When process management is culture — ThyssenKrupp Stainless

The APQC Frameworks Study that concluded last Spring looked at a remarkable story of a new, $6B steel mill located near Mobile, AL. ThyssenKrupp invested so much because they believed in US manufacturing, even during tough times, and were determined to make their operation the most efficient and resilient of its kind. Successfully delivering a commodity process like rolled, galvanize steel means finding new ways to differentiate and earn business. They’re doing very well and attracting the best customers based on achieving five key ISO standards in a remarkably short period of eleven months. Companies like Lexus and BMW buy from ThyssenKrupp because they are guaranteed that their suppliers are delivering at their own high level of quality.


Commodity is a misleading term. Price only indicates the initial cost of steel. As a steel buyers, ThyssenKrupp’s customers need to be assured that the product will arrive as expected, at the quality level promised, without undue environmental or safety impact, and a host of other measures. This can only be done when the supplier has proven to independent auditors that they meet or beat the metrics that support these measures. Many companies out there create paper trails just for audit purposes, but the overhead of maintaining this is schizophrenic and a serious risk to the business. ThyssenKrupp has only one system to keep track of business process and compliance because they are one and the same for them.

Stainless steel sister

While ThyssenKrupp Steel USA went about their business, their sister company, ThyssenKrupp Stainless started out in more typical fashion using Visio and other tools to document and collaborate around processes, and with typical results. It was only after they were on this path for a while that they decided to make the switch to a true business process management system. The sponsors of this concept needed to help the organization understand why they should change gears and adopt a way of doing business that was completely new and would involve everyone from the executives to the folks in hardhats on the line. “How do you get an organization to change when they are on a different path?” is the most common question I get at conferences and from readers. ThyssenKrupp Stainless did exactly that and with great results.

PEX Orlando

ThyssenKrupp Stainless will be the Keynote Speaker at Process Excellence Week 2012 in Orlando, FL next week. I look forward to hearing from Brent Wilson, the ThyssenKrupp Director of Production Planning and Control as he relates their journey to making process cultural. I’ve had a preview, and it is a very good story.

If you’d like to know more about how ThyssenKrupp Steel USA achieved their goals through excellent business process management, check out the link to the BPTrends article, below:


Categories: Manufacturing, Markets

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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  1. Selling BPM – Three things that make the difference | BPM For Real - January 17, 2012

    […] resell continuously. Many ideas die because a win isn’t supported by ongoing reinforcement. Brent Wilson of ThyssenKrupp Stainless puts it this way, “Reconfirming, regaining commitment and the constant cycle of changing […]

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