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Taking the Lead! strategy

SSAB’s strategy is to strengthen our leading positions in high-strength steels globally, in our home markets, and as the top provider of value-added services.

In 2017, SSAB entered a new development phase after two years of restructuring following the combination with Rautaruukki in 2014. SSAB’s “Taking the Lead!” strategy, first introduced in 2012, continues to drive the strategic decisions and actions of the company.

In 2017, SSAB announced new ambitious growth targets for 2020. These targets will contribute to SSAB’s vision – a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world.





SSAB's strategy graph in English


Leading home-market positions

The Nordic and North American home markets remain the foundation for SSAB to build further offerings. SSAB aims to strengthen our home market positions in the coming years.

Nordic region

Maintaining market leadership with an enhanced product mix

SSAB will maintain a Nordic market share of 40-50% by serving the region’s leading OEMs and distributors as well as smaller customers. This will be helped by growth in SSAB’s own channels, including the metal distribution company Tibnor and the steel construction company Ruukki Construction, and also in partnership with customers and external steel distributors with which the company has long-term agreements. 

A new ambition for SSAB Europe is to increase the share of premium products to 40% of total shipments inside and outside Nordics by 2020 (2017: 32%). This includes growing premium offerings like Automotive premium, GreenCoat, SSAB Laser, SSAB Boron and SSAB Form. The goal is to reduce less profitable product volumes, especially standard products outside of the Nordics.


Increased market share for plate in North America 

The North American plate market has been turbulent in recent years with volatile demand and new trade measures being considered. As a market leader, SSAB has been able to further strengthen our market leadership against local competitors and imports. 

Moving forward, SSAB aims to have a market share of around 30% in the North American plate market (2017: 28%). This target requires continued focus on cost leadership and maintaining status as a preferred supplier, as well as continued capacity expansions as the market is expected to grow in coming years. The capacity expansion consists of investments to remove bottlenecks in our production facilities.


Global leadership in high-strength steels

SSAB is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in high-strength steels. Thanks to leading brands, a unique product offering, profound expertise and close collaboration with customers in developing new steel applications, SSAB has long been the global leader in this segment. The ever growing need for higher productivity and more sustainable solutions is the main driver for growth. SSAB’s 2020 growth target for high-strength steels reflects positive segment outlook.

SSAB Special Steels

Aiming for 1.35 million tonnes by 2020

SSAB Special Steels is aiming for 1.35 million tonnes of shipments by 2020, which can be compared with 1.0 million tonnes in 2016 and 1.2 million tonnes in 2017. Most of this growth is expected to come from upgrading, i.e. creating market demand by moving customers from standard grades to high-strength grades. To achieve this, SSAB will focus on product and application development, growing stock sales capabilities, expanding sales capabilities in emerging markets, as well as continued development of brand programs.

Automotive premium steels - aiming for 750 thousand tonnes by 2020

SSAB serves the world’s leading automotive companies with high-strength steel applications. Lightweighting, emission standards, safety standards and electrification contribute to a positive outlook for the use of high-strength steels in the automotive segment. Together with our customers, SSAB sees the potential to continue to grow in this segment, and therefore aims for shipments of 750 thousand tonnes by 2020, compared with 537 thousand tonnes in 2017.


Leading value-added services

Value-added services represent an important area for SSAB’s long-term development, as many customers focus on their core activities and demand more services to complement the products. Value-added services act as additional components to the strategic ambitions outlined above, supporting and enhancing SSAB’s activities in our home markets and supporting high-strength steel sales, as well as differentiate us from our competition.

A new business arm of SSAB

The SSAB Services business unit builds the network and develops Hardox Wearparts concepts. Hardox Wearparts network is comprised of 360 member companies globally (as of the end of 2017). These centers provide replacement parts and services to end customers in mining, recycling, quarrying, cement and agriculture. SSAB aims to have more than 500 companies in the network by 2020. 

SSAB Services also manages the downstream service concept of SSAB Shape, which offers steel-processing services for OEMs and their subsuppliers. SSAB will continue to grow steel processing Shape services to customers, often in emerging markets where capabilities to process high-strength steels are less developed.


Serve small and mid-size customers with short lead times

SSAB aims to grow our distribution services business in selected markets. Unlike many of our competitors, we operate our own global stock network and can serve the end-user market with short lead times. SSAB will grow the share of stock shipments as a way of increasing the value of steel shipments to our customers. 

SSAB’s fully-owned leading Nordic steel distributor, Tibnor, will expand its presence in all Nordic countries, expand the multi-metal offering, and lead the way in digitalization of the business.



Most flexible operations

To outperform peers and achieve industry-leading profitability in the coming years, SSAB will continue to focus on efficiency, flexible operations and utilization of the global production system. 

SSAB has launched a new continuous improvement program with annual target-setting powered by the SSAB One management philosophy. The program will deliver productivity gains every year by involving all employees in improvement activities. The effect will also secure SSAB with leading cost positions across our home markets. 

SSAB has a flexible production setup, with the ability to produce high-strength steels at several mills. The work with continuous improvement will raise productivity and allow for growing production volume in existing facilities. This will also mean that SSAB has the potential to be more resilient in weak business cycles.



High-performing organization

To achieve our ambitious strategy targets, SSAB will continue developing our high-performing organization to support a decentralized operating model characterized by accountability and entrepreneurship. We have three main priorities toward achieving a high-performing organization:

  • To be the safest steel company in the world. This we will achieve through an increased focus on fundamental work safety at all sites 
  • To leverage our management philosophy SSAB One to enhance productivity through continuous improvement  and employee engagement
  • To embrace diversity and continue strengthening our leadership capabilities and performance culture by cascading strategy and goal alignment to all levels


Superior customer experience

Part of SSAB’s strategy is to go further than anyone else to offer customers a superior customer experience. 

SSAB strives for the highest standards on “the basics” in order to maintain our position as the preferred supplier, measured through customer surveys. This includes, for instance, responsive sales processes, consistently high product quality, on time delivery reliability and information accessibility. 

To remain at the forefront, SSAB will continue to invest in technical support and joint innovation initiatives to help customers to get the best out of SSAB’s high-strength steels. Combined with leading brands and customer brand programs like “Hardox In My Body” and “My Inner Strenx,” SSAB can further strengthen customer partnerships.