Photo: Appointment ceremony at the first Hardox Wearparts® center in Libanon. The photo shows Burak Besler, Wear Service Manager at SSAB Services, and Paul Ward, shareholder and sales manager at Warde Steel and Metals S.a.r.l.

Leading value-added services are an important area in SSAB’s Taking the Lead! strategy. For our customers it means the best wear solutions available in the after-market. We have an ambitious goal to develop after-market sales in branded high-strength steels from the mills through a network of 500 Hardox Wearparts® centers.

“We can be quite happy with the speed of expansion – however, it is not only member numbers that matter, but more importantly the level of engagement and reach to the end-user market. In 2017 the Hardox Wearparts® business grew by some 12% year-on-year. This shows that it is rewarding to be a Hardox Wearparts® member and, for us at SSAB, this is an important concept towards striving for our long-term growth ambitions,” explained Erik Sundström, who is responsible for development of the network.

Expansion in many key market areas

Last year, the network expanded to approximately 10 new countries, including Algeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Zambia.

“We had very strong expansion in China, where we doubled member numbers last year and now over 30 members. In the Chinese aftermarket business, we have a lot of unexplored opportunities, since the market is very large. We have targeted the construction segment, the cement industry, quarrying and the yellow goods sector, and mining is also a major customer,” continued Erik Sundström.

We have strengthened our presence also by more diverse members in our old key markets like the US, Canada and the Eurozone. Our focus on these markets has resulted in a broader base of companies in the network.

“In the Central Americas, we have taken a big leap forward in Mexico, one of our key markets. We now have 12 members in Mexico, 6 of which joined during 2017. Also the Middle East and Northern Africa are promising areas and we have gained new members in, for example, Saudi-Arabia and Algeria. We will continue to expand in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt, where also mining and construction are key customer segments,” said Erik Sundström.

Toward 500 members

In 2018, we plan to expand toward 500 members. It is important to become closer to mine sites, to follow the construction industry, quarrying, cement and yellow goods. Another growing customer segment is the recycling industry.

“Going forward, the key priority will be to ensure sustainable volume growth through the existing network. This makes it important to emphasize the quality of the network, and of course the offering is also important,” concluded Erik Sundström.

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