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Personal Touch Still Matters

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With supply of steel in better balance, satisfying customers remains a top priority of North American producers. 

For steelmakers, the personal touch leads to customer satisfaction.

While advances in technology have enabled steelmakers to achieve great strides in efficiency and product quality, it’s the “personal touch” which differentiates Best in Class customer satisfaction mills from the rest.  Customers use terms such as “partners,” “great relationships” and “like family” to describe the mills at the top of the heap in overall customer satisfaction.

So who is best at delivering this personal touch? Once again, the Jacobson Survey has the answer. 

Each year, Jacobson & Associates conducts a running survey, ending Sept. 30, of service centers and end users about how their steel suppliers are performing. Steel customers are asked to weigh in on their mill providers on matters such as quality, service, price, on-time delivery, inside sales, outside sales and e-commerce. For two-plus decades, those results have been presented in the pages of Metal Center News. 

In the all-important category of customer satisfaction in this year’s survey, five different steelmakers in six different product categories took home top honors. They are North Star BlueScope among sheet producers, EVRAZ Portland among plate makers, Nucor Sedalia in bar/structural, SDI Engineered Bar for SBQ, Nucor Yamato in beams and Searing Industries among tube makers. 

The responses varied a little when broken down by consumer type. In the sheet category, Nucor Crawfordsville was tops in customer satisfaction among end-use customers while Nucor Decatur took the top spot from service center respondents.
Within bar/structural, Nucor Sedalia was No. 1 among end users while CMC Tennessee topped the service center field. For beam producers, Nucor Yamato was best among end users and fellow Nucor company Berkeley was tops among service centers. 

SDI Engineered Bar was first among end users and Alton Steel was ranked best by service centers. In tube, Atlas Tube got the highest scores from end users and Searing topped the service center list. 
The only company to sweep both surveys was EVRAZ Portland among plate producers. 

For those companies who haven’t reached the top yet on the satisfaction scale, the climb starts with improvement. The survey also records who is moving upward on this segment. Here, Algoma was tops in sheet, CMC Tennessee was first in bar/structural, Nucor Hertford was No. 1 in plate, Gerdau Cartersville led the way in beams, Gerdau Special – Monroe was first in SBQ and Bull Moose Tube was the most improved tube supplier. 

For the producers themselves, the final category might be the most important, customer loyalty. There’s nothing any supplier likes better than a faithful customer. 

In this category, ArcelorMittal Dofasco led the way in sheet, Nucor Florida was tops in bar/structural, Nucor Longview was No. 1 in plate, Gerdau Cartersville was first in beam, Gerdau Special – Fort Smith led the way in SBQ and Searing Industries was again atop the tube producers survey.

Read on for the complete results of this year’s survey, as well as a few candid remarks from steel customers on just what made the best the best.

Click here to download charts.

The Jacobson Survey has been measuring steel customer satisfaction for the past 30 years.
John Jacobson may be reached at (847) 735-7250 or via e-mail at

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