Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

We continue to get positive feedback regarding the new SMU website. As with any new site as complicated as ours is there will be a few bugs and a learning curve to negotiate through in the early stages. We are working through those and believe we are offering a unique experience for those involved in the flat rolled steel industry.

We have had a number of new trial members register on the website over the past week or two. Our new trial members may actually have an advantage over our existing members as they do not have preconceived notions as to what is available within our website. We have stocked the site with data we feel is relevant to the industry and that we hope will be of interest to our members and non-members alike.

As I have discussed with our members in the past – one of the most exciting features from our perspective is the ability to interact with news and analysis on your schedule as opposed to waiting until it is fed to your inbox. The articles tend to begin to be posted to the front of the new website early on publishing days (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings) and generally the actual newsletter has been completed by 6 PM ET or earlier.

When news begins breaking on items which are important to the industry (such as price increase announcements or the sale of a steel mill) we have a number of options for our members. We can write an article and post it to the Home Page of the website. We can also post it on our blog or our private members only blog. We have not yet started using the member’s blog and will probably hold off doing so until we enter the New Year. But, if flat rolled steel price increase announcements happen this week as the rumor mill suggests – keep an eye on our Home Page. You may find it there first.

We are using the blog to publish various press releases and articles we think are of interest to our members but may not fit well within a particular issue of our newsletters. Don’t ignore our blog when going to the website.

Newsletters are plural for us these days as SMU has rolled out two new products with the launch of our new website. We have begun publishing a Monthly Newsletter which comes out early each month. In it we recap the important events and data adjustments from the prior month, we produce an analysis of pricing as well as forecasts for future prices, have interesting articles both new and from the prior month and we discuss the keys needing to be watched in the coming month.

We also now have a Premium Product which is an add-on to the Executive Level Newsletter. Premium members receive periodical Newsletter Supplements which consists of extra analysis and products which are being developed for those wanting or needing a deeper understanding of the flat rolled steel markets. This includes access to much of our survey data with historical data using interactive graphs and tables when possible. It also includes our imports by product, port and country and our Key Market Indicator analysis and forecast. Premium members will actually see more products being added to their portfolio in the coming weeks as we transition from bringing the website up to expanding it ever deeper and deeper.

We have many ideas for new proprietary products for each of our membership levels. We are working toward new and improved educational programs. These will include new workshops, e-learning modules, webinars and conferences. We also hope that our company will continue to be tapped as a resource for custom training programs for companies and organizations.

John Temples discussed our Mobile Website which we hope will be completely finished and bug-free in the coming days. We want our members – and the steel community at large – to have access to our website from your hand held smart phones, tablets, laptops and base computers. Steel Market Update – anytime, anywhere is our new moto.

There are reasons why we keep bugging those who have not yet logged into our new website for the first time. We want to make sure you are able to update your profile and change your password to one of your choosing. Second, we want you to spend some time getting acquainted with the website and what way you feel most comfortable interacting with our articles/newsletter. Third, we want to remind you that it is only a matter of time before we move to a more secure delivery system for the newsletters which will require you to log into the website in order to access our products. We hope that over time, we can wean you off force-feeding you news to a point where you will become liberated and free to read and interact with us on your terms and schedule.

If you have not yet logged into and you need a new user name and password to do so for the first time, please contact us at or by calling our office at: 800-432-3475 where Diana, John or Brett will be happy to assist you in not only logging into the site but also how to navigate through the site and where the basics are located (and how to use them).

I am currently in Phoenix, Arizona where I spoke to the HARDI members earlier today. I want to thank HARDI for allowing me the opportunity to speak to and learn from their membership. Our long and unique relationship is one of the differences between Steel Market Update and other publications. We come from an active steel participation background and we have not forgotten how or why we need to interact with those actively involved in the industry.

For those who are curious, I will be speaking to the Chicago Chapter of the AWMI on January 16th. I will also be attending the AHR Convention in New York City during the middle of January as well (can someone tell me why I am leaving Georgia to go to these two cities in January?).

Registration is open (on our new website or through our office) for those interested in attending our next Steel 101: Introduction to Steelmaking & Market Fundamentals workshop. The workshop will be held in the deep south in Mobile, Alabama on February 4 & 5, 2014. As we have done with past workshops a SMU steel training experience is not complete without a visit to an active steel mill. For this workshop we will be touring the plate and hot rolled producer: SSAB located just outside of Mobile.

We have a number of companies and organizations who have been impressed with our program and have sent multiple people to multiple programs.  Our workshops attract manufacturing companies, service centers, trading companies, steel mills, rail and trucking companies, toll processors, paint companies, equipment suppliers to the steel mills, iron ore and coal mining companies, ferrous scrap suppliers and organizations associated with the steel industry. We have had individuals who were on the first week on the job to presidents and CEO’s of companies. Our focus is on understanding the steelmaking process, how grades and special qualities are made and where problems can arise during the steelmaking and rolling process. We then complete the cycle as we discuss how steel is sold and what market forces can impact the industry. As with any Steel Market Update program our Steel 101 workshop encourages interaction between participants within the class as well as with the sponsor mill.

Please go to our website or contact our office for more information: (and you don’t have to log in to access this event) or contact us at: 800-432-3475.

If you would like to be one of the first companies to advertise on our website or newsletter you can request a media package at: or by contacting our office.

We appreciate our customers and we very much appreciate kind words when speaking about our product(s) to potential customers. Tell your friends about us and send them to the new website. We can always use more great customers just like you. Thank you again for your business as it is truly appreciated.

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