08 March, 2023

Martin Mokoena on quality and price when it comes to structural steel

“When we talk about structural steel, we're talking about higher carbon steel which is suitable for fabrication or construction,” says Martin Mokoena, Senior Regional Sales Manager: Gauteng, who also looks after Structural Steel nationally, for Macsteel Trading.

Martin is a living breathing Macsteel success story, who started at Macsteel in the Management trainee programme in 2008, and has been building his career in steel ever since.

He explains that structural steel is diverse and may be categorised in light, medium or heavy structural steel.

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Light structural steel is material which usually falls under mild steel. It is easy to work with, with low carbon that we use predominantly in our everyday life. These include round bars, square bars and reinforcing bars, for use for anything from burglar bars to balustrades.

The medium and heavy structural steel is used for any applications that would have to bear a load and would require material test certificates. Examples include steel that would be used for building houses or structures where there's going to be some load on the structure.

This includes the steel used for building malls and warehouses and structures in the mining environment, to name but a few.

These products serve customers who mainly operate in the mining, commercial warehousing, and retail sectors. But Mokoena explains Macsteel also serves a variety of end users. “Then there’s you and me,” he explains, “who on the weekend would go buy some light structural steel from a Macsteel Express or a similar outlet, for domestic use.” For this customer, the man in the street, the most important factor, is price.

For customers who are into the load bearing business - fabricators, construction companies; the most important consideration is the peace of mind that the material will not fail. The steel used in their applications must adhere to the strictest safety standards and therefore, the quality of the material is of pivotal importance. In this economy, however, price remains a consideration and goes in hand with the quality. “It’s about what you get for the price you pay,” says Mokoena.

The state of the economy is making the steel business very competitive and price is crucial to the customers, who fight for projects with very small margins. Macsteel therefore, needs to enable the customer to be competitive, while keeping their own business alive and sustainable.

“We have to drive efficiencies to keep the price as low as possible but not get involved in price wars,” explains Martin. “We have to ensure quality of our products and maintain our reputation for only supplying material that you can trust.”

Macsteel are further differentiated by their stockholding capabilities. When customers require products, they are able to supply and deliver according to their project schedules. Being agile and offering flexibility when the customer needs it most.

The company also offers a wealth of intellectual capital, from metallurgists to engineers, ready to serve their customers. The sales force doesn’t just sell, they offer valuable advice and partnership with their customers.

All of these differentiators prove to their customers that Macsteel is able to partner with them so that they don't just focus on the price or just on quality. Macsteel offers the complete solution.

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