4 Trends Impacting the Metals Industry
- 3D printing is here to stay. 3D-printed parts give manufacturers an unprecedented degree of flexibility in their plant maintenance regimes. In 2018, more plant managers say they plan to invest in on-site 3D printing tech, meaning they’ll have the ability to customize and fabricate metal parts to their own specs and on their own timelines.
- China is winning the commodity game. While U.S. metals companies dominate the still-emerging 3D metal printing market, China owns a growing share of the commodity metals market. Despite uncertainty around how U.S. government tariffs could impact this market going forward, it’s a good long-term bet for U.S. and European companies to focus more closely on the higher margin industry segments that require more technology, industry expertise, and customer-supplier collaboration.
- Scrap recycling has plateaued. Scrap-metal recycling enjoyed a boom in the early years of the 21st century, but experienced negative growth over the past 5 years and is projected to remain nearly level over the next 5. In 2017, the entire scrap recycling industry enjoyed only $1.1 billion in profits, making it a small contributor to the overall metals market.
- Value-based marketing messaging is more important than ever. As commodity segments stagnate or move to countries where production costs are lower, U.S. and European companies have the opportunity to focus on the most exciting and innovative products and services the industry has to offer. These offering are more expensive but hold significant promise for prospective customers. Because buying organizations within these customer firms have changed, it can be a challenge for metals companies to reach decision makers. ABM can help metals companies reach the entire buying committee within target accounts with the complex value-based messaging that makes the case for a large investment in emerging technology.