In the run-up to the opening of the HBI plant, the network #nafta management conference was held in Corpus Christi at the end of October. The event was an opportunity to share experiences and intensify cooperation between the voestalpine companies in the NAFTA region as a means of exploiting further market potentials in this strategic market.
The voestalpine Group Strategy 2020 has set itself the goal of increasing the share of revenue generated outside the EU in the coming years, from its current level of around 30% to over 40% by 2020. A tripling of revenue in the NAFTA region will contribute to reaching this goal. The regional networks unite companies across the divisions, and their activities are also being intensified in geographical areas including Eastern Europe and China. The networks are designed to concentrate the Group’s strengths locally as a means of achieving this challenging goal.
"The NAFTA region is a vital part of our strategy of growth outside Europe. In addition to our strategic projects and initiatives in the individual divisions, our drive for regional cooperation within networks, and their associated synergies and market opportunities, is an important basis for achieving these targets. The overwhelmingly positive atmosphere at the network #nafta conference supports this effort, as well as the high level of motivation which was evident."
Management conference in Corpus Christi
During the network #nafta conference more than 80 participants and the entire voestalpine Management Board exchanged know-how and ideas on intensifying regional cooperation between the 27 companies at 69 sites in the NAFTA region. Senior Economist Eugenio J. Alemán from Wells Fargo kicked off the event with an overview of general economic developments.
During the first part of the conference voestalpine CEO Wolfgang Eder talked about the future potential of the NAFTA region as part of the voestalpine strategy, and the key customer segments. The members of the Management Board also provided an overview of the key areas in each of the four divisions. Segment managers then presented the highlights of their activities in which Group companies cooperate in order to exploit potential synergies.
"Sharing experiences with voestalpine companies already established in the segment, and the potential synergies we have already discussed and identified, offers excellent opportunities for expanding this strategically important business segment."
During five segment-specific workshops run in parallel, the participants were able to discuss in depth their view of market developments and the opportunities and challenges they entail. Another focus laid in the exchange of ideas between the managing directors on topics such as potential synergies in the region, cross-selling strategies, the optimal use of resources, and future opportunities to cooperate.
"In addition to talks on lessons learned and best practice approaches, the intensive discussions in the workshops, which involved a positive mixture of both operative and strategic questions on the market challenges, provided input for our strategy efforts concerning the specific regional characteristics of the individual markets. We will continue to analyze the conclusions in the Strategy Committee, and apply them to future strategy developments."
During the closing podium discussion the Management Board members communicated key messages and expectations to the participants.
NAFTA as strategic future market
Not only China, but also the USA/Canada/Mexico region is an important growth market which offers many opportunities for the future. Here voestalpine is clearly focusing on high-tech segments such as mobility, energy and other demanding market niches. In accordance with the Group’s internationalization strategy, revenue in the NAFTA region is expected to increase from around EUR 1 billion to roughly EUR 3 billion by the end of 2020, with the new HBI plant in Texas playing a major contribution towards achieving this target.
It will be necessary to more strongly pool the expertise of the local voestalpine companies in order to meet this goal. The joint network meetings, such as the one in Texas, will certainly play an important role here.
"The network organization creates an ideal platform for the regular and coordinated exchange of information between the local companies and across divisional borders. Managing directors as well as local experts in sales, purchasing, and finances use the opportunity to discuss customer projects, the potential for cross-selling, and internal synergies. All in all, this serves to improve our market position and strengthen the voestalpine mindset."