Steel Industry Insight

Networking can make a great difference

What a difference a little networking can make.  The attitude of attendees going into the SteelOrbis & IREPAS Fall Conference this September was  overwhelmingly pessimistic, but after a few days, a few presentations, a few drinks and a few laughs, the sentiment changed drastically, and steel industry players left St. Petersburg with a smile on their face and hope in their hearts.

Certainly, the outlook is not rosy all over the globe.  There are still problem areas—the US and Europe to be specific—but the sense of dread permeating the media seems more and more to be overinflated, attention-grabbing hype.  Worldwide steel production is up.  Consumption is up.  Demand depends on the region, but year-on-year charts for most countries still point upward.  Yes, the recovery from 2008’s global crisis is frustratingly slow, but a little patience and a little confidence boost from others in the industry will carry us through to another era of prosperity.

This is why attending conferences is one of the most important things those in the steel industry can do right now.  Sure, traveling is costly and sometimes newly-formed relationships that seem rock solid can dissolve into unanswered e-mails and phone calls.  But overall, the opportunity to share actual experiences with people dealing with steel on a day to day basis—rather than basing forecasts on economic pundits in the news—can be quite an uplifting experience.  Sure enough, it will likely turn out that things aren’t as bad as they seem, and even in regions where the market isn’t as strong, fellow conference attendees can offer new ideas and strategies on how to not only survive, but grow in the years to come.

A few upcoming SteelOrbis events will provide all these opportunities and more, provided you take the initiative to attend.  On November 18, the annual Turkish Steel Markets Conference—which usually has upward of 500 attendees—will not only cover the state of steel in Turkey, but market developments and trends in the Middle East, Europe and CIS regions. In January, steel players attending the immense World of Concrete expo in Las Vegas will gather at our annual Rebar & Wire Rod Conference, which will feature such notable speakers as David Cheek, CEO of Keystone, David Hodory, Vice President of scrap giant DJJ and more.  Also in January, our Steel West Coast event will bring together key personnel from a wide spectrum of steel-related markets, such as producing, distributing, trading and logistics, featuring presentations by Bob Moffit of Heico Wire and Brad Decker of Coutinho & Ferrostaal among others.

Even if the recovery hasn’t been particularly kind to your own company, knowing that the worst is over and better days are ahead—insights spread around conferences as of late—is a valuable commodity.  You might not be able to write it off or list it as inventory, but it’s certainly an investment worthy of consideration.

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