Part Two: The Role of Service Centers in the Steel Supply Chain
Steel mills excel at manufacturing steel- it is, after all, their business.
Once steel has been formed into hot-rolled slab it can be further processed into various types of steel products like hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized product. It will be thinned out across a gamut of thicknesses (referred to as gauges) using different types of processes. To keep it simple, just realize that hot-rolled slab is processed in lots of different ways and that each process adds to the final material’s properties and appearance.
Mills are exceptional at manufacturing these various types of steel and they do great at delivering it to customers across the street and across the world.
There’s just one problem, mill coiled steel looks like this:
In case the person standing next to these coils didn’t demonstrate fully for you, these coils are massive. Try 10,000-20,000 pounds massive on for size. Just two of these coils max out the load on a full-size semi-truck. That’s well enough, assuming your facility has massive overhead cranes and equipment sturdy enough to handle 20,000 pounds of pressure.
Oh…your fabrication services require 8’ by 10’ sheets of metal? Yeah, huge coils might not be what you’re looking for.
Lucky for you, companies like OFR Metals exist. We buy from steel mills and then process their mammoth coils according to each customer’s specification-slitting and re-coiling material into smaller coils, leveling coiled material and then cutting it to specified lengths and widths, etc.
We take that role seriously. We believe it means more than just providing customers with material. Linking customers to the steel mills means providing them with the expertise that they would expect to get if they bought directly from the mill. We are unique that way. We host open houses where customers are invited to meet with metallurgists (someone who is an expert in making and using metal) from the mills. We gather market intelligence from mill representatives to help our customers make smart buying decisions.
Additionally, lean metal distributors, like OFR Metals, know how to shorten lead times, maximize inventory efficiency and minimize material delays. We try to tighten the steel supply chain so our customers experience less down-time and have the information they need to make decisions in real time.
In the next segment, we’ll talk about our customers (it’s one of our favorite topics!). How do they use this processed metal? What happens on their manufacturing floors that take blank steel sheets and form them into recognizable, everyday items?
It might just surprise you to find out. Check back for part three of the Steel Supply Chain series.