The steel industry has long been a vital manufacturing cog in the United States. And there’s a strong case to be made that it’s what helped drive the U.S. in becoming a world economic powerhouse in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Essentially, steel production is what made life go in this part of the world for decades.
But while the U.S. steel industry has been going through a rollercoaster period with some politicized adversity as of late, there’s one Louisville, Kentucky-based company that prides itself on processing a steel product that still “makes life go.” And has been doing so in 1971.
Steel Technologies produces flat-rolled steel for customers in a variety of industries, including automotive, appliance, lawn and garden, office equipment, agricultural, machinery, and construction. The company operates 24 facilities throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada, processing more than 3.1 million tons of steel for more than 1,000 customers.
With that much steel to produce and that many customers to maintain, effective communication is key, especially given that the long-term customer relationships and partnerships Steel Technologies has developed over 40-plus years continue to be vital to business growth.
But its cumbersome EDI communications technology was getting in the way of its “makes life go” mantra. With an outdated B2B communications system that required various manual processes to monitor and troubleshoot errors, Steel Technologies entire supply chain process was more stop-and-wait than go.
“Every time we wanted to implement a new FTP connection, we had to modify the program to get it working,” Steel Technologies’ Senior Software Engineer Mike Hoben said. “It was taking two months to onboard a new trading partner because there was so much code to change. It was extremely difficult to manage, and we had no visibility into dropped communications.”
Hoben bluntly added the entire system was “driving him crazy.” That’s a problem for an EDI-reliant company that exchanges almost 2,000 invoices, inventory inquiries, advance ship notices, and order status reports each day.
Steel Technologies needed a proper long-term fix, and Hoben knew exactly where to turn.
“Cleo was the first communications software I searched for when I needed a new solution,” he said. “I used Cleo in the early 1990s when I first entered into the EDI arena, so I knew the product was proven.”
Steel Technologies modernized its critical data and EDI communications, a decision that immediately improved and simplified the company’s automation, data orchestration, file movement, trading partner setup, error handling, email notifications, and document tracking.
Steel Technologies can scale when needed on a single end-to-end platform, enabling the company to reliably meet customer SLAs and quickly process orders.
“Steel Technologies gained the EDI solution we’ve been wanting for a long time,” Hoben said. “We’re no longer in the dark on reporting and audit trail capabilities, and proactive alerts and notifications will help us better serve our customers.”
With its critical data movement and integration processes reined in, Steel Technologies could get back to doing what it does best: rolling out steel, meeting customer demands, and making life go.