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Optimizing steel-making productivity

Over the last decade, global steel industry EBITDA margins have averaged eight to ten percent, which is below the margin of 15 to 17 percent necessary for long-term sustainability. However, during the same period, we have seen the best performing steel producers achieve EBITDA margins of 20 to 30 percent as a result of structural advantages such as low factors costs, as well as equipment, labor, and cost productivity. This suggests an improvement potential in operational excellence across the industry.

SteelLens helps steel plants achieve operational excellence. Our proprietary assessment methodology identifies, quantifies, and prioritizes value creation opportunities in steel plants operations. We link operational metrics such as blast-furnace fuel rates, product yields, and labor productivity to financial outcomes such as EBITDA and cost-curve position. We combine global technical industry benchmarks, operational impact cases developed in collaboration with steel producers, and deep steel industry expertise to help steel producers optimize cost and performance.

How we help clients

Steel benchmarking database

Our technical benchmarking database contains more than 300 steel production and processing operations across all major steel-producing geographies. It allows steel-making companies to compare their operating, labor, and cost performance with global peers.

Operational data analytics

We developed and leverage an extensive library of use cases that help steel producers to pinpoint operational improvement levers, identify specific actions to close performance gaps, and understand how analytics and digitization can sustainably improve operational profitability.

Expert site evaluation

Beyond proprietary tools, our SteelLens practitioners bring deep expertise and in-depth knowledge of steel making, the industry, and global markets. They work hand-in-hand with steel producers to deliver and interpret benchmarks and provide tailored operational analyses.


average cost-reduction opportunities identified


operations in the SteelLens database


use cases on operational impact from steelmakers around the world


Benchmarking to identify productivity improvement across functions

A flat steel producer needed to rapidly reduce costs in order to remain solvent and withstand a tough market. We assisted the company by conducting a bottom-up benchmarking assessment, including detailed walk-throughs and analyses of all process areas, and ultimately identified a 19 percent productivity improvement potential across operations, maintenance, and support functions. This assessment provided the basis for a broader operational transformation program.

Granular benchmarking to derive a cost target

A long steel producer that specializes in the production of high-quality steel faced challenging market conditions, including slow growth and intense competition. We helped them establish and achieve target cost reduction by benchmarking technical indicators. The benchmarking assessment identified €60M in overall cost saving opportunities by reducing costs per ton of finished product by more than €20 per ton.

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