Projects and Features
The structural steelwork sector is served by a national network of steel stockholders, one of the best organised distribution networks of any industrial product.
Steel stockholders play a vital part in the steel construction supply chain, ensuring the market is supplied with what it needs when it needs it.
From an extensive national network of depots, steel stockholders serve all parts of the UK and Ireland, and construction is their biggest client. As well as heavy structural sections they supply plate, tubular sections, light sections, cladding materials, flats and angles – all the elements needed to create a steel building.
Stockholders buy in large volumes and stock a wide range of steel so they can respond to the demands of customers for the hundreds of steel sections sizes and grades available.
One of the major benefits to steelwork contractors from the UK’s large stockholding sector is their ability to ‘break bulk’. This means steelwork contractors don’t have to tie up working capital holding stocks of steel on the off chance that it may be demanded soon, or incur the cost of storing the steel itself. Stockholders can do this much more economically as, having a lot of steelwork contractors to supply, they are turning their stock over much more quickly.
Over 65% of the steel supplied in the UK is via the stockholder route… far higher than any other major EU country. As the UK’s GDP at 2.2% is the highest within the G7, the growth opportunities within the UK remain very strong. Our developments into the Scottish and Irish markets in recent years have opened opportunities for us and we are constantly looking to expand either organically or via acquisition,”
Barrett Steel Group Financial Director Andy Warcup. Stockholders also provide a just-in-time service to steelwork contractors, many of whom want daily steel deliveries to increase their production efficiency and reduce the handling of steel in their own yard. These regular deliveries also assist when last minute changes are made to a design, or when there are changes to the steel products to be fabricated for that particular project.
They also ensure continuity of supply, whether a particular steel product is needed in large or small quantities, thereby eliminating any supply risk to customers.
Purchasing steel has changed radically in recent times and ParkerSteel says steelwork contractors are looking for online services.
“Our website allows customers to fully manage their account and orders online – in addition to placing orders for any of our product range, they have access to material certification and vehicle tracking of their orders,” says ParkerSteel Commercial Director Dylan Alexander.
Stockholders’ service does not end with the supply of steel, as the role of the stockholder in processing steel has grown substantially in recent years.
Some have invested in the latest sawing, shotblasting and priming equipment. Some stockholders are also expanding their services by investing in state-of-the-art equipment such as laser cutting machines.
“Stockholders benefit from being able to use their higher demand and rapid turnover to reduce the possession cost of steel. And because they are processing large volumes of steel, the capital cost of the CNC processing equipment used to supply accurately manufactured materials becomes more financially effective,” explains AJN Steelstock Sales Executive Phil Cleaver.
Stockholders also need to be reactive and be ready for changes in demand or trends that may affect the sector.
National Tube Stockholders Commercial Director Jonathan Sochart agrees and says,” There is a general trend from structural designers and engineers to move towards stronger lighter steels as they push the design envelope and current steel capabilities. In due course this may change the mix of products and grades required by the sector.”
Barrett Steel Limited
AJN Steelstock Ltd,
National Tube Stockholders and Cleveland Steel & Tubes,