Metal One Metal One Coporation
April 22, 2003
"Σ(Sigma)" Standard Backbone System for Coil Centers Now Available to Rent

Metal One Corporation (headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo; president: Masashi Mizutani) recently completed the basic application for the "Σ(Sigma)" standard backbone system for coil centers utilizing state-of-the-art IT technology, and in May, the company will begin offering rentals of its "Σ(Sigma)" system to its group companies and partner coil centers through the ASP (Application Service Provider) service. With this new service, Metal One intends to strengthen management capabilities for the steel sheet supply chain while minimizing the investment amounts for all those in the group involved in information strategy.

Until now, the coil centers of the Metal One group have been individually operated by member companies under backbone information systems focusing on production management as developed by the respective companies on their own. However, when both steelmakers and steel consumers are increasingly counting on the role of coil centers to perform the function of optimizing the whole supply chain for steel sheets, strengthening the backbone information system to support the core functions of coil centers has become one of the key determinants for their success.

It is the first-ever attempt in the steel distribution industry to make available a backbone system for coil centers on an ASP service basis. Centralizing system operations is expected to result in a substantial reduction (by 20% to 30% as estimated) in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of information systems for individual coil centers.
In May, Suzufuji Steel Service Co., Ltd. (in Funabashi-shi, Chiba) will be the first coil center to adopt the "Σ(Sigma)" system, to be followed by Ohno Kogyo Co., Ltd. (in Chuo-ku, Tokyo), which will start using it in August.

A number of coil centers including SUSTECH Co. Ltd. (in Osaka), which specializes in stainless steel sheets, and MOST Co. Ltd. (in Koto-ku, Tokyo), which handles tinplate, are now studying the possibility of adopting the new system, which is expected to find about 15 recipient clients in the next three years.

Metal One is also considering building up system maintenance arrangements which would make possible both functional improvement and version-up of the system without imposing a heavy cost burden on the participating companies. A key feature of such arrangements will be a consultative group of the coil centers subscribing to the "Σ(Sigma)" system.

The system takes its name from the Greek letter "Σ(Sigma)", used in mathematics to signify the total of a function or calculation, and it is symbolic of the mission, whose aim is to provide the foundation for strengthening the integrated supply chain management capabilities of the entire Metal One group.

Metal One positions this "Σ(Sigma)" system as one of the core systems of the next-generation steel sheet SCM control center system called "METABOLIC "(Metal Business On-Line Collaboration), now in the final stages of planning. As well, the company will endeavor to provide continued upgrading of the "Σ(Sigma)" system, pertinent details of which are described below.

<Details of " Σ(Sigma)" System>
  1. System name: Σ(Sigma)
  2. Available: May 2003
  3. Clientele: Undertakings in which Metal One has a capital stake and partner coil centers
  4. Future plans: To attract in three years' time about 15 clients including businesses in which Metal One has a capital stake and partner coil centers
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