Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

There is one issue I have found when relying on collection of pricing data just through our flat rolled and plate steel market analysis (survey). What I am finding is the survey data is difficult to trace back to the individual who is reporting and, therefore, is difficult to address anomalies in the numbers. I end up casting off the low and high end numbers as outliers when they may actually be good data points that need to be considered.

I learned this lesson first when we decided to add plate spot pricing to our index. Because plate has a smaller market size and fewer large service centers and end users, I found when our reliable data providers weren’t there for any particular survey the numbers appeared to swing a lot more than what was actually going on in the marketplace. A couple of small service centers or OEMs who were paying premiums were throwing off the numbers. What I decided to do with plate is to make sure the top ten data providers were included by personally going out to them instead of relying on the survey only.

Our flat rolled survey goes out to a much wider group of data providers. We send out 640 invitations to participate in any one survey (we do two per month). Still, I am finding it is important that we keep a decent percentage of our core data providers actively reporting to ensure we are collecting the most accurate data possible.

Last week, we missed some of the lower numbers on hot rolled and some of the other products. It’s not that we didn’t see some of them being reported. But we saw more of the higher numbers, and without taking the time to research where the lower numbers were coming from we discounted them and moved our average up when it probably should have remained the same. (We moved from $805 to $820 last week. This week, we moved back down to an $805 average).

I want our readers to know that I will be addressing this issue with flat rolled as I did with plate. There needs to be a balance of direct contact, and the give and take that goes with those contacts, along with the black and white (and less personal) survey.

Another item I want to address is to reach out to those being invited to participate in our questionnaire to confirm they are the correct person, that they are getting the invitation and that they participate. The goal is to provide the most accurate and timely information possible.

As I have mentioned in the past few issues, we have a new person working out of the Pittsburgh office who is assisting SMU with customer service and sales. Her name is Paige Mayhair and she can be reached at 724-720-1012. One of the areas we want to improve upon is having more direct contact with our members during the renewal process to make sure your needs are being met, to answer any questions you might have, etc. Please feel free to contact Paige with any issues you are having, and if she is unable to get you immediate answers she will reach out to me or others on our team who can answer the question.

I spoke with a large manufacturer out of New England this morning. They have recently signed up for a free trial of our newsletters and they were enjoying the service. They had a question about the loading time and I hope the issue they were having has been resolved (if not, please come back to me). We also discussed the SMU Steel Summit Conference for 2019. We are already well into building the framework that will guide us for 2019. Our goal with every conference is for it to be 1) the best networking event in the industry, 2) the most informative program, 3) entertaining, 4) different from the year before, and 5) the best value of any conference in North America, if not the world. The NE manufacturer told me they had already blocked out Aug. 26-28 on their calendars as they will be attending their first SMU Steel Summit Conference. The word is out, our conference is THE place to be if you are involved in any way with the flat rolled or plate steel markets. Come join the anticipated 1,000 executives for our 2019 conference in Atlanta at the end of August. Save the dates: Aug. 26, 27 and 28.

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

John Packard, President & CEO

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