmetals.com) to serve as an educational resource for customers, employees and suppliers. It has dedicated inside and outside customer service teams for each account to ensure consistency of follow-up and to cement relationships with each customer. Customer service representatives are engaged in a continuous education process in quality procedures and systems, steel production, and steel market news and economics so they can be better resources for customers. Berlin Metals provides customization of service options for each account to meet each customer’s unique needs. Areas considered include inventory levels, mill sourcing, information technology, packaging, invoicing and lead times. The distributor, which ships about 1,000 line items each month, had two months in 2013 when it achieved 100-percent on-time delivery, as measured by its customers. The company average for 2013 was 99.61 percent on time, an improvement over the previous year’s 99.58 percent and the 2011 rate of 99.4 percent. Berlin Metals’ on-time delivery rates have exceeded 99 percent for 10 years, and a significant percentage of its customers experience 100-percent on-time delivery rates month after month. The company has a multidisciplinary approach to resolve customer concerns, resulting in continuous improvement in its products and service.


Finalists

Klein Steel Service Inc.

Klein Steel Service Inc.’s goal is to make customers stronger and more successful, the Rochester, N.Y.-based company said. This goal is easier to achieve when working with customers who view Klein Steel less as a commodity supplier and more as a partner with shared values that can work with them to optimize their supply chain. To provide the best possible service and support, Klein Steel provides in-house account managers who oversee and manage all material spending and help strategic partners improve cash flow and working capital, increase efficiencies, decrease lead times, improve product designs and save money. The account managers are industry experts who understand materials, processing, procurement, design and manufacturing, and who use that information to guide customers on a daily basis and through ongoing continuous process improvement (CPI) initiatives. Over the past year, these initiatives have saved Klein Steel’s largest customer alone more than $400,000. Because of this, manager retention is a principal driver of customer retention and a critical measure of success. Over the past year and more, Klein Steel has developed customized automated order processing systems for a number of key accounts. The company’s solutions aren’t off-the-shelf deployments; they are custom built to meet specific, user-group-defined functional requirements. While all start with integrated systems and electronic data interchange and end with streamlined processes and dramatically improved order accuracy, specifications vary from advanced shipment notifications to unique scanning/bar coding solutions. CPI is also a key goal for Klein Steel, which uses a number of dashboards to measure operational performance, including—but not limited to—on-time delivery, quality, safety and equipment utilization. These measures, along with team member feedback, enable the company to determine where to direct its CPI initiatives. Through applying lean six sigma principles of Kaizen, time studies, value stream mapping, 5S, visual controls and more, Klein has created many internal efficiency improvements, as well as highly beneficial external CPIs at partner sites.


MidWest Materials Inc.

MidWest Materials Inc. believes its financial results and the performance of its credit and accounting departments are among the best in the industry. In both 2012 and 2013, the Perry, Ohio-based company experienced no customer defaults, significant past dues or bankruptcies. MidWest Materials is a leading steel service center supplying customers throughout North America with hot-rolled, hot-rolled pickled and oiled, coated and cold-rolled steel products. In 2012, it celebrated its 60th anniversary with the completion of a multimillion-dollar expansion. MidWest Materials said the warehousing and processing facility in Perry is home to the largest Leveltek International LLC stretch leveling system in North America. The distributor uses corrective levelers, slitters, shears, an on-site testing laboratory, direct rail access and a dedicated fleet of trucks. Since assuming the chief executive officer position in 2004, Brian Robbins has led MidWest Materials to record profits in nine of the past 10 years. MidWest Materials said its size allows executives to be involved with every customer. The customer service team learns about the customer’s business and specific needs, consults with mills to determine the best materials to meet requirements, and determines the best in-house processes. Any customer complaints are reviewed by a team from multiple departments, with a timely response and action. MidWest Materials has a history of continued investment in its property, facility, systems and operations to maintain the highest levels of safety, efficiency, quality and delivery. This is part of continued multimillion-dollar investments that include upgrades to existing processing equipment; new green, energy-efficient lighting throughout the 240,000-square-foot facility and offices; new cranes to decrease loading and unloading time on production lines, rail cars and trucks; upgrades to the in-house testing lab; a new fleet of Peterbilt Motors Co. trucks and East Manufacturing Corp. trailers outfitted with upgraded Tarpstop LLC Fastrak II pullback tarp systems; a new website and upgrades to the company’s information technology system; and office renovations.


Parker Steel Co.

