When you think of a steel mill, crucibles of glowing molten metal, giant molds and rollers probably come to mind, not complex financial analysis.
But like every other industry nowadays, steel mills – especially ones that specialize in scrap metal recycling – have to keep reviewing their material and production costs and the ever-changing demand for their products, so that they can perform efficiently in a competitive global market.
That was the case for North Star BlueScope Steel in Delta, Ohio, which produces hot-rolled steel coils, mostly for the automotive and construction industries. Founded in 1997, the company is the largest scrap steel recycler in Ohio, processing nearly 1.5 million tons of metal a year.
To operate profitably, North Star BlueScope examines and analyzes its costs and workflow every month, pulling in data from all over the company, plus external market research. But it was hampered by slow and inefficient technology, centered on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets so large and unwieldy, they took up to 10 minutes just to open.
Comparing costs for, say, the period of January through May required North Star staffers to open five separate spreadsheets (one for each month) and combine the information manually.
Luckily, the company was already using OpenText™ iHub as a business intelligence platform for its ERP and asset management systems. It quickly realized iHub would be a much more efficient solution for its monthly costing analysis than the Excel-based manual process.
Making Insights Actionable
In fact, North Star BlueScope Steel ended up adopting the entire OpenText™ Analytics Suite, including OpenText™ Big Data Analytics (BDA), whose advanced approach to business intelligence lets it easily access, blend, explore, and analyze data.
The results were impressive.
The steel company can now analyze a much larger range of its data and get better insights to steer decision-making. For example, it can draw on up to five years’ worth of data in a single, big-picture report, or drill down to a cost-per-minute understanding of mill operations. Now it has a better idea of the grades and mixes of steel products most likely to generate higher profits, and the customers most likely to buy those products.
To learn more about how North Star BlueScope Steel is using OpenText Analytics to optimize its operations, plus its plans to embrace the Internet of Things by plugging data streams from its instruments about electricity consumption, material usage, steel prices, and even weather directly into Big Data Analytics, click here.