Roland Bastian (ArcelorMittal): An ever-breathing industry
Roland Bastian, Head of Country Luxembourg, says understanding and catering to customers’ expectations is the basis to constantly provide high quality products and shares how ArcelorMittal’s activity keeps renewing this ancient yet crucial industry.
Can you briefly present ArcelorMittal’s activity today?
ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18 countries. Our philosophy consists in producing safe and sustainable steel. ArcelorMittal is also the world’s five largest producers of iron ore and metallurgical coal. In 2016, our firm had revenues of $56.8 billion. Our worldwide headquarters are located in Luxembourg. In Differdange and Belval we produce top long products like beams and steel sheet piles that provide innovative solutions to the modern construction industry. In Dudelange ArcelorMittal produces high added value flat steel sheets, which deliver lightweight solutions for the automotive industry. Finally, ArcelorMittal Bissen produces different types of wire for fencing and agriculture, for the industry, and for reinforced concrete.
« Steel is the fabric of life. »
How does a firm like yours adapts to the current market?
Proactivity to anticipate customers’ expectations is key. And for this, innovation is the best way to stand one step ahead our competitors. The idea here is to permanently propose and provide our customers with steel solutions that meet their needs: lighter steel for automotive and for construction for instance. Flexibility is another asset. That is why innovative solutions must be deployed not only on our product portfolio but on our processes as well. We are focused on how we can improve the efficiency and liability of our facilities to offer a top-class customer service. At last, integrating as much as we can our stakeholder’s expectations in our strategy is of great importance. The whole steel industry has to face a very complex environment, especially in Europe: we have to deal with unfair trade practices from non-European steelmakers that put a high pressure on steel prices, with climate change issues resulting in strong industrial constraints. If we do not integrate these exogenous factors in the way we operate we will not survive. Here we need the support of Public Authorities to defend our industry and obtain a global level playing field.
What developments do you identify in the steel sector?
As we often say at ArcelorMittal, “steel is the fabric of life”. This means that steel is everywhere, at the heart of the modern world from railways to cars and washing machines! Steel is an environmental friendly material -100% recyclable. And as it always keeps its versatility, we strongly thing that steel has a great future! Thanks to innovation, we propose today steel grades that did not exist 10 years ago - lighter but more resistant at the same time. Now, when you consider the steelmaking process and the improvement done in the way we produce this steel, you may say that steel remains a material of choice for the next decades.