Parker Steel Co. attributes its success to its special niche in the steel supply industry: it stocks steel only in metric sizes. The Toledo, Ohio-based company, which said it is by far the largest distributor of metric-size metals in America, stocks a large variety of metal types, grades and sizes, with an inventory of more than 5,400 products in the United States. Parker Steel said it takes pride in the service and selection it has built since it was founded in 1955. Customers can purchase as little as a single piece or a 3-ton bundle, with all stock available for immediate shipping. Parker’s products are tailored for customers that require pre-sized metric stock in order to eliminate further machining. Its goal is to strive for the highest quality, which is why Parker said it strictly follows guidelines set by its International Standards Organization (ISO) certifier. The company has passed audits every year since its ISO inception in 2005, and also ensures fast and safe imports by complying with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program. Parker had a delivery performance rate of 99.8 percent overall in 2012 and 2013. It averages about seven new customers per day and has a wide base of well over 20,000 active customers, ranging from small job/repair/machining shops to large-scale manufacturing plants. Customer service is a top priority for Parker Steel. All phone calls are answered within three rings; all quotes are provided within an hour, if not immediately; and 96 percent of orders are shipped the same day. With warehouses on both the West Coast (Fresno, Calif.) and in the Midwest (Toledo), Parker is able to quickly meet customer needs. Should the service center not have a particular size or grade of metal in stock, it makes efforts to find it immediately.

Service Center of the Year (large)


Winner: Steel Warehouse Co.

Steel Warehouse Co., established in 1947, is a family owned service center specializing in high-strength heavy-gauge, pickling and cut-to-length temper passed hot-rolled steel sheet and heavy-gauge hot-rolled steel slit coil. It handles precision slitting and blanking for cold-rolled and coated steel, and operates a narrow strip cold mill that produces cold strip product. The South Bend, Ind.-based company also is a producer of U.S. Army-approved SWC Shield armor. Steel Warehouse has plants in Cleveland; Houston; Calvert, Ala.; Portage and South Bend, Ind.; the Quad Cities; Chattanooga and Memphis, Tenn.; and Monterrey, Mexico. With the special high-strength steels it supplies, the company believes in a higher inventory level than most so that it can better serve customers with supply in the long run. And with longer mill lead times for special items, Steel Warehouse executives said it is necessary to have a larger supply in stock to ensure customer fulfillment. The company has received various supplier awards from Caterpillar Inc., Case New Holland, John Deere Co., Komatsu Ltd. and Hendrickson Trailer, among others. That recognition is the result, at least in part, of innovative investments. In 2013, Steel Warehouse built the world’s first continuous steel pickler (hydrochloric acid) on the grounds of the former ThyssenKrupp AG mill in Calvert, Ala. (now AM/NS Calvert). It is capable of pickling hot-rolled steel up to 1 inch thick and 72 inches wide. Marrying the understanding of the marketplace with innovative technology, the new Steel Warehouse/Triple-S Steel Supply Co. joint venture in Houston was built in 2013. It is the world’s first true temper pass cut-to-length line capable of processing 1-inch-thick, 120-inch-wide hot-rolled coil into sheets at grades up to 100 kilopounds per square inch. Steel Warehouse has doubled volumes over the past 10 years and expanded its footprint, particularly in Ohio, Tennessee and Mexico.


Finalists:

Kloeckner Metals Corp.

Kloeckner Metals Corp. embarked on an initiative to gain, retain and revive customers through training, tracking and monitoring of its sales and operations efforts. This is paying dividends by improving the skill set of its sales force, shifting the normal distribution curve. Roswell, Ga.-based Kloeckner now monitors everything from delivery performance, claims and backorders, to customer retention and new account penetration, all through system-generated reports that are reviewed and acted on weekly. The first group of metrics are delivered via e-mail as an Excel sheet attachment through Kloeckner’s measure of customer satisfaction (MCS) report. These can be shared internally or with a customer to show the complete picture of the relationship, from shipment to claims, over any specified accounting period. The report can be generated for shipments to a particular customer or simply run to measure the performance of a branch, a region or the company as a whole. The MCS report indicates that last year Kloeckner issued 4 percent fewer claims than in 2012 and delivered 4 percent more shipments on time. Kloeckner Metals achieved ISO/TS16949 automotive certification for two locations in the United States, complementing the company’s continued expansion and growth in the automotive market. Kloeckner implemented corporate-wide lean and continuous improvement programs across all its locations worldwide. The impact of these programs on staff and the overall organization is being realized in terms of improved operational and financial performance. The program has been well received by customers and is resulting in new opportunities; they’re realizing dramatic improvements in shipping, reduced production lead times, improved safety, increased manpower utilization, increased machine uptime, less scrap, lower transportation costs and an overall ability to execute their business plans. The overriding concepts are simply that a cleaner, organized and controlled process is highly efficient and more profitable. Kloeckner Metals has developed and implemented an environmental program that is helping to ensure good environmental practices. The program is uniform across all its locations.


