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The 2014 Australian Steel Institute Conference

The 2014 Australian Steel Institute Conference

The Australian Steel Institute held their annual conference in September. The ASI conference gave some insight into how the industry is performing overall as well as how customer relationships will help the industry to flourish.

Here is a quick summary on what guest speakers were saying:

The steel industry is currently under a lot of pressure with steel consumption at a record low due to overseas competition. Although the industry is looking a little worse for wear, there seems to be some positive news on the other side. The construction outlook is improving with an upturn said to be 6-9 months away.

Arrium Steel’s Chief Executive Steve Hamer, was one of the guest speakers at the conference. He said that “80 percent of steel revenue is driven by construction.”

Mining production is increasing as well as engineering construction, this is said to be driven by government spending. Although the industry is doing it tough they are still working harder than ever.

Engaging with the customer was also an important point made at the conference. Dan Gregory from The ABCs TV show the Gruen Transfer, suggest some ways in which businesses can engage with their customers and ultimately increase growth.



Dan Gregory said that being innovative is the best way to engage with customers and it will revolutionise the way you interact with them.

He suggests that creating a compelling identity will drive innovation and in terms of understanding your customers it is best to align with their values which will help you to understand their needs.

Building the right rapport with a customer will ultimately increase revenue for the industry. In terms of the financial outlook for the industry, Mark Vassella, CEO from Bluescope spoke on how the financial position of the industry is improving.

He said that although the industry was suffering from tough conditions he has seen a turnaround from last financial year.

There were a few investments that proved to be beneficial to the industry. The Fielders and Orrcon acquisition and the Onesteel Sheet and coil acquisition are just some of the investments that have helped pick up the industry financially.

Mr Vassella also spoke of the industries that have improved as well as ones that were down for the year.

  • Nonresidential construction was up from last year
  • Manufacturing was slightly up from a low of -15%
  • Engineering construction was down from last year.

Mr Vassella said in order to be a successful manufacturer in Australia you need three things.

“Being a competitive and successful manufacturer in Australia is possible however it does rest on three legs being in place:

  • Having a ‘match-fit’ business
  • Having supportive Government policy
  • Managing innovation: products, processes and changing behaviours.