Developing customer focus
A British Steel case study

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Page 1: Introduction

British Steel 4 Image 8In the business world of the 1990s organisations cannot afford to remain still. Only 32 of the top 100 of Britain’s biggest industrial companies on The Times list in 1965 could still be found in the top 100 by 1995. All companies, large and small, have to be alert to the threats and opportunities that could make or break them. Change is about remaining ahead of the competition. It is about developing and moving on. Organisations that do not alter and re-shape themselves often fail.

Over the years, the steel industry has had to cope with great change. In more recent times, world-wide over-capacity and advances in technology have accelerated the change process. During the last thirty years, British Steel has consolidated its position as one of the world’s most efficient manufacturers. In 1967, when the major part of the steel industry was nationalised, British Steel Corporation employed a quarter of a million people. Returned to private ownership in 1988, British Steel now employs less than 50,000 people. Millions of pounds have been invested in plant and equipment, new working practices and the education and training of employees to create a Total Quality Performance environment.

Total Quality Performance encourages a continuous cycle of improvement. It aims to make ongoing improvement part of organisational life, focusing everything an organisation does on the customer. This case study examines how one part of British Steel has responded to its changing business environment to become a centre of excellence. It describes how a range of initiatives and developments has helped British Steel’s staff at Shotton Works to improve their customer focus and take responsibility for enhancing their performance while further developing their own career opportunities.

Shotton Works

British Steel 4 Image 1Coated Products are used mainly in the automotive, construction, domestic appliance and teletronics industries. Steel strip covered with metallic coatings and specially formulated paints for corrosive resistance and colourful finish, can be found almost everywhere in everyday life - in homes, offices, factories, schools... British Steel is a world leader in the production of coated steel.

Shotton Works is British Steel’s main operational site for Coated Products. Extending over 500 acres in Deeside, North Wales, it is part of British Steel Strip Products and the operational headquarters for a group of works specialising in the manufacture of coated products. It comprises cold rolling facilities, hot dip coating lines, electro-galvanising lines and organic paint lines with a combined capacity of over one million tonnes per annum.

British Steel | Developing customer focus