Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Sales and Marketing Initiatives
In the last few years, Weirton Steel Corporation (WSC) has implemented a wide range of sales and marketing initiatives to improve the management of orders; enhance annual sales; improve customer satisfaction and technical service; and reduce WSC costs. While all the initiatives have been effective for WSC, three have been highly effective.
WSC switched from the company's normal accounting method (based on annual standards) to a Net Actual Profitability method for a small number of highly competitive and low margin accounts. The Net Actual Profitability method provided improved identification of all WSC costs, directly and indirectly, associated with respective customers’ products and accounts. Further, enhanced cost visibility has been provided on a three to six month rolling basis, rather than annually under the previous WSC approach.
The second key initiative implemented by WSC was the identification of Strategic Business Accounts (SBA). WSC identified key customers with large accounts essential to its business base, established SBAs to reflect those customers, and then made business decisions based on the fact that SBAs would make up 60% of WSC's annual sales. This unique (in the steel industry) development of long-term sales agreements with its customers was a major element in the successful application of SBAs in providing a stable business base for WSC. Long-term customer agreements provide benefits to both WSC and its customers, offering stable business for WSC and allowing the company to offer reduced and fixed long-term pricing to its customers.
The third key initiative was and continues to be improving customer satisfaction, quality assurance, and technical services to those customers. WSC established a process to survey customer satisfaction with WSC products and took corrective actions to eliminate any identified problems. In particular, WSC improved its overall delivery performance from one of the lowest in the industry to one of the highest according to a Jacobson & Associates survey. Further, the company established direct operator-to-operator contact between key WSC product personnel (salary non-exempt) and WSC customers to promptly correct technical problems and enhance technical services provided to those customers.
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