risk management

Risk and Risk Management

Taking Risks

Risk is an important part of life. We each have to manage it, often times encourage it, and in some cases, we even try to eliminate it. Typically, we think of positive risk related to growing our retirement accounts, investing in a new home, or maybe taking a leap and buying an investment property or starting a business. These are considered fairly normal risks to take, but as with all risk, they have the power to produce a scenario where there can be an uncontrolled loss of something valuable – usually your time and money. When we stop taking risks because of uncertainty, we stop moving forward and are likely to become idle.

Many successful people say that the luckiest of us are those who are prepared to take the greatest risks. They say that we create our luck by taking the necessary steps to open the door which makes change, progression, and success all possible.

Encouraging someone to take a risk is something that all parents, mentors, and leaders are familiar with. When we encourage risk is it is usually because we care about the person and want them to grow and learn, and ultimately become successful. These are typically calculated situations that, for the most part, have limited down-side and will likely provide a good shot for a favorable outcome. We know that with enough time and effort a young child will catch on to the concept of riding a bike and that it will benefit their life to know how to ride one. The risks can include scraped knees and elbows, and maybe some hurt feelings and a few tears, but those are all things we can live with.

Another way to look at risk is how it’s handled at Metalwest. Most of us take on only the amount of risk that we can financially or personally handle, knowing that we can start over or try again if things don’t go according to plan. Things are a little different in a setting like ours where we handle material with enormous amounts of weight, operate powerful equipment, and drive delivery vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. In this environment, if an uncalculated risk is taken and things don’t go according to plan, it is entirely possible that what’s lost is much more than a little bit of time and some money.

Proactively Managing Risk

At Metalwest we try to increase everyone’s awareness by openly sharing information and by utilizing training programs that help teach us how to understand and manage our unintentional and risky behavior. Allowing ourselves to become so fatigued that we are mentally and physically exhausted is a risk because it will eventually lead to inattention.

The same goes for rushing and allowing yourself to become frustrated. Each of these can cause us to make mistakes that end up increasing the likelihood of becoming injured, and they are almost guaranteed to contribute to a significant loss in productivity.

Training is a very important part of managing risk and folks in our company have been working hard to improve the processes related to it. We don’t want to just add content or find additional training, we want to keep training simple and make it as effective as possible. A well-trained person is much less likely to make poor decisions and therefore is better prepared to manage risk.

We have all heard that our business is not about metal, it’s about people, and that’s all of us! Properly managing risk helps guarantee that we all go home at the end of the day and ensures the success of our business.

By Dave Suchey - Health, Safety, and Environment Manager at Metalwest
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COVID-19 Update

At Norfolk Iron & Metal and Metalwest, the health and safety of our customers, suppliers, and employees is a top priority. With the ever-growing concerns regarding COVID-19 and the impact it may have on everyone, we wanted to let you know the steps we are taking during this time.

To follow with the CDC guidelines on social distancing, we will be restricting all non-essential travel and limiting face-to-face meetings. Our sales team will continue to make in-person visits, as necessary, following our customer’s guidelines for visitors at their facilities. Our commercial teams are always available to assist you via email, telecommunications, and video conferencing. We will also do our best to keep you updated on our social media channels.

You can also reach us for online quote requests via our websites:

During this time we are committed to doing business as close to usual as possible. We do not anticipate any disruptions to our ability to service our customers. With many locations throughout the U.S. between both companies, our diversified inventories, and redundant processing equipment across our facilities, we will be able to ensure our service to you continues.

As of now, we have not seen any disruption in our supply chains that would impact delivery times. Maintaining our own fleet of trucks gives us the ability to maintain the service to our customers without interruption.

We are committed to continue providing you with the best customer service, quality products, and value-added services that you’re accustomed to receiving from us. We value our relationships with you and appreciate your business.

Norfolk Iron & Metal | Metalwest
Leadership teams

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March 2020 Insight Guide: Market Indicators

The Economy

The U.S. services sector activity jumped to a one-year high in February. This suggests strength in the economy before escalation of recession fears were ignited by the coronavirus epidemic that prompted the emergency interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve. Rates were cut by a half percentage point to a target range of 1.00% to 1.25%, the first emergency rate cut since 2008.

February added 273,000 jobs while the unemployment rate was at 3.5%, matching its lowest level in more than 50 years. Tied with January, the February gains tied for the best month since May 2018.

Industry Indicators

The Architecture Billings Index registered at 52.2 in January, up from the revised 52.1 in December (any score above 50 indicates an increase in demand for design services).

The February Purchasing Manager’s Index registered at 50.1%, down 0.8 percentage points from January. The New Orders Index registered at 49.8%, a decrease of 2.2 points from the previous month. The Production Index registered at 50.3%, down 4 points compared to January.

The Steel Industry

Shares of U.S. steel companies are suffering amid the coronavirus outbreak. The virus has taken a toll on most commodities due to a slowdown in demand in China. Shares of major domestic steel makers have tanked. This on top of the weaker prices, slowed steel demand, and the trade war in 2019, have dealt a huge blow to the U.S. steel industry.

A hearing of the Congressional Steel Caucus was held on March 5, 2020. Witnesses testified that any weakening in the enforcement of the Section 232 tariffs on steel imports might lead to lower prices on steel products. This would lead to seriously adverse effects on U.S. steel producers in an already vulnerable time for the industry.

For more information, contact your local sales rep or view the March 2020 Insight Guide below.

Metalwest Market Insight - March 2020