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Taking the lead strategy

SSAB’s “Taking the Lead!” strategy, first introduced in 2012, continues to drive the strategic decisions and actions of the company. The strategy has been updated for the coming years with renewed targets and areas of focus to align with the company’s future goals and growth potential in each market. SSAB’s vision – a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world – paves the way forward.


SSAB’s strategy centers around two dimensions:

  1.  Where SSAB is heading – core business aspirations
    These three elements represent the core business goals for us to be an industry leader in our focus areas in home markets, high-strength steels and value-added services. 
  2. What makes SSAB stand out – distinguishing capabilities
    These elements outline the capabilities we need to focus on in order to differentiate from the competition.

SSAB's strategy graph in English

 

Leading home-market positions

The Nordic and North American home markets remain the foundation for SSAB’s business. SSAB aims to strengthen our home market positions in the coming years.

Nordic region

Priority initiatives for SSAB in the Nordic region:

Developing the multi-channel sales strategy

SSAB will further secure our Nordic home-market leadership by developing all channels to market from the steel mills. These include SSAB’s own channels, including the metal distribution company Tibnor, the steel construction company Ruukki Construction, and SSAB’s downstream tube business, as well as direct customers and external steel distributors with which the company has long-term agreements.

Improving the product mix toward premium products

SSAB aims to strengthen our position both in the Nordic region and in nearby markets by gradually improving our product mix, shifting sales focus to more profitable products and those in which SSAB has special capabilities, while reducing the tail of less profitable volumes.

Americas

Initiatives for maintaining plate market leadership in the Americas:

Increasing presence in less penetrated geographic areas and segments 

After having debottlenecked the mills and increased overall plate-making capacity, SSAB is geared up to grow in coming years with increased industrial activity. Starting from a leading cost position, and offering superior customer service and lead times, SSAB will target geographic segments with unmet needs in North and Central America, as well as engage with new customer segments like those impacted by new infrastructure spending.

Developing the sales mix towards new premium offerings 

In standard plate, SSAB will shift the sales focus toward premium products with higher profitability, for instance through new products and quality standards enabled by recently-installed soft reduction technology.

Utilizing Nordic imports as a complement to existing product offerings

The Nordic strip and plate mills complement the US mills in product grades and formats. With an improving domestic market, SSAB can increase sales in the North American market, either directly toward end customers or by utilizing cut-to-length facilities.

Global leadership in high-strength steels

SSAB aims for global leadership in Quenched & Tempered Steels (Q&T) and in targeted Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS) segments. With leading brands, a unique product offering, expertise and close collaboration with customers in developing new steel applications, SSAB is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in high-strength steels. The company is well invested in production assets.

Special Steels
Market development priorities for achieving growth:

Upgrading customers and markets to high-strength steels 

SSAB aims for global leadership and works directly with end customers globally to adopt high-strength steels in their designs. SSAB can accelerate adoption rates by leveraging best practices and case examples from one region to another. Structured sales training and targeted marketing are key elements for success. Fundamental trends in energy efficiency, lightweighting and safety will continue to boost growth of special steels coming years.

Continued innovation and R&D in products and applications

SSAB has historically brought to market innovations in customer applications, products and steel making processes. Research and development continues to be a high priority for SSAB going forward.

Increasing presence and penetration in new markets

SSAB will focus on emerging markets, where the penetration of high-strength steels is still low and growth potential is high as customers upgrade their steel usage from standard to high-strength steels. These markets include Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.

Growing both strategic high-end products and mid-market offerings 

SSAB aims to grow the very high-end products, where SSAB is well positioned with a number of unique offerings in the market. Equally important is growing more common mid-market offerings. The latter can be facilitated by use of multiple brands and partner channels.

  

Automotive AHSS steels
Continue to develop as a leader in a growing segment:

Product and market development

SSAB serves the world’s leading automotive companies. SSAB will grow with new and existing customers as new markets open up and automotive fleets modernize. Short term, SSAB will expand the product range by developing new products based on existing capabilities. Longer term, SSAB is active in the development of next-generation automotive steels. 

