SteelBuy – How digitalization is revolutionizing materials trading
Digitalization has been part of our lives for a long time. At the click of a button, we buy products from all over the world or have groceries delivered to our homes. A change in customer needs also affects materials trading. thyssenkrupp has increased its online services in the UK through SteelBuy. Customers in the UK have been able to purchase steel coils, sheets and plates on the platform for the past six months.
Terry Sargeant, CEO of SteelBuy , launched the online marketplace in December 2022. For him it is much more than just a place to buy and sell materials. "At SteelBuy, we are not just providing an exciting new channel for our customers to buy and sell metals, we are selling a vision of the future of the industry. SteelBuy enables our customers to effortlessly digitalize their purchasing and sustainably modernize their business." He firmly believes that there is still a lot of unexplored potential in materials trading and distribution, through digitalization. The overriding aim of SteelBuy is to create real added value for customers and allow a seamless user experience. The platform was founded as a corporate venture at thyssenkrupp Materials Services and is now an independent company with thyssenkrupp AG as the sole investor.
SteelBuy – digitalization in materials trading
SteelBuy – digitalization in materials trading
"With SteelBuy, we've made it our goal to revolutionize materials trading," says Terry. "We want to change the industry from the ground up." Their mission is to transform the industry by challenging the status quo and breaking the “business-as-usual” mindset that has prevailed for a long time.
A major advantage of SteelBuy is that the platform ensures anonymity for all participants providing greater transparency and focus on what is important. "With SteelBuy buyers and sellers can concentrate on the aspects they are truly interested in, namely product quality, product availability, and price. And more importantly, the data of each deal is restricted," Terry explains.
SteelBuy is an intuitive digital platform, which makes it possible to complete deals in a matter of minutes instead of several hours, the expert explains. Companies can post their material on the platform with product specifications, test certificates and price per ton and can be found by potential buyers within seconds. This speed saves companies valuable time in the purchasing process. The integrated logistics and invoicing, as well as the intelligent matching technology, also have a positive impact on the industry, because: "Here, companies can not only find the desired material within a very short time but also purchase it at a fair price," explains Terry.
It is this simplicity and combination of innovative technology and industry expertise that makes SteelBuy so successful, according to Sargeant. "We're bringing new efficiencies to metals trading and distribution" says Terry.
The goal: The largest digital marketplace for materials trading
This digital transformation of materials trading is what drives Sargeant every day. As CEO of SteelBuy, he plays a critical role in further developing and establishing the platform. "My first priority is to set the overall direction and strategy for SteelBuy. I'm using my industry knowledge and experience, market trends and competitive analysis to develop a long-term vision for the company," Terry explains. "We have big plans and I won't stop until SteelBuy is the largest global online marketplace for the metals industry."
Building something from the ground up. That's what excited Terry Sargeant about SteelBuy from the start. "SteelBuy is the most exciting project I've been involved in during my career of 40 years," says the industry veteran, who even postponed his retirement to develop the platform. Being able to familiarize himself once again with the latest technology and build a team from scratch at his age – for Terry, this is both a privilege and a challenge.
Recruiting skilled workers, in particular, is not always easy, he says: "There's a skills shortage across the metals industry, and with companies adopting digital solutions, there's more and more demand for skilled workers." The SteelBuy team currently consists of 16 full-time employees and two freelancers and has seven vacancies advertised.
Digital solutions: The future of materials trading
Sargeant is convinced: To make materials trading more efficient and unleash its full potential, we need to change the way we work and think. "Technology is coming, and if we don't do it, someone else will. That's the challenge that gets me out of bed in the morning!" says Terry. What he's most excited about? "The reaction from customers when they realize how easy SteelBuy is to use and how much more effective it makes them."
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