SJF's Material Handling Blog
Vance Haugen’s dream of being featured on the cover to Modern Materials Handling finally came true last month. Well sort-a!
Vance stopped by their booth during ProMat this year and the gang there did this mock up conveyor for him to take home and put in his office. While it’s not exactly the April issue, everyone here thinks you look great on the cover Vance.
Courtesty of Dorner Mfg. Corp. | www.dornerconveyors.com
Comments provided courtesy of SteelOrbis
The Chicago Shredded Scrap finally posted down $20/ton from the prior month at $388/ton ending a long month of uncertainty and severe shifts in overall market sentiment. At one point in the last month, it looked as if scrap would “fall off the cliff” as mills were buying virtually nothing and demand in the market was non-existent. Then without notice, in the last week, the market reversed course stabilized and in several areas and grades even improved to reach where it finally settled. Much like the month prior, while there was not much demand for scrap, there also was no much supply due to the frigid winter causing collection problems.
Now that petitioners were successful in levying a duty, watch for import prices to increase dramatically. The anticipated surge of import to “beat” the April 18th deadline did not appear as dramatic as originally anticipated as few volumes being recently booked. Lagging sales in the last 6 weeks with the season and weather coupled with pricing that offers no new advantages have soured most big buyers appetites and nothing has been concluded.
Although US Steel’s year of seemingly never-ending layoff notices isn’t news within the US steel industry, the trend has apparently caught the notice of mainstream news. In an editorial earlier this month, the Washington Post argued that US Steel’s downsizing is a direct result of the Chinese steel industry.
Again, blaming China for all the US industry’s woes isn’t news, but reporters with little experience in the industry who rely on corporate press releases and corporation-friendly news sources (such as the Wall Street Journal, which was referenced in the Post’s article) to make sweeping generalizations should be.
The most obvious argument against the assumption that Chinese imports are the primary reason for US Steel’s “pink slip spree” is to look around at other major US steel producers. Nucor, AK Steel and Steel Dynamics Inc. have not dominated the headlines with layoffs this year. Then again, with a few exceptions, Nucor, AK Steel and Steel Dynamics Inc. have reported generally positive quarterly results in the last few years, while US Steel has reported net losses nearly every time.
Miserable quarterly and yearly results were the impetus for the company’s Carnegie Way strategy announced two years ago, which seeks to streamline operations to become the most efficient US steelmaker, if not the largest. And part of this streamlining, naturally, takes the form of mass layoffs—the most recent, this week, includes over 2,000 employees at its Granite City facility.
That’s not to say that the global market has not been a factor—US Steel has idled several pipe and tubular plants this quarter after plunging oil prices decimated pipe demand in the US, along with competitive imports of OCTG and line pipe from Korea and other sources other than China. As such, blaming China exclusively is almost as short-sighted as the Post’s proposed resolution to the problem: petition the US government for a dumping investigation, which US steel producers have already been doing for years.
US Steel’s layoff notices might sound lamentable, but the reality is that the company is doing exactly what it meant to do when it announced its Carnegie Way initiative in 2013. It’s unfortunate for the workers of course, but they might be able to do more than the Post’s directive to “figure out something else.” Namely, applying at one of the many US steel producers who aren’t purposely downsizing.
SJF Material Handling of Winsted, MN has been named to Minnesota Business Magazines ” 100 Best Companies To Work For ” list for 2015. This marks the 3rd consecutive year SJF has been named to the list.
The “100 Best” were selected by an independent research firm employing various research techniques — including an anonymous online questionnaire filled out by the employees of each company — to determine which companies in Minnesota excel in the areas of work environment, employee benefits, and overall employee happiness.
The Minnesota Business team is pleased to share the 2015 list here. http://www.minnesotabusiness.com/2015-100-best-companies-work-awards
Posted on December 15, 2014 by and at SteelOrbis.com
Scrap numbers were posted this week for December. No change from November was observed in shredded scrap for the Chicago index. Most other regional markets showed the same trend while a few reported slight increases from November to the tune of $5-$10/ton. This is not surprising as collections of scrap become difficult in the winter months causing a reduced supply. More importantly this shows a short-term bottom in a market that had been falling for the last 90 days. Most predict that domestic scrap will rebound in the coming months only slightly. Likewise on the global front, scrap has seemed to have found a bottom in other markets as well with Turkey reporting increased purchase prices on their scrap in the first 2 weeks of December.
The rebar market is seeing seasonal slow-downs in most areas of the country. With the holiday’s quickly approaching, existing projects are finishing up while new ones seem to be being held until the new year. Rebar Users report strong sales for 2014 and solid back-logs for the coming year. Domestic mills continue to cling to current pricing riding those strong back-log predictions for the coming year in the face of growing downward pressure on price. The substantial reduction in their raw material costs coupled with a soft global rebar and commodity market are causing buyers to really question their flat pricing over the 4th quarter. As long as mills can remain full – expect the relatively bullish position on pricing to remain.
On the import side, numbers seem to have leveled off in the recent weeks with a few Turkish producers actually announcing increases for this week in the export offers. Turkey is reporting increased raw material costs and as such are trying to raise prices for both export and local markets. Even such, buyers remain leery this week heading into the holiday hoping to defer any major purchasing decisions until after the holiday season.
Soul Flower was founded in 1999 by Mike and Peggy as a way to promote a bohemian, eco-friendly, and peaceful lifestyle. Our little shop on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota was a gathering place for college students and locals looking for ‘cool threads for kind heads’. Since those days, Soul Flower has made a few changes… they no longer have a retail store, but have expanded with a digital catalog, an online retail shop, a wholesale catalog, and a screen printing team. One thing that hasn’t changed is our dedication to offering our customers thoughtful, eco-friendly clothing styles at an affordable price – and of course the best customer service anywhere!
In 2014, Soul Flower contacted Eric Moen at SJF to assist in a new addition to their expanding warehouse, and he was happy to oblige. Eric can be reached at email@example.com or directly at 320 485 4963.