Mill Steel Co.

Mill Steel Co. understands that meeting and exceeding its customers’ expectations is paramount, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company said. To accomplish this, Mill Steel stresses the importance of building lasting relationships with customers, carriers, producing mills and all other parties who play a role in its business. Mill Steel has developed several fulfillment strategies to guarantee customer satisfaction. For instance, its rapid response team is in place to address customers’ urgent request for quotations, guaranteeing a response within five minutes. Customers have stated that the rapid response team is a continuously reliable resource for meeting urgent needs. Mill Steel executives have always asserted that delivering a high-quality product is an integral part of providing excellent customer service. Its A2LA-certified labs test every coil at all company facilities, a standout practice in the industry as competitors often test by heat only. In 2012, a renewed focus was placed on improving product quality, as well as the customers’ experience. Subsequently, Mill Steel generated and completed corrective and preventative action plans at 1.4 times its previous rate. The results were that Mill Steel saw a 53-percent reduction in customer claims by 2013, all while overcoming the operational challenges that came with production volumes increasing 58 percent compared with 2010. Mill Steel believes the empowerment of employees is a critical driver of success. That belief, reciprocated by employee participation and pride of workmanship, generates broad improvement opportunities. Mill Steel developed a system that embeds data from a state-of-the-art imaging system directly into Mill Steel’s business systems, allowing for surface maps of coils to be automatically and effortlessly reviewed against customer requirements during the application process. On-time delivery is a vital component of meeting customer demand, but Mill Steel executives said the service center excels in its ability to react quickly and work effectively with customers to avoid major disruptions to their production schedules, such as during this past winter’s severe weather.


Steel Producer of the Year


Winner: Nucor Corp.

During the past year, Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp. made considerable progress on its strategy to enhance the company’s competitive position in a changing global steel industry and to expand its opportunities to move further into the automotive, energy, transportation, agricultural and industrial equipment markets. In order to maintain its competitive advantage, Nucor embarked on projects designed to give it greater control over its raw material costs and allow it to produce a larger variety of higher-margin products. Since the last cyclical peak in 2008, Nucor has invested $8 billion in projects that are part of this strategy. It achieved a major milestone in the execution of its strategy with the start-up of its $750-million direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant in Louisiana. The facility, the largest DRI plant in the world and the first operating in the United States since 2009, is yielding 275 tons of DRI per hour—more than any DRI plant in the world. A second part of Nucor’s raw material strategy is an investment in a long-term supply of natural gas to offset the cost of gas used at its Louisiana DRI plant and steel mills. Nucor invested in an onshore working drilling interest program with Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. to secure this supply of gas. In addition to its focus on raw materials, Nucor also has made significant investments in projects that will allow the company to move up the value chain in several product areas. Last year, Nucor completed projects at several bar mills that increase its ability to produce special bar quality products. It also completed a project that enables its sheet mill in South Carolina to make wider, lighter-gauge sheet steel, as well as projects at its plate mill in North Carolina that expand the company’s ability to produce value-added plate products.


Finalist:

Severstal North America Inc.

Severstal North America Inc. has stepped up business development with its key original equipment manufacturer customers. New products, such as advanced high-strength steels and exposed galvanized products, were added to be more in line with those customers’ needs. Product development at the Dearborn, Mich.-based steelmaker is dramatically faster thanks to significant process improvements. The company has improved process control due to the new technology while maintaining operational efficiencies. The complete rebuilding of its demand forecasting and on-time delivery system significantly improved service levels. The system, which forecasts customer demand and reconciles that demand with mill production, is vital to the improvement process. Severstal executives said that such customer service is at the very heart of what it does. There is value in having loyal and happy customers, the company said, and it strives to improve on this front. Some recent initiatives and achievements include regaining market share with key automotive and pipe and tube customers. For instance, Severstal supplies one top customer with more than 90 percent of its steel. It sends semi-regular communications to customers to give them a sense of how Severstal views the market and what it anticipates; price announcement letters describe changes in detail; and Severstal recently restructured the way it handles new orders so that inside account representatives can spend more time talking to customers on the phone instead of just entering orders. Another customer-focused initiative launched this year was to create a dedicated sales team for Texas and Mexico to better serve those growing markets. The results of the efforts were record production and shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 despite an overall weak steel market.

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