Steel Products

2019 Will be a Special Year to Engage with Steel Market Update

Written by John Packard

The year 2019 is shaping up to be a special year for Steel Market Update and our customers. Steel Market Update is much more than a source of market intelligence and a supplier of spot pricing for the flat rolled and plate steel markets. Over the years, SMU has developed a number of highly successful workshops, as well as our SMU Steel Summit Conference, which is the premier steel conference in North America.

What Do You Want to Learn?

Steel 101Steel 101 – The Basics

This week we will conduct one of our Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Maket Fundamentals workshops. This two-day workshop is focused on the two ways steel is made: integrated and “mini” mill. The integrated mills use blast furnaces and BOFs while the so-called “mini” mills use electric arc furnaces (EAFs). From there the two combine as steel is refined, caste and then rolled to plate, hot rolled, HRPO, cold rolled, galvanized, Galvalume, aluminized, tin plate (flat rolled and plate) as well as long products used by manufacturing and construction throughout the world.

Then we take you into a working steel mill to see exactly what we have been discussing on the first morning of our workshop.

Did you ever wonder why sometimes the steel you buy is too hard or too soft? We discuss how the qualities of steel are made, some of the tests that can be done and what the tests mean, and we show examples of products used in the real world.

The steel industry is more than just understanding how steel is made. We discuss relationships, history and how the markets work with a special focus on the flat rolled and plate steel markets. We also provide an excellent atmosphere to network with the steel mill we toured, other attendees and our instructors.

We have trained close to 800 people, many of whom have been promoted throughout their organizations. We help provide a baseline of knowledge from which you can grow. We also provide mentors through our instructors.

Our next Steel 101 workshop will be held in Starkville, Miss., on Jan. 29-30, 2019, and we will tour the SDI Columbus steel mill as part of that workshop. You can learn more about this workshop, costs to attend and how to register on our website:

steel 201Steel 201 – Upgrade Your Base Knowledge

In 2018, Steel Market Update added a new workshop about advanced high-strength steels, which we called Steel 201: Introduction to Advanced High Strength and Other New Steels. We worked in conjunction with AK Steel at their brand-new Research and Innovation Center (RIC). Part of the workshop was a tour of the AK Steel Middletown steel mill.

This workshop was focused on automotive and other new steels that could be used for “light-weighting,” or substitution of old parts with lighter but just as strong new parts. 

We found much interest by the technical staffs of manufacturing companies, service centers, other steel mills as well as the purchasing and sales groups who have to understand the buying and selling process for these new steels.

A new generation of steels is in development and those who learn how to understand and work with them will be best suited for the industry in the coming years.

You can learn more about our Steel 201 workshop by clicking here. We have not yet selected where and when we will conduct this workshop for 2019. Stay tuned.

Managing Price Risk

A number of years ago, we conducted workshops so buyers and sellers as well as those in the financial community could better understand the use of the futures markets to spread price risk and smooth out business risk. We worked with Andre Marshall of Crunch Risk and many of the early workshops were conducted at the CME facilities in Chicago or New York City.

We are looking at bringing a new “risk management” workshop back to life using new instructors and a more focused agenda. We will be talking about this concept more during the New Year. If you are interested in a higher understanding and working on practical solutions to price risk problems, please let us know:

Custom Workshops

One area that is perhaps under-appreciated and not well understood is Steel Market Update’s ability to conduct special training programs focused on a specific customer need. We have conducted workshops at a client’s facility on a wide variety of topics: sales, customer service, purchasing and steel training. SMU is not limited to just a Steel 101 type program. We have access to experts in many fields and can work with you to define the issue your company is grappling with and then develop a one- or two-day program to address the issues we have identified together for your employees.

Custom workshops can range in cost from a low of $15,000 up to $40,000 or greater depending on the number of people involved, the amount of time spent developing the program, travel costs, etc.

If there is something you would like for us to look at, please contact Steel Market Update CEO John Packard at

Steel SummitThen There is Our SMU Steel Summit Conference

Maybe one of the best learning experiences you or your company can have is to attend a SMU Steel Summit Conference, the premier steel conference in North America. The next conference will be held in Atlanta on Aug. 26-28, 2019, and we expect a full audience of 1,000+ executives from all over North America and the world. 

2019 – The Year to Learn and Truly Experience Steel Market Update

We are planning on conducting 4-5 Steel 101 workshops, one Steel 201 workshop and an unknown number of Price Risk and Custom workshops during calendar year 2019.

We will have an exciting, dynamic SMU Steel Summit Conference at the end of August 2019.

2019 is a year when your company should plan on not only reading our newsletters and website, but to truly engage with SMU through our workshops, conferences and custom programs.

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