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Gaining speed

The NGOflex service campaign from thyssenkrupp’s Steel division aims to provide fast, flexible deliveries of non-grain-oriented electrical steel.

(Interview: Judy Born)

The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation thanks to networked vehicles, autonomous driving, and alternative engines. Electromobility is the primary focus where the latter is concerned, and it requires non-grain-oriented (NO) electrical steel. The Steel division of thyssenkrupp has been researching and developing solutions in this area at its Bochum location as a full range supplier for decades.

Marketing for the product will be based in the Sales Automotive division from now on, in view of the fact that the material is becoming increasingly important for automobile manufacturers. The new NGOflex restructuring program will seek to optimize the production process in the division. Jörg Paffrath and Bernhard Osburg, the heads of the Sales Industry and Sales Automotive divisions, talk about the changes.

What is NGOflex all about?

Paffrath: NGOflex is essentially a way of realigning the NO Electrical Steel business unit. The program is our reaction to our customers’ requests for greater flexibility with regard to delivery dates and the diversity of types.

How do you plan to achieve that?

Paffrath: Experience has shown that we have a high degree of standardization at the beginning of production. Furthermore, at the second preliminary stage we are already able to meet approximately 80 percent of our customers’ needs and stockpile adequate short-term stock. Our ongoing business relationships enable us to effectively plan this preliminary phase.

What advantages does this offer?

Paffrath: With the primary material we already have available we can produce the product on short notice in accordance with customer specifications, meaning that we can deliver faster. There is a market and a willingness to pay for deliveries with binding deadlines of just a few days.

Jörg Paffrath (l.) and Bernhard Osburg
Jörg Paffrath (l.) und Bernhard Osburg see clear opportunities for growth in NO electrical steel..

There’s more and more talk of electromobility...

Osburg: That’s right. We start with the assumption that demand in this area is increasing and market growth is accelerating, partly in response to continuing reports of manipulated consumption data. In addition, our portfolio comprises the entire range of NO electrical steel, from low to highly siliconized grades. The requirements placed on the material are very high, and we are constantly looking for new areas of application.

Are you talking about the Applications Technology unit?

Osburg: Exactly. Our team at the Bochum location has had decades of experience in this area by now. And our customers know how valuable that is. Then, too, there is the engine test bench, where we can simulate a lot of different things. Customers are eager to make use of it as well.

Will NGOflex lead to organizational changes?

Paffrath: Yes. In the first place, sales of NO electrical steel will be moved from my area to that of Mr. Osburg. Furthermore, an account organization will also be introduced to enable us to meet the needs of our customers as effectively as possible. We have also established the Inside Sales area, which primarily deals with order management. But the customer will still have the same direct point of contact.

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