A total of 60% of Kloeckner’s revenue to be digitally transacted by 2022 – that’s the ambitious goal set by Klöckner & Co’s visionary CEO, Gisbert Rühl, under whose direction the group is undergoing a progressive digital transformation.
Over the past two years, Kloeckner has gone through a rapid digital transformation, thanks to the introduction of the Online Shop in 2017, the implementation of the Contract Platform in 2018, as well as the launch of the Kloeckner Marketplace.
Such digital technologies have been relatively scarce in the steel industry until now, and steel is an industry that struggles with its antiquated image. At Kloeckner we are revolutionising how we interact with stakeholders so we can continue to meet and exceed their expectations.
From the launch of the online shop to the end of 2018, an impressive 20% of revenue has been transacted online, setting us well on the way to meet Klöckner & Co’s ambitious vision for the company.
We spoke to James Manaley, who joined Kloeckner Metals UK at the beginning of this transformational journey, to understand what’s next for Kloeckner. Read on below…
James, tell us a bit about your role.
I act as the interface between Kloeckner’s sales team and our customers. Having huge visibility of stakeholder needs and wants, a key part of my role involves understanding and interpreting these so I can action improvements to Kloeckner’s digital offering. Overall, it’s about understanding what would help our stakeholders to have a better experience. I’m then responsible for passing on their vital insights and ideas to kloeckner.i, our team of digital gurus based in Berlin, who bring the ideas to life.
I’m also responsible for onboarding merchants to the Kloeckner Marketplace, which involves educating them on the benefits of this functionality. Even once these providers and suppliers get on board, I remain their key point of contact to ensure they continue to benefit from our platform.
What are some of the benefits provided to merchants through the Kloeckner Marketplace?
One of the key benefits is that merchants have the opportunity to increase their customer base significantly. By joining the Kloeckner Marketplace, they gain exposure to our customers and European markets, and can sell their materials alongside thousands of complimentary products.
They can also take advantage of selling their products through a ready-made eCommerce website, meaning their transition to eCommerce is not only effortless, but also involves minimal set up costs.
Kloeckner’s digital offering has changed a lot over the past 18 months. How have these changes been received by stakeholders?
Overall, the transformation has been received extremely positively. Not only has our digitally transacted revenue spiked from absolutely nothing to 20% in just 18 months, we also get tens of thousands of visitors and active users to the platform.
Steel is an old industry, so of course there has been resistance in some instances. While we plan to move the industry forward, we are still committed to accommodating stakeholder needs – we do whatever we can to make the process work in the way it suits them. In some cases, that may involve educating them on how new digital processes could benefit their business, in other cases, it may be working within the parameters of their capabilities and resources. Either way, we’re confident that we’re providing solutions that meet their needs.
What’s next for Kloeckner?
The next big step for Kloeckner is the introduction of EDI, a streamlined eProcurement solution, which will be available to our customers this year. The technology communicates directly with the customer’s ERP system to enable greater efficiency and accuracy during the purchasing process.
We’re also planning to refresh the Online Shop to include greater personalisation when users log in, the capability to amend quotes online, and a search function driven from the Kloeckner system to allow users to review their order history. All of which enable greater speed and efficiency.
We will continue to introduce new features that provide our stakeholders with a more streamlined digital experience, so stay tuned by following us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for the latest news and updates.