The supply and value chain currently used in the steel industry is highly inefficient. Most transactions are still conducted via phone, fax or email. A continuous, fully digitalised order and product management is basically non-existent. The flow of information is frequently interrupted causing for an overall lack in transparency. As a result actors on all levels of the supply chain are forced to stock steel which drastically increases processing costs.
At kloeckner.i we have made it our goal to eliminate such inefficiencies by creating a continuous digitalised flow of information between production and customers. We thereby speed up, simplify and optimise our customers processes.
Our thought processes and actions are always centred around our customers.
By gathering inspiration and adopting well-tried methods from successful start-ups we are able to develop digital solutions that are intuitive and customer friendly. To establish and implement successful digital solutions for customers and partners quickly, techniques such as Design Thinking, Agile Product Development and the Lean Start-up approach are applied.
The process starts with an on location analysis on how Kloeckner can generate more value for its customers. Building on this conversation we proceed to build simple prototypes, which incorporate the most imperative functions. The prototypes then enter a continuous cyclical process of testing to insure all customer demands are met from the very get go, and to further improve the tool: build, measure, learn.
kloeckner.i is developing useful digital products and services which aim to save our customers time and energy. To kick start the problem-solving process a Design Thinking approach is applied, during which we directly sit down with our customers on location to uncover specific problems hindering an efficient cooperation with Kloeckner. There and then we develop first potential solutions using a Rapid Prototyping approach.
All prototypes are tested for their effectiveness using scribbles or click dummies. Only tried and tested tools are realized and implemented.
Once a prototype is accepted by the customer, it is further developed and conceptually refined. The result is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or in other words a practically proven solution which covers basic functionalities. Using this process enables us to provide suppliers and customers with new digital tools quickly and to incorporate first hand insights from day one.
Once customer benefit, efficiency and earning potential of an MVP is granted, we start constructing a more comprehensive digital solution. Finally a companywide rollout together with a digital marketing campaign is realized.
Digital tools including our Online Shop, Contract Platform and Order Overview Tool are already being used internationally by customers with great success. Our tools have been integrated into service portals of numerous national subsidiaries, granting both customers and partners access to central data which may be used to generate profit. In terms of purchasing we have built a digital network composed of large distributors and renowned steel manufacturers. Kloeckner is taking active steps towards creating an industry platform, which will not only be shared with customers and suppliers but also with our direct competition.
Thanks to our digital competency Kloeckner is currently viewed as the most preferential partner in the steel industry for cross-branch online projects. This is how we became an exclusive partner to an industry 4.0 project for the high tech company Trumpf, which focusses on digitally optimising manufacturing machines in such a way that they are able to automatically order from Kloeckner. To achieve this and avoid stock shortages the Kloeckner & Co Contract Platform was integrated into the customers user interface.