Nucor Corporation is the largest producer of steel in the United States with the capacity to produce 27 tons of steel if needed and the largest steel producer in North America's largest recycler as well. Nucor has 200 operating facilities and 90 businesses that operate separately, but compete collectively and are the sole owners of Harris Steel, The David J. Joseph Company, and Skyline Steel, yet they only have 100 people working in their corporate office with a few layers of management between the CEO and the Frontline.
Impressive as these numbers are the real reason that I chose to write about this company as they are a great example of a company that applies the five practices of ...view middle of the document...
Engaging the Employees
Nucor believes that their employees are their most valuable asset and are the ones that are responsible for the innovated culture and the competitive edge that the company has established. The path to taking care of their employees begins with safety. They have an established safety team at every plant they own that is made up of workers from different departments who meet regularly to share best practices and receive advanced training.
Next, Nucor has eliminated hierarchy at their plants. For example their headquarters is only has five layers of management and 95 people. Their belief is that teammates not management drive their success.
In addition, to sharing the bad times they also empower their employees as each facility has the freedom to run theirs the way that they see best when it comes to their operations and meeting their customers' needs. This culture inspires employees to present their ideas if they have a better process or speak up if they see a potential safety hazard. The workers also have the freedom to try new process without the getting permission from the managers as Nucor believes that this freedom encourages innovation.
The compensation system that is in place at Nucor is tied to the amount of steel that is produced each day and for management how well the company does overall. It is Nucor belief that employees are more engaged and perform better if they are paid for their productivity and their productivity records prove this statement to be true. This equality and empowerment of employees are apparent everywhere as when times get tight and the workers must take a cut so do the management.
All of this has resulted in happy employees that feel comfortable suggesting ideas, and are committed to the company. They work hard and continuously try to improve the product as they are treated equally and compensated fairly for their efforts. They also know that their safety will not be jeopardized at the cost of the almighty dollars, therefore, are not afraid to stop the work process at any time if it is unsafe which results in the safe environment for everyone at Nucor.
Nucor and Innovation
One of Nucor's biggest successes is the mini mill. This was pioneered and made popular by Nucor. These mini mills use scrap metal as their main raw material source and they produce 60% of the U.S. Steel production. The electric arc furnace, which is a 90 to 150 megawatt powerhouse, is what drives the mini mill. The electric arc furnace can change 130-170 tons of scrap and iron into liquid steel in less than one hour and can hold the equivalent of three crushed cars. This EAF enables Nucor to recycle around 1200 pounds of steel every second of every hour of everyday.
Nucor's second innovation was thin slab casting which uses a method...