Companies in the industry distribute steel and other primary metals and metal products and may also provide sawing, shearing, bending, leveling, cleaning, or edging services. Major companies include Reliance Steel & Aluminum and Ryerson (US), IMS International Metal Service (France), Klöckner (Germany), and Russel Metals and Samuel, Son & Co. (Canada), and Stemcor Holdings (UK), as well as the distribution arms of integrated manufacturers such as ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg) and ThyssenKrupp (Germany).
The global steel service center industry tends to be dominated by countries with significant levels of primary metals production, which include China, Japan, and the US.
The US metals distribution industry includes about 7,500 companies with combined annual revenue of about $215 billion. The industry includes metals service centers and companies that distribute metals other than steel, but not companies that distribute precious metals or metal ores.
The health of the manufacturing and construction industries drives demand for steel. A distributor's sales volume determines profitability because many costs are fixed. Large distributors benefit from economies of scale in purchasing, processing, and distribution. Small companies can compete by specializing in particular products or offering special processing services. The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 50% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Steel products are made from carbon or alloy, stainless, or specialty steels, and come in the form of sheets, plates, bars, rods, tubes, and structural items like rails and I-beams.
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