SMU Value: Perspective from the steel buy side
Steel Market Update (SMU) recently added Tony Bonavita, an experienced flat rolled steel buyer and product manager to our team. Our SMU newsletter, which is published three times per week, will become even stronger and more meaningful to those within the steel community as Tony shares his steel purchasing insights with our subscribers. Here is an example:
Written by: Tony Bonavita
Having lived the life of a flat rolled steel buyer, I understand the challenges that these professionals face daily. I have experienced the thrill of negotiating a great buy as well as the stomach ache of a bad decision. I understand the delicate balance between strategic long term thinking and tactical short term solutions, balancing the relational with the transactional, and maintaining constant vigilance over the entire supply chain.
Critical to the success of any steel centered manufacturing or distribution organization is the purchasing professional (my biased opinion). In the “new economy”, this role has become more complex and dynamic. Steel buyers not only need to maintain product knowledge and supply chain expertise, but they must be adept in assessing all kinds of risk, including market and macro-economic risk. Purchasing professionals must have a skill set that allows them to effectively interact with diverse internal stakeholders, including finance, operations, sales and marketing functions. A steel buyer must take advantage of opportunities, respecting organizational constraints, mitigating risk, delivered all through perfect execution. No pressure.
Critical to the success of any purchasing professional is the ability to have effective resources and tools for decision-making. Please understand no resource can ever make a decision for you. Only the professional can appropriately balance outside influences with internal expectations. But this is why I am excited to be a part of Steel Market Update. There is no better resource in the industry that provides the cumulative value steel buyers need as part of their routine to make better decisions.
Let me explain how.
Value #1 – SMU provides targeted, relevant and timely news and information to buyers and sellers of steel.
Steel buyers need to understand what is happening in the market in order to adapt ongoing strategies to potential risks or new opportunities. Only informed buyers can make effective mid-course corrections amid market volatility.
There are good industry periodicals that report ongoing news. They provide a large breath of content, are well respected and are certainly valuable to the industry for the service they provide.
However, a steel buyer’s time is limited. No longer does a purchasing professional have the time to read through 20 articles every morning hoping to find the one gem that might be valuable. Steel buyers need news and information, targeted to them, relevant to their decision making, delivered in a timely fashion.
This is why SMU stands apart from other periodicals. Staff and contributing writers report on content meaningful to the flat rolled community, delivered when the professional needs it. No digging for gems. Receive SMU communications and you are up to date on the flat rolled steel market.
Value #2 – SMU provides current market context for better decision making.
Steel buyers not only need targeted news and information, they need a resource that provides visibility for what is unfolding in the market during a period or window of time when decisions on buying, selling or managing inventory are to be made.
There are a number of market personalities and consultants that provide industry context and even forecasting. Many of these reports are valuable, even entertaining, but they can also be costly and provide questionable value.
For steel buyers to know that their decision has a 50% chance of being 90% successful 30% of the time in the next 18 months provides little to no value. If a volcano is set to erupt, purchasing professionals need directions to the nearest shelters, not a geological synopsis of the pending event.
Robust sourcing strategies ought to accommodate changes in long range market curves. Decision makers need a robust resource to provide current market context for ongoing execution of the long range plan.
SMU provides, through its pricing indices, meters and articles, a current rolling 30 to 60 day perspective essential for whatever decision a steel buyer may face during that time. That window of market visibility allows decision makers to make better decisions for their business based upon their own risk tolerance and asset management strategy.
Value #3 – SMU provides perspective from experienced contributors.
Steel buyers need to know that the news and context they are engaging are from credible and experienced professionals.
Other resources can tout years of experience in the industry, but many are through the disciplines of journalism, research or consulting. Perspective can sometimes be limited by a view created outside the “field of play.”
Some supplier resources are created by credible industry players. However, experience dictates that it is sometimes difficult to get your beach weather forecast from the guy selling umbrellas, or the gal selling sun block. Perspective can sometimes be limited by the motive at play.
SMU staff and contributing writers have all been active participants in the industry. They have either actually bought or sold flat rolled steel. They’ve won and lost orders; they’ve nailed or blown the buy. SMU products contain perspective by professionals who have played the game. SMU also provides an independent perspective. Our mission is to give active buyers and sellers of steel news, information, data and perspective that will help them make better decisions for their businesses.
I am excited to be part of the team at Steel Market Update. My educational and steel purchasing experience will fit very well with what SMU is trying to accomplish as a quality supplier of relevant information to the steel community. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible and encourage an ongoing dialogue with SMU and myself. I can be reached at: Tony@SteelMarketUpdate.com
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