CARLSBAD, Calif. Stainless steel companies must maintain
strong lines of communication throughout their supply chains,
although this can be challenging for mills further upstream,
speakers at the Metals Service Center Institutes
Specialty Metals Division Conference said.
Companies should understand where they fall in the supply chain
and stay in frequent contact with clients to avoid problems,
economist Charles Fine told delegates March 22.
The relationships you have with supply chain are
critical. You need to understand each others
problems, Fine said.
However, Dennis Oates, chairman, chief executive officer and
president of Bridgeville, Pa.-based Universal Stainless &
Alloy Products Inc., said that as a mill guy, it can be
difficult to get a finger on the pulse.
From a mill standpoint, you dont have a great
visibility down the supply chain, he said. We use
our sales force very aggressively; we challenge ourselves to
listen. Im always asking our sales force what
theyre hearing in the marketplace.
We sometimes just pick up the phone and call our
customers, William Sales, senior vice president for
operations at Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum
Co., added. We need to have those kinds of relationships.
... Otherwise, were going to make some bad
And there are already enough challenges to face. For example,
new trucking regulations will likely boost freight costs, Ralph
Arthur, president of Des Moines, Iowa-based Ruan Dedicated
Contract Carriage, told delegates.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations new
rules, which require that drivers take a 30-minute break every
eight hours, go into effect July 1 (
amm.com, Dec. 28
Were going back to each customer to understand what
this means, but its potentially an increase in trucks and
an increase in drivers, Arthur said. All those
costs will roll up, and we have to be careful to mitigate the
effects on your business and our business as well.