We sat down with Peter Whiting the CEO of Kloeckner Metals UK to discuss his thoughts on company’s culture, digitalisation, Brexit, sustainability focus and so much more. Stay tuned as we will publish a series of Q&A articles in the upcoming weeks.
Q1. How vital has culture been to the growth of Kloeckner Metals UK
Back in January last year we worked with a group of around 30 people from across the business to agree a vision and mission for Kloeckner Metals UK:
Vision: To be your preferred partner delivering sustainable, innovative solutions
Mission: To get you the products and services you need, when you need them
Over the last year culture has been a key focus for Kloeckner; we have worked hard and focused on challenging and improving the process. We have concentrated on how people behave and work together to build a continuously improving business. Our strategy has focused on the importance of getting the right people in the right jobs, retaining them and enabling them to grow as individuals and as part of our team. This is an area that we will continue to be a focus in 2020.
Q2. What have been the key milestones in the last years for Kloeckner Metals UK?
The management workshop in January 2019 when we kicked off with our new vision, mission and operating principles and launched 18 strategic business projects that have created the foundation for future growth.
Acceptance by the team early in 2019 that our heavy focus on construction related products with high volumes and low margins was not serving the business well.
Continued investment in higher value-added services with the purchase of a state-of-the-art water jet machine for Blackburn at a cost of £350,000 and continued improvements in productivity on the LT14 tube laser installed in Dudley during 2018. Recently we have demonstrated that the LT14 can cut stainless steel product successfully which opens up a new line of services that we can offer.
Achievement of digital sales in excess of 30% of revenue in late 2019 having grown from zero digital sales in August 2017. During 2019 as a whole, sales through digital channels represented in excess of 25% of our total distribution business revenues.
Some of the successes on the business development side that have generated contract in the key sectors of nuclear waste management, defence, modular buildings and vertical farming to supplement our traditional spot-business.
Sale of the old, heavily constrained, London site to a property developer and the commitment from the Kloeckner & Co Supervisory Board to invest in excess of £20 million in a new state-of-the-art warehouse in a location that will give us enhanced access to the motorway network in the South East of England was a particularly rewarding end to the year.
Q3. How does Kloeckner Metals UK ensure an efficient Supply Chain?
Alongside access to cash funding and investment in digital transformation, supply chain management is one of the three key advantages of being part of the Kloeckner Group. Being part of Kloeckner enables us to “punch above our weight” when we are dealing with massive suppliers such as Arcelor Mittal and Tata. If we were an independent UK distributor, we would be a tiny player on the global stage; by combining our purchasing power with other companies in the Kloeckner family we obtain a voice in the global metals community that we would not otherwise have.
Q&A Vol. 2 will be published in the next week.