Arania’s company plan for the coming years can be defined as follows: quality, service and performance within a secure work environment, in order to keep growing steadily and tackle a challenging future. On top of the ongoing changes, such as the energy transition, the reduction of emissions and digitalisation, this year sees the addition of the global economic and geopolitical context, which is putting many sectors under severe pressure. Thanks to its leadership in quality and service, Arania is back on the path to growth with a spectacular 25% turnover increase in 2021 vs. 2020.
Every year, Arania’s Board of Directors holds the most important meeting of the season: after working collaboratively in the different departments, the company’s business plan for the coming years is shared with the whole staff. At this meeting combining digital and on-site formats, managers present the results of the previous year, set the year’s challenges and communicate the strategy defined for the medium term, guaranteeing the participation of all personnel, whose experience and commitment is essential when it comes to optimising any operational aspect of the company.
After the drops seen in 2019 and 2020 as a result of the pandemic and stresses in global markets, Arania’s turnover returned to growth in 2021, with a spectacular 25% increase (FVEM metal sector average +4%). These results closely match the target budgeted at the beginning of the year, which exceeded 96,000 tonnes in rolled steel.
The success of the flexible operational model, the preventive management of Covid-19, and the exhaustive work carried out in essential areas such as quality, safety and maintenance (among many others), meant that in 2021 Arania was able to guarantee full commercial and service support, reaching maximum production capacity and once again exceeding the best results in terms of customer service and support. It is also important to highlight the environmental management developed in recent years, with several projects and commitments setting the way forward and providing experience for the future challenges that will arise from the energy transition and climate neutrality.
Not a single step back in terms of quality. The medium-term vision involves reinforcing the fundamental values that have driven Arania’s name as an international benchmark in rolled steel, starting with quality, both in terms of products and services. Thanks to the policy of long-term oriented investment/replacement projects focused on new materials, automation, new production capacities and quality, the objective of the 2022-2025 company plan is to further improve recent years’ excellent figures for quality, reliability and product excellence, especially during the changes of rhythm and when managing a high number of derogations.
Beyond the excellent customer satisfaction results, which are improving year on year, the internal rejection and shrinkage rates look very good and meet the objectives, although the dynamic involves continuous improvement in order to further promote Arania’s flagship asset: quality.
On the other hand, emphasis needs to be placed on maintaining adequate commercial strength and adapting market positioning strategies, particularly in the uncertain times that are yet to come. With the return of trade fairs and industrial events, such as BlechExpo 2021 in Stuttgart, which Arania visited in October, market positioning will play a key role when finding the right direction in the post-pandemic era, together with reinforcing the trust of clients, suppliers, partners and collaborators. In this respect, the different projects that Arania is leading thanks to the support of Hazitek and the European Union point the way forward.
As a result of several safety-related programmes implemented by Arania (such as the Excellent Safety project) and thanks to the involvement of the whole team, at all levels, numbers for 2021 are very positive: not a single severe accident has been recorded, and the Covid-19 prevention protocol has allowed to maintain service and production at full capacity. In addition, sick leaves due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) fell by more than 50% due to the excellent work of the Ergonomics Group.
On the environmental front, Arania continues on the road to decarbonisation, a path where the company is moving steadily and solidly towards meeting the CO2 emission targets set by the European Union. This involves pursuing a dynamic of continuous improvement and full engagement at all levels, across all departments of the Arania Group.
This year, among the different environmental programmes already underway, we should highlight (https://www.araniasa.com/objetivo-sostenible-compromiso-medioambiental-de-arania/) in particular the reduction of Arania’s carbon footprint based on the management of GoO (Guarantees of Origin and Electricity Labelling), and the HAMBEMET project with Siderex (the Basque Steel Industry Cluster, of wich Arania is a member): a large-scale project to measure the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). This environmental philosophy entails reinforced daily progress in sustainability, working closely with suppliers to explore the best options for ‘green’ raw materials, developing electrical self-consumption (installation of photovoltaic panels) and encouraging the use of electric vehicles (installation of charging points).
Also, disruptions in global logistics chains and the road transportation crunch mean that transport strategies and product storage flows need to be reviewed, in order to identify more sustainable options. In the coming years, intermodal transport (truck & railway) will become increasingly important, along with the systematic reduction of the carbon footprint in transportation.
In the short term, Arania will face a pretty challenging 2022. On the one hand, remaining at the forefront of the rolled steel industry in terms of quality is still the primary objective. On the other side, maintaining sustainable growth in a complex new era defined by volatility and uncertainty will represent a challenge.