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An introduction to steel stockholders

Photo courtesy of Barrett Steel Ltd

Photo courtesy of Barrett Steel Ltd

Steel stockholders play a vital part in the steel construction supply chain, ensuring the market is supplied with what it needs when it is needed. From an extensive national network of depots and an efficient transportation network, they serve all parts of the UK construction supply chain.

How much structural steel is procured through a steel stockholder?
Over 65% of structural steel in UK construction projects is supplied via a steel stockholder. Steel stockholders supply a variety of products including heavy structural sections, plate, tubular sections, light sections, cladding materials, flats and angles.

A steel stockholder can supply any quantity and mix of steel required for a project. This means steelwork contractors do not have to incur the additional capital cost of purchasing more steel than required on the off chance that it may be required soon, coupled with the risk and costs associated with keeping that extra material in inventory.

The relationship between the steelmaker and stockholder
Steelmakers produce steel in accordance with pre-planned rolling cycles. While these rolling schedules can vary and are influenced by product and market requirements, they need to be planned in advance. When buying directly from a steelmaker, orders must be for minimum quantities of steel in terms of weight or bundles (number of pieces) rather than matching the specific and immediate requirements of a project.

What are the other services stockholders offer?
Steel stockholders have invested heavily in productivity and service enhancing equipment. A number have invested in the latest laser cutting, sawing, shot blasting and priming equipment. Offering these additional services helps steelwork contractors that do not want to use their capital to invest directly in large plant and machinery.

‘It is crucial to our customers that we continue to offer processing quickly and accurately. Today’s modern fabrication processes have led to massive increases in demand to support the need for processes such as sawing, drilling and plasma cutting at very short notice,” says AJN Steelstock Sales Executive Phil Cleaver.

Supporting the fabrication process
On an average contract, the lead-in time before the steel is required on site may be 10 working weeks. In these 10 weeks the steelwork contractor needs to resolve any design queries, model the steelwork, design and detail the connections, order and receive the steel, fabricate the steel and deliver the steel to the construction site.

“Steel stockholders play an absolute vital role in the supply chain, giving steel users the flexibility to plan their production to maximise efficiency.” Barrett Steel Group Managing Director James BarrettThe steel stockholder plays a significant part in ensuring these tight timescales are met and has processes in place to support this. For example the advancement of online services eases the process for steelwork contractors; simplifying the ordering process, providing quick and easy access to certification details and providing in time updates on deliveries.

Stockholders also provide a just-in-time service to steelwork contractors, specifically daily steel deliveries to increase their production efficiency, which in turn allows for last minute design changes and reduces the handling of steel in their own yard. A number of stockholders will have sites across the UK and Ireland which supports ease of transportation and stock availability.

“The key tenet of stockholding is service and the main element is delivery. Short notice, difficult lengths, coatings and load sequences are all part of the challenge we face and solution that we offer,” explains Cleveland Steel & Tubes Managing Director Roy Fishwick.

Knowledge of steel stockholders
Due to their integral role within the supply chain, steel stockholders can provide up-to-the-minute insight on the steel construction industry and have access to a wide range of information, such as pricing trends, availability issues, backlogs and activity levels.

“A reliable and sustainable supply chain is critical to success; with volatile prices and rapidly changing market conditions it’s essential to form a close relationship with steelmakers whilst building a pipeline of orders to understand future product demand,” says ParkerSteel Senior Commercial Manager, James Harding.

Steel Stockholders
Headline: Barrett Steel Limited
Gold: AJN Steelstock Ltd, National Tube Stockholders and Cleveland Steel & Tubes, ParkerSteel

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