The right steel at the right time
Led by its vision that the industry is ripe for innovation and disruption, Majestic Steel USA has positioned itself at the forefront of talent and technology
Founded in 1979 by Dennis Leebow, Majestic Steel USA (Majestic) is today a leading national steel processor and service center, based in Cleveland, Ohio, and with 16 locations nationwide. The company processes and distributes flat-rolled steel products to customers across a range of industries, from construction to refrigeration, and from HVAC to manufacturing.
In 2012, Dennis’ son, Todd, took over the reins as CEO. Todd earned his stripes on the inventory management side of the business, giving him a deep understanding of the steel supply chain and how data and information are critical differentiators in the overall customer experience. Todd identified the shifting trends across logistics and consumer delivery patterns, prompting him to invest heavily in developing Majestic’s internal tech and data capabilities. He saw digitization as a key value-add for Majestic’s customers and a way of bringing consumer supply chain improvements into the industrial sphere.
Under Todd’s management, Majestic evolved from a regional steel service center to a major nationwide distributor. “Majestic’s growth in recent years has been because of digitizing the industrial supply chain. We’ve opened new locations nationwide to get closer to supply and we experienced 100 percent year-on-year growth between 2020 and 2021 despite the pandemic and supply chain crisis,” explains Majestic’s Chief Operation Officer, Dave Kipe. “Our digital focus has been a major driver of this growth, with enhanced supply chain visibility and reliable data flow supporting us through market turbulence and unpredictable supply.”
As a multi-award-winning business – as recently as November 2021, it was named by Fastmarkets as one of its prestigious ‘Global Award Winners for Steel Excellence’ – Majestic has worked incredibly hard over the years to set itself apart from its peers.
“As we stock and process such a broad range of steel – with as much as 200 million pounds of steel in our centers at any given time – we rely on our delivery and logistics operation to ensure timely service to our customers,” Dave continues. “That’s why we have invested heavily in digitizing our supply chain and expanding our nationwide footprint, in order to provide a customer experience that sets us apart from our competitors. In slow-to-modernize sectors like steel and other traditional ‘heavy’ industries, digitization is lagging what we’ve seen in the consumer supply chain. The lag is a challenge for the sector, but it also offers opportunities for innovative companies like Majestic to improve efficiencies. We give our customers access to the best information and a more reliable supply chain, allowing for knock-on efficiency in planning and operations, and right across their business.”
As alluded to, a major focus for Majestic in recent times has been the development of its internal technological capabilities, ensuring real-time information flow, and end-to-end visibility with its customers. “Here at Majestic, we are working to take the smartest elements of innovation from different consumer sectors and apply them to our work in the industrial supply chain, thus making it quicker and easier for customers to order, stock and plan their inventory,” Dave notes.
Examples of such internal innovations include the Majestic Inventory Control System (MICS), an inventory management system that allows a customer to scan all of the inventory coming into their warehouse, linking the company’s inventory to their manufacturing line. Others include MHub, a customer portal inspired by e-commerce where customers can check the status of a delivery, view analytics on past orders and access market research. Unravel is a free smartphone application designed to simplify complex steel calculations for flat-rolled steel buyers, offering coil and sheet price calculations, and a gauge reference for manufacturers. “These concepts may seem common for the high-tech consumer delivery space, but they are game changers within traditional industries and Majestic is driving that change,” Dave enthuses.
“As part of our commitment to digitize and modernize the steel industry, another major focus of the company has been the recruitment of top talent from non-industrial backgrounds in order to add new perspectives to our internal decision-making,” Dave adds. “This has brought fresh eyes into Majestic’s business planning and has helped the company develop new ways of responding to customer needs.
“We are constantly looking to better serve our customers. We’ve developed in-house applications and applied new technological solutions that enable our operations to run more efficiently while reducing downtime and waste. Then, we’ve made them available to our customers to help their operations solve the same problems. It’s about constant innovation and agile contributions. A prime example of this is a Majestic spin-out, Felux, an industrial marketplace software dubbed ‘Amazon for the industrial world’, which is now a fully independent company. Felux offers industry buyers and sellers transparency and ease of transaction akin to the leading consumer software companies.”
For Majestic, 2021 was a year highlighted by a number of other important developments. Not only did the company announce the forthcoming opening of a new, state-of-the-art service center and processing facility in Arkansas, but it also completed the strategic acquisitions of P&S Metals and Supply, and Merit Steel USA.
“This is certainly a very exciting time for the company,” Dave affirms. “Majestic’s new facility will be a mill extension on Nucor Steel’s campus in Blytheville, Arkansas. Construction is well underway and we look forward to opening later in 2022. It is a next-generation 515,000-sq-ft facility, equipped with the latest in automation technology. The facility will play an important role in restoring order and efficiency into the region’s supply chain. Our Arkansas site will not only have the direct benefit of expanding our operating capacity, product offering and our physical footprint in the Southern US, but will also serve as a symbol of the company’s commitment to growing with customers across the region.”
As part of its national strategy, Majestic Steel has been focused on getting as close to its customers as possible and establishing reliable networks with local suppliers. “By acquiring P&S Metals and Supply and Merit Steel USA and their respective strategic locations in Nevada, California, and Washington State, we have firmly established Majestic Steel as a market force on the West Coast, allowing us to strengthen existing partnerships and develop relationships with new customers without the delay and complexity of cross-country trade and delivery. If you’re a manufacturer in California in need of readily available processed steel, partnering with Majestic will offer our renowned quality and national reach with guaranteed local market expertise,” Dave states.
Before we turn to the subject of future goals for Majestic, Dave is also keen to share details about the company’s MissonZero program, and how this demonstrates its commitment to environmental concerns. “Our MissionZero program is about improving safety and increasing our environmental stewardship,” he details. “Both sustainability and safety are major areas of focus for us, and that is why we combined them into one of our most important company-wide initiatives.
“With a competitive global market and an ever-increasing focus on renewable energy and clean manufacturing, traditional American industries have to reduce environmental damage in order to remain competitive into the future. Fortunately for us, steel is the most recyclable material in the world and every year, MissionZero’s sustainability arm recycles 132,000 pounds of steel scrap, saving it from ending up in landfills. We are environmentally conscious right throughout our business, with everything from warehouse operations, office design and the digitalization of documents taking into account the effect we have on our carbon footprint.”
For Dave and the rest of the Majestic family, 2022 is expected to see the continuation of the company’s growth, symbolized by the opening of its Arkansas facility. “You’ll also see a renewed focus on hiring to support growth and a maturation of our commitment to digitization and innovation across the business,” he confirms. “Over the next three-to-five years, Majestic will continue to expand our national footprint, while leading the industry in technological innovations that reduce friction in the customer experience and the overall supply chain. We will also seek to be a leader in sustainability through actions and investments, not just lip service. Finally, I expect Majestic’s associates will remain our biggest differentiator and primary competitive advantage.”
Majestic Steel USA
Products: Flat-rolled steel products