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Steel and digital transformation: Slovenian Steel Group CIO explains the process

The steel industry, as almost every other these days, faces a labor shortage

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Slovenian Steel Group is the largest Slovenian steel producer and one of the largest producers of stainless and special steels in Europe. With more than 3.900 employees, they are one of the largest employers in Slovenia and a key member of the country’s steelworks sector.

The SIJ Group ranks highly among the leading Slovenian exporters, with approximately 85% of the Group´s total revenues on foreign markets.

We hosted their Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vladimir Arshinov and spoke about how they, as a company from a traditional industry, has adapted to digital changes, but also to the challenges that the industry faces in this regard.

  • Can you tell us more about the company SIJ? You are the leader in the steel industry, you're working primarily in Slovenia but you're also a global company. Can you tell us more about it?

Slovenian Steel Group is a company located in Slovenia, we have major production sites located in Slovenia, but we have distribution centers located all across Europe, and also in the US. All our major products, the major amounts of the products we are producing we are exporting outside of Slovenia.

  • What are the main challenges that the steel industry has been going through for in terms of adopting new ways of business and digitalization, and what did you do to overcome them?

The main challenges, starting from the business side, are cost of the resources, I mean the human resources, processing cost that we have, and digitization in our area and in our scope is helping us to reduce the processing cost and be more competitive among our competitors and in the markets, and reduce our costs and increase our value. That's why the main challenges which are the consequences of these business challenges inside IT are how to implement the systems or the solutions that will help us to increase our value, to be more transparent on the market, to take management decisions faster, and to optimize the supply chains.

  • You selected Comtrade as your partner in delivering new solutions that helped your business transform and grow. What are some of the projects you are currently working on together?

We found Comtrade as a good partner and signed a strategic agreement, we tried to work in such a way in the cloud transformation because it is changing the way we are working.

We create common teams, sit together and define the scope of work that has to be done. This is really simplifying things, making them really faster, and we already created a common team before the project started.

We are really looking forward to continuing negotiations with Comtrade because in this case, this is a good example of how negotiations have to be built and this is the kind of partner we are looking for.

He also told us more about the projects that they have been working on:

With Comtrade we now have two open projects that are ongoing. First of them is the cloud transformation where Comtrade is one of the major partners. Another project is LIMS - Laboratory Information Management System - for one of our major plants located in Ravne, and it requires a little bit of explanation.

We are producing high-end steel products, these products that we are producing are being used in some sensitive areas like nuclear production - we are mainly a B2B-oriented producer of products, and in this case the products that we are producing have to certified, meaning they have to pass sets of serious tests, and in this case, the laboratory itself is the analog of the laboratories that we have in hospitals, but in this case we are working with steel examples, and so on.

And with Comtrade, we are realizing the product - we are creating the laboratory management system for covering this. We are making this one plant, but we are hoping that after finalizing this project we will roll it out for the entire company. And the exact business area which we are covering is this sensitive area of taking samples which we have taken during production and certifying them, and tracking what was done, what are the values, with the connection of the testing devices and so on.

So, it's very deep inside our business process of production, but it is very sensitive for us.

See what else Mr. Arshinov said about doing business, but also about the way the company has implemented the digitization process, in the video at the top of the page.

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