Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal
Executive Vice President of European Wind and Solar, Statkraft
During lockdown, research shows that 80% UK manufacturers adopted new ways of working. It’s true that pandemic is likely to accelerate the digital transformation of a notoriously traditional industry.
UK platform SteelScout is trying to bring price transparency to metal procurement. While we’re all accustomed to using price comparison websites and online retailers such as Amazon, manufacturers looking to purchase metal have no such visibility.
The SteelScout platform leverages a network of UK suppliers to give customers better transparency and value for money and has already started challenging traditional behaviours. As the general use of digital platforms increased during the lockdown, SteelScout has also seen a significant uptake in usage in recent months.
MD Matt Yeates has worked in supply-chain leadership for the past 15 years and believes that digital commerce is the future in B2B: “Being a key part of this change is why I took on the role at SteelScout,” he says.
“The pandemic has been disruptive,” Yeates says, “but it has also accelerated some preexisting trends. Even the least tech-savvy among us have used digital tools to stay in touch or buy essentials. In the same way, manufacturers are reconsidering how they source their metal, which is why we saw an uptake in the use of our platform during lockdown. Old habits have been broken and many will never return. Over the next year, our priority remains to build on this and reaffirm buyers’ confidence with digital. This will be important as the manufacturing industry begins its recovery. We can expect a shift in supply-chain designs to more flexible and resilient alternatives. We can also expect duality as a key consideration: the sourcing products from more than one supplier.”