Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


Networking is always an important piece of doing business in the steel business. There are, in my opinion, three great places to network and each is a little different from the others.

I attended the Metals Industry Dinner in support of the Chicago area Boy Scouts (Boy Scout Dinner) on Thursday of last week. The dinner attracts about a thousand people who pack the Hyatt Regency bar before the dinner (not everyone has a ticket) and then again at the official cocktail party and dinner. The Boy Scout event tends to attract service centers, toll processors, steel mills and trading companies. The attendees can range from owners and CEO’s to sales, purchasing and support people. There are manufacturing companies in attendance but they are much fewer in number compared to the previously mentioned industry segments. The Boy Scout Dinner is a great place to see multiple suppliers in one place without having to move around too much.

The next big long time event is Steel Success Strategies (SSS) which is a joint venture event between World Steel Dynamics (WSD) and the American Metal Market (AMM). SSS is held in New York City at the Sheraton and it attracts an interesting crowd which has changed over the years. The event attracts top executives from trading companies around the world, commodity related industries (like iron ore companies), the financial community, steel mills, some service centers, scrap companies, analysts and consultants and a number of large OEM’s. Because it is expensive to attend at $2299 (full price if registering now) per person many companies are now sending their sales or purchasing people to the area where they set up appointments to meet outside of the hotel with their key suppliers or customers. The lobby and the lobby bar is a great place to hang out and meet people as they travel in and out of the hotel.

The third big event, in my opinion, is the SMU Steel Summit Conference for a number of reasons. One is the conference is growing and being accepted as the one with the best program for those attending. Second, the price of the conference is reasonable at $1200 per person which can be knocked down to $900 with early bird registration (prior to July 1) and SMU member company discounts. The attendees tend to be manufacturing companies – small, midsized and large (which you don’t see at other conferences), wholesalers, service centers, trading companies, toll processors, paint companies, scrap companies, steel mills and a smattering of analysts, bankers and the financial community. The focus of the conference is on the issues of the day and forecasting for next year and beyond. The conference is also a great place to network – speak to existing suppliers and/or customers – find new ones and to discuss issues related to the industry.

This year’s Steel Summit Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia International Convention Center on September 1st and 2nd. However, we want everyone to arrive in the afternoon of August 31st to take advantage of some extra networking time in our host hotel lobby and bar area as well at the downtown Atlanta restaurants. The Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway is our host hotel and we have a limited number of blocked rooms at $139 per night (not Chicago or NYC rates) which need to be booked early in order to obtain that rate. We invite you to learn more about our program, speakers, costs and registration on our website: www.SteelMarketUpdate.com.

SMU Newsletter Three Times or Twice Per Week?

A few issues back in one of my Final Thoughts articles I had a comment from one of our member companies who was complaining about the lack of articles being written and opinions voiced by me. I discussed in the article about my involvement with almost all of the articles and my involvement in all of the conferences and workshops produced by Steel Market Update.

I have continued to think about the comment as I am sensitive to the needs of our member companies and valued readers of our newsletters. One of the ways I could produce more articles and more detailed analysis type articles would be if the Executive level newsletter (or regular newsletter which everyone gets) were reduced from three times per week to twice per week.

Over the past week I have been discussing this option with a number of our customers to get their opinions on the subject. To date we have not found anyone who objects to the concept provided we produce a special issue should there be breaking news, price increase announcements or something that is time sensitive that needs to get to our readers. We are already doing this for our Premium level members who receive special supplemental issues when we have special analysis articles (average about one per week). I would expect that if we made a change that we would end up producing two or three special newsletters per month that would be only one to three articles in length rather than our typical newsletter which is ten to fourteen articles per issue.

We would also relegate topics such as the Empire Manufacturing article in tonight’s issue to our blog rather than our Executive newsletter as we would not want the two issues to be packed with articles you can read in your neighborhood newsletter or online as needed. Our drive would be to produce more industry specific articles.

This is something I am thinking about but have not yet made any decisions to make an immediate change in the way we do business. I want to give you, our customers, an opportunity to weigh in on the subject and provide your thoughts as to the pro’s and con’s to any possible change.

If a change were made the most likely remedy would be to produce our Tuesday evening newsletter and then another either on Thursday or Friday evening. We could also consider doing a Sunday evening issue followed by a Wednesday evening issue (we would continue to produce Tuesday steel prices and post them on our website but not produce or newsletter article until Wednesday evening).

There is much to think about and we want to do what is in the best interest of our customers. So, below is a link to a survey where you can voice your opinion (make sure you don’t have “block links” activated on your computer). The link takes you to SurveyMonkey.com which is hosting this particular questionnaire. Please take one minute to give us your opinion (one question only with a comment field). If the link does not work when you click on it – copy and past the URL below into your browser (Google/Firefox, etc.) and it should take you to SurveyMonkey.com and our survey question.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FD93JVZ

I appreciate you taking a few moments to assist us as we look toward the future and what we think will be the best fit for our member companies.

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

Sincerely,

John Packard, Publisher

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What's the tea in the steel industry this week? Here's the latest SMU gossip column! Just kidding... kind of. Yes, some of the comments we receive in our weekly flat-rolled market steel buyers' survey are honestly too much to put into print. Some make us laugh. Some make us cringe. Some are cryptic. Most are serious. We appreciate them all. Below are some highlights from our survey results this week. Some of the comments that we can share with you are also included, in italics, in the buyers' own words, with minimal editing on our part.