By Kevin Meyer
I know a few folks over at steelmaker ThyssenKrupp and they've often told me of their continuous improvement efforts. Apparently they do some things right.
Nearly four years ago I told you how the company was going to build a new steel processing facility in Alabama (yes, the same Alabama that's in the United States) while other U.S. steelmakers like Nucor were busy whining about China and regulations and costs.
The whining and moaning went nowhere, and ThyssenKrupp built their $3.7 billion 2,700 worker factory that went online last month. In the midst of a business downturn no less, and pretty much on schedule. That takes guts – and leadership.
Pretty obvious which expenditure of energy yielded the most results. In a multi-billion dollar world of manufacturing rock paper scissors, a focus on execution and creating value beats whining and moaning any day.
What's really intriguing is that in the face of so-called regulatory, cost, and price barriers, ThyssenKrupp built a facility that is highly energy-intensive, processing raw materials in the U.S. instead of in lower-cost Brazil where they were rough processed. They understand that being close to the customer creates value.
Hats off and welcome to Alabama!