ESH Euro Stahl-Handel, the steel division of construction and DIY purchasing cooperative E/D/E has entered a cooperation with steel.shop, the online trading entity formerly known as #netzwerkstahl, Kallanish notes. The partnership is set to pave new ways for ESH’s small and medium-sized members in the digital competition with large steel stockholders and producers, the company says.
“The increasing digitalisation in steel distribution is a clear and irreversible trend,” ESH’s managing director says, referring to the arrangement. “With steel.shop, we can offer our members an individually configured and branded online shop system to open another sales channel and become visible in the digital world,” says its other managing director, Joachim Hiemeyer. E/D/E – ESH is one of two large German steel purchasing cooperatives of similar size. In 2017 the company processed a sales volume of just over €1 billion ($1.25 billion).
steel.shop is a digital service supplier that emerged from the former #netzwerkstahl which was started up around three years ago to become a full-on steel trading platform. While that scheme was abandoned, its parent company, Swiss-based distributor Montanstahl, changed the name and direction of the project, turning it into a provider of software for distributors to set up their own platform.
Wolfgang Stumm, managing partner of steel.shop, notes that “… implementations of e-commerce solutions are difficult for several reasons.” For one thing, he says, the complexity of steel products could not be captured with standard software products. Also, SMEs are normally lacking the capacity and IT expertise to come up with a system of their own. “And, such insular solutions mean [… an amount of] effort that is hard to calculate,” he adds.