Grow in existing and new applications

SSAB has a leading position in specific safety details related to the automotive sector. This market is expected to grow in the coming years due to continuing trends in safety standards, and in lightweighting, to meet fuel efficiency standards. In addition, SSAB aims to expand sales in new applications outside existing focus areas. 

 

Leading value-added services

Value-added services represent an important area for SSAB’s long-term development, as they are an additional way the company can stand out in the competitive steel markets. Value-added services act as additional components to the strategic ambitions outlined above, supporting and enhancing SSAB’s activities in our home markets and high-strength steel initiatives.

Services
Develop a new business leg of SSAB

Expanding Wear Services and the Hardox Wearparts network

SSAB Services sells Hardox-branded wear plate to the Hardox Wearparts Network, which comprises around 265 member companies globally. These centers provide replacement parts and services to end customers in mining, recycling, quarrying, cement and agriculture. SSAB aims to have at least 500 companies in the network by the end of 2018. 

Expanding SSAB Shape services in selected markets

SSAB holds similar ambitions for SSAB Shape, which offers steel-processing services for OEMs and their sub-suppliers. As well as representing a step forward for SSAB in our customers’ value chain, with potential for joint investments, this initiative also helps to enable the adoption of high-strength steels in selected emerging markets.

 

Distribution
Serve the fragmented market with short lead times

Growing stock sales globally

SSAB aims to grow our distribution services business. Unlike many of our competitors, SSAB operates our own global stock network and can serve the end-user market with short lead times. SSAB will grow the share of stock shipments as a way of increasing the value of steel shipments to our customers. 

Nordic distribution

SSAB’s fully-owned leading Nordic steel distributor, Tibnor, will expand its presence in all Nordic countries, expand the multi-metal offering, and lead the way in digitalization of the business.

 

 

Most flexible operations

TTo outperform peers and achieve industry-leading profitability in the coming years, SSAB will continue to focus on efficiency and flexible operations. 

Harvest completed cost savings programs
Following the 2014 combination of SSAB and Rautaruukki, a number of cost savings programs were launched. The combined effect will have reduced SSAB’s total cost level, compared to the time Rautaruukki was acquired, by SEK 3.0 billion on an annual basis, with full effect from 2017 onward. SSAB will harvest the effects of these programs in coming years. 

New continuous improvement ambitions
Going forward, SSAB will protect our leading cost positions in home markets by increasing our focus on continuous improvements. The aim is to achieve substantial productivity gains every year by involving all employees in improvement programs.

 

 

High-performing organization

TTo achieve its ambitious strategy targets, SSAB will further develop its high-performing organization. 

Be the world’s safest steel company
Fundamental safety work at all sites should result in SSAB becoming the world’s safest steel company in all parts of the company. SSAB already has a leading position in our US-based operations. 

Implement SSAB One as a management philosophy
SSAB is gradually implementing our management system SSAB One to secure focus on business operations, continuous improvements and realization of strategic targets. 

Strengthen performance culture and employee engagement
Employees and leaders at all levels will align their actions and behaviors to the strategic direction.

 

 

Superior customer experience

PPart of SSAB’s strategy is to go further than anyone else to offer customers a superior customer experience. 

Leading customer satisfaction surveys
SSAB strives for the highest standards on “the basics” in order to protect our position as the preferred supplier, measured through customer surveys. This includes, for instance, responsive sales processes, consistently high product quality, on time delivery reliability and more. 

Build true partnerships
To remain at the forefront, SSAB will continue to invest in technical support and joint innovation initiatives to help customers to get the best out of SSAB’s high-strength steels. Combined with leading brands and customer brand programs like “Hardox In My Body” and “My Inner Strenx,” SSAB can further strengthen customer partnerships.