A way forward, together

It seems that the steel industry just can’t find momentum. The SAISC in conjunction with its membership decided to arrange an industry mobilization meeting in May this year. We have all been working on a number of initiatives with our members, other associations and government departments but we have so far been unable to translate our efforts into positive growth across the sector.

It is now more important than ever for member companies to get involved at the CEO level to ensure that critical issues are brought to the attention of all stakeholders.There has been large scale restructuring across the sector with significant job losses being reported by almost all members. Unfortunately it will take time for initiatives and policy certainty to translate into GDP growth.

What do we do in the interim?

We all know that our industry is a can do industry. We are self-reliant and we know we have to reinvent and regrow the industry.

We have identified a number of priorities and will be launching a CEO’s forum going forward to drive some of the initiatives forward together with other associations and stakeholder.

We would like to encourage our members to contribute to the conversation, particularly with respect to the urgent priorities that need to be attended to. I have highlighted a few below but there are many more. The idea is for each and every association to work together and share initiatives to address these critical challenges.

  • Low demand and a significant drop in the size of the market.
  • Pressure on margins, inventory, cost cutting. Industry is caught in a downsizing loop.

(What can we do that is not commercially sensitive and steers clear of competition concerns?

  • Overcapacity across the industry.

(Discussions around rationalizing parts of the industry are high level and would require competition commission engagement.)

  • Industry relationships and collective action. “The Steel Supply Chain”
  • Government Policy including procurement and BBBEE
  • Access to new investments
  • Export competitiveness

SAISC Fabricator issues need some special attention and include lack of Payment, Contractual and measurement issues and availability of steel, steel sections and competitiveness

It is still my view that competitiveness needs to form part of our relentless focus to rebuild our steel industry. It is the only certainty we have that countries and companies that invest in innovation, people and skills will survive and grow.

With the above in mind what does the SAISC do and what should it do to keep the industry moving in the right direction? Where do you think we should focus?