Features

Alex Magdics and Scott Bauer – Majestic Steel USA

High tech solutions ‘unravel’ steel distributor’s efficiency and service

As tech leaders, Alex Magdics and Scott Bauer are both Men of Steel and a Dynamic Duo in their roles at Majestic Steel.

Superman and Batman comics aside, they have teamed up to provide technology innovations and solutions for Majestic Steel for more than a decade.

Bauer, who was the first full-time IT employee when hired by the company in 2000, is director of business systems development. He and his team of 12 focus on application and web development while managing data.

Alex Magdics and Scott Bauer – Majestic Steel USA

Alex Magdics and Scott Bauer – Majestic Steel USA

Magdics, the director of business systems operations and security, joined Majestic Steel in 2012. He and his team of four manage the IT infrastructure, security and networking that allow Bauer and his team to run the applications.

Together, the teams have produced award-winning apps allowing customers to determine how much steel is needed for a project and another that helps them manage inventory and reorder automatically.

“We design and build our own software and we’re working-class IT directors by choice,” Magdics says.

A steely horse

Approaching its 45th anniversary, Majestic Steel is named after Majestic Prince, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness horse races before finishing second in the Belmont Stakes in 1969. The company was founded near Cleveland in Bedford Heights, Ohio, in 1979 by Dennis Leebow to distribute steel throughout the U.S.

The company provides customers in industries including energy, electrical, transportation and HVAC services with galvanized, stainless, cold-rolled and aluminized steel.

After doubling the capacity of the Ohio distribution plant to accommodate 180 trucks per day in 2001, Majestic Steel began expanding by adding two Texas distribution centers to service Houston and Dallas in 2013. In 2018, the company acquired Titan Metal Services in Tampa, Florida, and in 2020, it acquired P&S Metals, based in Las Vegas.

Alex Magdics and Scott Bauer – Majestic Steel USA

Majestic Steel also has distribution centers in the California cities of Fontana and Pittsburg, and Longview, Washington. In late 2022, it opened a distribution center across the Mississippi River from Memphis in Blytheville, Arkansas.

Bauer and Magdics say the new Arkansas facility has allowed Majestic Steel to enter new markets and add state-of-the-art cranes and cutting machines to meet steel orders.

“We’ve been able to add state-of-the-art infrastructure technology that allows us to cohesively connect to the manufacturing equipment,” Magdics says.

Apps and AI

As operations in Arkansas reach full capacity this year, Magdics is helping refine the customer ordering process with Microsoft’s Power Automate. He and his team are using its artificial intelligence modeling for importing certificates with specifications about steel provided by mills into the customer relationship management component of the enterprise resource planning system. Using AI will speed up ordering, Magdics says.

Additionally, he and Bauer are eager to add more AI and machine learning to the company’s tech capabilities and have begun incorporating them into the IT help desk and company’s desktop computers with features such as chat bots.

They both say adding tech innovations, including apps enabling customers to calculate how much steel they need or to manage inventory and reorder automatically, can get complicated. This is because they need to work around production schedules for steel mills in order to have the quantity and selection customers need. Adding the data about production schedules to the CRM was a crucial first step, Bauer says, and also an enjoyable learning experience for him (it was done before Magdics was hired).

Alex Magdics and Scott Bauer – Majestic Steel USA

Bauer and Magdics launched the Unravel Coil Calculator app in 2012. Bauer says the app was created in about four months from “spreadsheet work and institutional knowledge” and needed to include multiple units of measure for steel that’s sold in coils or sheets and different gauges of thickness. It’s used by engineers and buyers in more than 140 countries and has won awards since its launch, including Information Week’s 500 Masters of Technology Award.

In 2017, they launched the Majestic Auto-Restock, an app that allows customers to reorder steel automatically when inventory drops.

“Data is data, it’s what you do with it that matters,” Bauer says. “MICS digitizes the whole process for customers and gives them a real-time understanding of their inventory from the moment it’s received until it leaves the facility.”

Room for tech

As Bauer and Magdics look for the technology edge to keep Majestic Steel growing, they’re always looking for talented recruits to join them. While creating the Unravel app and continuing to work on Power Automate, their teams have also developed the CRM, including pricing capabilities, and the hubs for Majestic Steel’s business groups to link to the ERP.

But recruiting is easier said than done.

“The word ‘steel’ may make it seem like there aren’t opportunities to work with technology,” Bauer says. “But I say this with confidence. It’s unmatched and people are blown away by what we have to offer them.”

Alex Magdics and Scott Bauer – Majestic Steel USA

Bauer and Magdics each grew up with a fondness for tinkering that led them to work in technology. Bauer, who earned his bachelor’s degree in science from Oregon State University, also worked as a cabinet maker and owned Oasis Custom Homes before joining Majestic Steel.

Magdics has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of South Florida and development and leadership experience with companies including Third Federal Savings and Loan, Rosetta and OM Group Inc.

“We’re unique in the steel vertical,” Bauer says. “In my world, we build applications to capture complexities.”

“We’re not your ordinary steel company,” Magdics adds. “We embrace technology and we’re innovators in the space, by embracing new technologies like AI and IoT, we can transform the steel industry and create a more sustainable, efficient and profitable future.”

View this feature in the Summer I 2023 Edition here.

Published on: July 25, 2023

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