EUROMETAL Digital Forum in Zürich outlined the complexity of digital transformation in the EU Steel Distribution Sector

On last 13 September, EUROMETAL had invited to its second event having Digitalization as a main conference theme.

This major event, hosted by Swiss steel distribution federations SSHV/ASCA and VSEMH, noted a large success with professionals from the steel community attending the conference from all over Europe.

An outstanding speakers list was introduced by Daniel Guinabert, EUROMETAL Director General, and included Ruedi Noser, member of the Swiss Council of State, Reinhard Fromm, President of Fromm Packaging Systems, Ivica Kolaric from Fraunhofer IPA Institute, Felix Amberg from Swiss SCAUT organisation, Armin Stolzer, Managing Owner of KASTO Maschinenbau, Valentin Kaltenbach, CEO Kaltenbach Solutions, Christian Dyck, CEO kloeckner.i, Timo Rossi from Finnish JAKAMO, Amit Kumar from ArcelorMittal SSC West Europe, Stefan Grüll, Managing Director at Koenig Holding group and Tim Milde, COO XOM Materials.

The conference was concluded by an open forum animated by Andreas Steffes from SSHV/ASCA. Besides speakers the panel was completed by the participation of Norbert Thumfart, CEO Weyland, Christoph Weber, CEO Arthur Weber, President SSHV and Jan Moravec Executive Director Ferona.

Speakers and panelists outlined some of the challenges facing steel distribution and SSC in their pursuit of digital transformation.

Here are some key quotes from speakers or panelists: First of all analyse the problems of the customer, then design digital solutions and finally implement solutions.BIM is a highly interesting digital interface for steel suppliers.

Steel distribution is invited to establish digital catalogues of steel products to enter the BIM world, which opens new horizons for business models in steel distribution.

New combined ERP & Storage & Sawing digital solutions are now available from main processing equipment providersEcosystem economy will trigger the rise of vertical hollistic digital platforms as opposed to presently typical horizontal digital platforms Digital steel quality data will represent a new line of assets and new market opportunities.

Digital distribution of steel data might become as important as physical distribution of steel Digitalization is a tool to face missing skilled labor skills to run more and more digitalized equipment and will enable to cut lead time to fulfill customer demands Digital solutions will optimize the use of storage and processing capacities and reduce idle times Prominently for steel distribution, digitalization is considered to be an important tool to survive and to advantageously position steel distribution between producers and end users, Digitalization forces steel distribution to rethink and to improve internal material and information flows.

Importance to implicate company work force from the start in the digital transformation processDigitalization is sometimes considered to threaten personal contacts with customers.

On the other hand is was outlined that digitalization starts first with an in depth discussion with customers about their needs regarding products, services, communications, etc.

The conference was closed by conclusive remarks from Hans Kohler president of SWISS VSEMH association.