It is about relevance – for today and tomorrow
Author: Martin Stillger
Let’s face it: times are tough for thyssenkrupp at the moment, there are many issues on the agenda. Martina Merz made this very clear in her speech at the Annual Press Conference on November 19, 2020. The materials business is also not exempt from the challenges of the times. And for me there is no question: Brutal facts must be accepted – but then faced with even more courageous decisions. And that is exactly what we do at Materials Services.
Because we prove time and again that we are a partner our customers rely on. When the first hard Covid-19 wave brought many supply chains to their knees, we were able to supply our customers reliably. Even under the most difficult conditions. Thanks to our size and our robust multisourcing strategy. It is also for this reason we remain an integral part of thyssenkrupp.
More than Steel, More than Distribution
Granted: Until now we have been a "silent" segment of thyssenkrupp. That is why many outside the Group do not know what exactly we are doing. In summary, it often says: This is the steel distribution business of thyssenkrupp. The fact is: We offer and have been doing much more for a long time. We are the biggest materials distributor and service provider in the Western World. We not only sell raw materials and materials far beyond classic flat steel products. We also manage the highly complex supply chains of many of our customers.
Materials Services – Involved (almost) Everywhere
In everyday life, almost all of us come into contact with materials that have been provided by Materials Services without knowing it. Be it processed in some way or managed through demanding supply chains. Be it in the car, on a plane or currently when shopping at the supermarket checkout, where our colleagues from thyssenkrupp Plastics delivered the new plastic dividers, including cutting and installation, all in a flash.
We have around 250,000 customers worldwide. They come from a wide range of industries. Customers who rely on stable access to 150,000 products and services. Digitally, cross-channel and 24/7. Already years ago, we started building an omni-channel architecture for our customers, digitalized our complete product range and consolidated it in the world's largest virtual materials warehouse. This is made possible by alfred, our self-developed AI solution, which smartly supports the coordination and control of more than 3.5 million square meters of storage space in 271 operational locations worldwide.
We have our finger on the pulse of our customers when it comes to our range of products and services and our reliability. This is confirmed not only by the approximately 14 million order items we receive each year, but also by our very high net promoter scores compared to the rest of the industry. Another proof point certainly is, that already today many of our customers integrate us deeply into their value chain. We identify their pain points, discover new potential – and thus work on solutions that are of real relevance. For our customers and for us. Materials Services stands on a strong foundation.
More Service for (even) More Relevance
We have a clear plan for the future: we not only want to continue to be the best materials seller, but also to become the best materials supplier. We call this strategy "Materials as a Service". We develop relevant service solutions for our customers which make us largely independent of fluctuating material prices and volatile markets.
We are moving away from pure distribution of physical assets and on towards digital supply chain solutions. As the largest materials distributor in the Western World, we have a decisive competitive advantage: With our own highly complex supply chain, we have learned enormously over the years, optimized further and digitalized. This knowledge is unique in the industry. And it is precisely this knowledge that is highly relevant to our customers, who want to concentrate on their core business. Their top priorities are flexibility and security. And this is what we provide at Materials Services: they will get what they need exactly when they need it. We make service our new material.
We have an exciting journey ahead of us. There is no question that we will have to overcome many obstacles. But we will certainly turn even more opportunities into relevant solutions and forward-looking businesses. And from now on we will be a little louder. You will hear from us.