Klöckner pushes digitalisation through acquisitions

Klöckner & Co expects upcoming acquisitions to accelerate its digitalisation process

The acquisition and integration of new companies into the German-based distribution group will open new opportunities for its ongoing digitalisation, chief executive Gisbert Rühl said during a conference call attended by Kallanish.

A mere acquisition by itself has only minor potential for growth, “…as you cannot boost margins that much in our industry,” Rühl explained. However, tying in new member companies into the group’s digitalisation process from the outset will provide much stronger leverage, he added.

Regarding its digitalisation ambitions, Klöckner regards itself as a beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic, which has acted as an accelerator, it writes in its half-year report. The share of sales generated via digital channels increased at a faster pace in the second quarter to 38%, up from 29% in Q2 2019.

The AI-based Kloeckner Assistant delivered a significantly increasing contribution to this development. According to Klöckner, the application shortens what was previously a complex ordering process for both buyers and sellers from several days to just a few minutes.

Additional important progress was also made with the open industry platform XOM Materials. The new AI-driven XOM eProcurement solution will almost fully automate the procurement process for XOM customers.