Aluminium steps out of the shadows

While BlueScope Distribution has been a long-term player in both the steel and aluminium sectors for many years, there’s no doubt that most customers’ awareness of the brand is as a steel distributor, processor and solutions provider.

BlueScope Distribution’s range of aluminium sheet, plate, coil and treadplate, as well as extruded products is regularly expanding.

Additional resourcing is also being invested by the company to increase availability, while category experts have been appointed to further promote and support BlueScope Distribution’s growing aluminium presence. Innovation within the business unit is also well entrenched as the business looks to continue to improve the products, processing and solutions offered by the business in the steel and aluminium space.

Consolidated knowledge and supply chain
As well as having a broad range of aluminium products, selecting BlueScope Distribution as an aluminium supply partner has other benefits for customers, including the convenience of a single touchpoint for all steel and aluminium requirements and the associated ‘know-how’.

BlueScope Distribution National Aluminium Manager, Brad White, says such efficiencies were particularly important for the growing number of customers who used both materials.

“For our clients who require both steel and aluminium products, it’s the logical and economical choice to source these materials from a single supplier,” he says.

“Customers can deal with a single point of contact at BlueScope Distribution for their state, national or international requirements and have their wants and needs coordinated succinctly. At a local level consolidating deliveries by having both steel and aluminium delivered on the one truck makes everything a lot more efficient, and allows us to provide customers with added value services such as just-in-time delivery, consignment stock, trading terms, warehousing and processing if they need it.

“The demand for aluminium has grown in recent years, with many industries gaining a greater awareness of the benefits this material can provide in their manufactured products,” Brad says. “Aluminium’s superior corrosion performance in certain applications as well as strength to weight ratio is seeing it used more widely across a range of transport applications, providing increased payloads for trucks and trailers.”

Commercial vehicle body and trailer manufacturers also rely heavily on aluminium for its strength and rigidity as well as its weight saving benefits. The arrival of Covid-19 last year led to a huge increase in e-commerce requiring more trucks on the road, particularly for ‘last mile’ delivery. This situation resulted in increased demand for aluminium by manufacturers.

Aluminium processing capability
BlueScope Distribution is not just all about delivering basic products, it also adds value by offering processing services. The company’s capabilities include plate shaping by router cutting, slitting, custom lengths, guillotining, drill and tap and marking, which provides efficiencies for customers because they receive products that are fit for purpose, with less handling and machining required on arrival. It also means that customers don’t need to invest in their own equipment and resources to undertake this work themselves.

Other solutions include project management capability, end to end supply chain solutions, consignment stock as well as innovative ways of supplying pre-cut components as a kit. “Our kitting solutions enable us to supply customers with finished, pre-cut compenents which they focus on assembling into their own end user products,” Brad says.

BlueScope Distribution also makes the effort to learn about a customer’s business from front to back of house which allows it to facilitate the most appropriate aluminium product and supply solutions.

“Having a strong industry knowledge and a focus on listening to customer needs are other factors in which BlueScope Distribution is different to most,” Brad says. “We take the time to learn what clients require so that we can offer them a complete solution complementing product, service and value. If a customer needs seven or eight different aluminium products, we’re committed to providing the full suite of products not just the basic high volume materials.”