4 reasons 2024 is the year to invest in metals technology

Tony Barnes
| 2/7/2024
4 reasons 2024 is the year to invest in metals technology

The technology investment decisions metals leaders make in 2024 have the potential to affect their businesses for the next 10 years.

Amid fluctuating metals prices, increasing geopolitical tensions, evolving customer expectations, and a host of other unpredictable factors, metals leaders might be tempted to pull back on technology investments and rely on what they’ve known to work in the past. However, what got metals leaders through the last 10 years is likely not what’s going to bring them through the next decade and beyond.

What seems like a safer option in the short term could hinder long-term success.

Metals leaders must look to the future with a forward-thinking approach that starts with taking another look at the company’s digital transformation road map. In line with company priorities, leaders should decide where to double down on metals technology investments that offer solutions for both the challenges of today and the problems of the future.

Insights in your inbox
Discover how metals businesses are stepping into the future of the industry by subscribing to Metals 4.0.

4 reasons metals leaders should prioritize metals technology investments in 2024

Now is not the time for metals leaders to rely on what’s familiar; now is the time to invest in innovative technology. Following are four ways technology investments can help set metals leaders up for future success.

Automation helps create greater efficiencies and cost savings

1. Automation helps create greater efficiencies and cost savings

One of the key takeaways from the 2023 SMU Steel Summit was the emphasis on cutting costs through automation, especially in inventory management. By automating manual tasks like tracking inventory, businesses can save on labor costs and achieve more accurate inventory management.

As metals leaders focus on creating a better customer experience and meeting customer demands, efficiently managing inventory helps companies have materials they need on hand. The right metals technology can help streamline inventory management and automate administrative and manual tasks, giving metals leaders the cost-effective tools they need.

AI tools open the door to new opportunities

2. AI tools open the door to new opportunities

The advancement of generative artificial intelligence (AI) creates new opportunities for metals businesses. Teams can use machine learning tools to more quickly and accurately perform arduous, manual tasks such as demand forecasting, which commonly involves intricate and complex spreadsheet formulas.

As advanced technology evolves and opens the door to greater possibilities, metals companies can begin implementing these tools with pilot projects. While the knowledge gap might seem inconsequential today, the longer leaders wait to integrate advanced metals technology solutions, the more difficult it will be to catch up in the future.

Employees use technology to power innovation

3. Employees use technology to power innovation

For the second year in a row, the Crowe “2023 Technology in Metals Survey Insights” report revealed adoption uncertainty as the number one challenge metals leaders face on their digital transformation journeys. Without getting employees and key stakeholders on board, metals companies can miss out on the full benefits that metals technology offers.

As metals companies make technology investments to address business issues, it’s critical to establish employee feedback loops and create an ongoing organizational change management plan to support and empower employees as they use technology to create innovative solutions. The sooner metals leaders start getting their employees up to speed, the sooner they can implement metals technology solutions that help them make informed decisions, create opportunities, and save money.

Accurate data helps metals leaders make strategic decisions

4. Accurate data helps metals leaders make strategic decisions

Metals leaders must make strategic decisions to achieve real business impact such as increased efficiency, better quality performance, or improved margins. However, the key to making informed decisions lies in business data that is often disorganized and stored in disparate systems. The right technology can help centralize and standardize data as well as provide actionable insights that can help metals leaders gain confidence in their next steps.

If metals leaders wait another year to invest in the metals technology that helps them organize and synthesize business data quickly and effectively, they might risk logging another year’s worth of low-quality data that could hinder their growth and success in the future.

Gain confidence in your metals technology investments

It might seem like making technology investments during times of uncertainty could set business back. But making strategic investments in technology is like pulling back an arrow that can shoot farther ahead. One way to gain more confidence in your investments is by keeping a finger on the pulse on metals technology trends.

The annual Crowe technology in metals survey gathers data from leaders across the industry to offer fresh insights into technology trends that can help you make confident investment decisions. The 2024 survey incorporates new questions to gain deeper insight into how companies like yours are using AI and technology to increase efficiency, create a better employee experience, and standardize data.

Join the conversation

Take the 2024 technology in metals survey and share your valuable insights. More importantly, be among the first metals leaders to view the results and see how your metals company measures up against industry trends.
Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes
Principal, Microsoft Cloud Solutions Leader