Steel Times International Issue
February 2021 (Digital Issue)
It will soon be one year since COVID-19 graced the western world with its presence. As I write this Leader (in mid-February) I am aware that this time last year none of us, bar the residents of Wuhan, had any idea of ‘lockdown’. Up until last March, relying upon Zoom for meetings and conferences, and online ordering for everything from books to frying pans, were alien concepts. I used to enjoy shopping, wandering around department stores, perusing the shelves of a high street bookstore, drinking cappuccino and eating cake in a café and then paying a small fortune for a multi-storey car park. Oh, the good old days!
Less than 12 months on, the world has acclimatised itself to new technology. It’s almost as if we have started to catch up with the societies portrayed in Philip K Dick novels.
Commuting is a thing of the past for most of us. My journey to work involves a short walk downstairs and a brief hop across the living room into the ‘sun lounge’, which, at this time of year, isn’t very sunny. Twice a week I have virtual meetings at 0815hrs and then I rely upon email and the internet to do my job. I nip out for a brief lunch time walk and possibly a ride on the bike around 1630hrs. After that, I settle down to watch movies on Amazon Prime, the online company behind most of my household purchases. The point here is simple: new technologies have come of age over the past year and it looks as if they’re here to stay. People are already talking about how the workplace has changed beyond all recognition and if you read this month’s Cover Story, which examines e-procurement in the steel industry, then, as Matt Yeates, managing director of Steel Scout, points out, it’s about time that the metals industry got with the programme. Why? Because metal is a vital part of the supply chain. In fact, as other sectors – notably the construction and manufacturing industries – get their digital acts together, those involved in metal procurement, argues Matt, need to ‘up the pace of adoption’ so that they don’t become disconnected from the broader supply chain. To read the full article, turn to page 30 of this digital edition of Steel Times International. We now produce 12 issues of the magazine.
2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge, Editor.
4 News round-up – Five pages of the latest global steel news.
11 Innovations – Eleven colourful pages of the latest new products and global contracts stories.
28 Amazing facts and figures – Crazy steel facts that are worth remembering for your next pub quiz!
30 Digitalisation – Time to digitalise procurement?
34 Infrastructure – Building bridges with Dillinger.
41 Steelmaking – Reducing Al consumption.
46 Special steels – Corrosion-resistant high-strength steels.
48 History – Trade Union banners depicting UK steelworks.