Blog: If you can't measure it, you can't improve it!

If you can't measure it, you can't improve it!

If you can't measure it, you can't improve it!

Rizwan Janjua, Head, Technology, worldsteel

17 May 2018

You might have come across this famous quote by the popular American management consultant, Peter Drucker: “When it comes to managing business processes or any production process for that matter, unless the performance is tracked continuously, how do you know if you are improving?”

The history of measurement is as old as humanity itself. It took us a while to define the abstract notion of time and later the physical measurements that were vital for commerce: mass and length. Today, we can say that, despite the plethora of different units used across the globe, one of our crucial achievements is our ability to measure.

Steelmaking involves complex processes that are continuously evolving as we find better ways of doing things. How do we know the new process of sintering, coking, casting and rolling is better than the one before? - Only if we measure and compare the energy input, yield, reliability and environmental performance.

An improvement can be measured internally but it is an inward-looking approach and can lead to missing out on bigger targets – someone somewhere is bound to be doing better.

What tools does the steel industry have at its disposal for measuring its performance?

worldsteel has set up benchmarking and assessment systems for its members to measure the performance of steelmaking processes in a secure, anonymous way, which is free of cost. This suite of systems allows any steel company to continuously track, measure and aim to achieve the best-in-class performance in a global setting.

These systems have been developed by industry experts and are continuously being updated to reflect the latest developments in iron and steelmaking processes. The following six systems allow any company to effectively manage and measure its performance:

  1. Energy
  2. Process Yields
  3. Maintenance & Reliability
  4. CO2
  5. Safety
  6. Sustainability

Both the CO2 and safety benchmarking systems are accessible to companies outside our membership.

How do companies benefit from these benchmarking tools?

Having led the expert groups of some of these systems I’ve come across numerous success stories where companies achieved significant improvement, aimed higher and worked towards saving energy, maintenance costs, lowering CO2 and higher yield. The millions of dollars in savings came with no external costs – only by becoming aware of the potential for improvement and working towards achieving it.

Here is just one concrete example to understand the potential gains of making one minor improvement in the production process: Implementing a 1% improvement in yield across all processes for a site, can easily add up to 3.5 USD/tonne meaning that for a 1 Mt plant this would mean a saving of 3.5 million USD.

What targets have our member companies set for themselves?

Recently, worldsteel Board members agreed to focus renewed attention on reaching the performance levels we see in our top 15%.

For more information contact Janjua@worldsteel.org

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