Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK), one of the world's largest steel producers and a leading Russian metals company, has confirmed its status as the largest supplier in Russia of rolled metal for the production of pipes.

At the end of 2018, the Russian steel giant shipped 3.3Mt of hot-rolled steel to the Russian market, of which more than half was delivered to companies in the pipe industry.

MMK's Head of Sales to Pipe Companies Alexander Kadoshnikov, MMK's head of sales to pipe companies is the man behind the statement and he made his comment at the 9th All-Russia Conference Steel Pipes: Production and Regional Sales held in Rostov.

According to Kadoshnikov, the pipe industry is one of the key segments of MMK's presence in the domestic market, accounting for more than a quarter of all the plant's Russian sales. He said that MMK firmly holds the position of Russia's largest supplier of rolled metal for the production of welded pipes. Last year, the sompany shipped a total of 3.3Mt of hot rolled steel to the Russian market, about 56% of which went to pipe manufacturers. In 2017, the supply of hot-rolled steel to the market amounted to 3.2Mt, compared with 3.1 million tonnes, the previous year.

MMK manufactures pipe products and has produced round, galvanised and shaped tubes since 2017. The volumes of shipments of MMK’s own pipe products to the domestic market in 2018 amounted to 60kt, including 11kt of galvanised pipes. In 2019, the volume of shipments of pipe products to the Russian market is planned to remain at 2018 levels.

Kadoshnikov has noted that in a highly competitive market, the most promising marketing strategy is to find and consolidate market niches. MMK says it will continue to work on developing new products and improving the quality of existing products. Over the past year, the company has mastered the production of new types of products from steels of different strength grades, as well as expanding the numbers of sizes and brands of product. In 2018, MMK developed and mastered the technology for the production of sheet metal from grade 0H9 cryogenic steel, which is used in projects for cryogenic equipment and in the construction of facilities for transportation, use and storage of compressed and liquefied natural gas (LNG). In 2019, there are plans to expand the size and range of rolled products made from cryogenic steel.

MMK wants to enhance it's presence in the pipe products market by maintaining the same quality and improving customer services. From 1 April this year, MMK put into operation an automated system for operational and production scheduling, providing customers with the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive check of orders for feasibility at the time of registration and automatically search for 'travel companions' to optimally aggregate light-tonnage orders. It allows customers to see the planned date of shipment of finished products, monitor the execution of each order by redistribution and informs customers about the current status of their order.

The company has introduced a technical support office for questions about the quality of rolled metal products and technical issues, working on the principle of having 'one window', using a single centre for complaints and technical support. The most up-to-date information resources are widely used in the office, the progress of claims can be tracked by the client in real time and can also be tracked with the help of a specially designed mobile application, MMK claims.

Work to improve overall efficiency, increased competencies in the production of niche products and the development of customer orientation allow MMK to retain and strengthen its market position, the company claims.