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Straightline Unveils 2003 Expansion Plans

After a Year of Dramatic Growth, U. S. Steel's Technology-Enabled Distribution Division Signals Expansion for 2003


After an inaugural year of steady growth, Straightline Source has announced its 2003 expansion plans that include new product offerings, greater geographic coverage and improved service capabilities designed to make customers more efficient while driving down their steel procurement costs.

Launched as a division of United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X) late in 2001, Straightline is the first steel distribution business created to serve customers of all sizes through a network of processing, supply and logistics partners, linked together on a single technology platform.

Tom Usher, chairman and chief executive officer of U. S. Steel Corporation stated, "I'm pleased to report that Straightline has grown from a handful of test partners in the Carolinas to more than 700 buying customers across 34 states today."

"In 2003, Straightline intends to dramatically expand with new catalog product additions, new on-line services, new processor and supplier partnerships and new service regions," said Straightline President Bob Dryburgh. "Our efforts will continue to focus on reducing costs for our customers while improving productivity through supply-chain innovation."

Straightline is planning to expand its service reach into Texas, initially, and later extend to the western United States through additions to its network of suppliers and strategically located processors. In addition, Straightline intends to extend its catalog product offerings to include galvalume, galvaneal and aluminized products.

Straightline also plans to implement technology innovation beyond the current services of StraightQuote™ and StraightEdge™ with new Web-based services that will make steel purchasing and inventory management easier and more convenient. These will include expanded services for flexible ordering and delivery management, real-time transaction alerts, interactive forecasting and part file management, private catalogs and eRFQ capabilities.

Strong Achievements in 2002

Straightline currently is available to customers in 34 states throughout the East, and west of the Mississippi from Oklahoma to Minnesota, reaching nearly 80 percent of the domestic steel-buying market. More than 5,700 companies have registered to do business with Straightline. StraightQuote, which allows transactional steel buyers to choose their price based on differing combinations of quantity and delivery date, is handling 400 requests for quotations a day.

Dryburgh characterized the company's growth in 2002 as "a testament to the viability of our business model, given that we launched during a year of significant change in the supply marketplace. Our customer base is expanding by design, and we continue to enjoy strong repeat-purchase business in the spot sector, a key metric of customer satisfaction."

Dryburgh added, "A growing number of our customers are conducting business on a contractual basis." Especially for those contractual customers, StraightEdge was introduced in October to provide real-time information reporting and applications to help them manage their steel supply. StraightEdge lowers the overall cost of materials procurement and management for processed steel products by improving supply chain management on a just- in-time-basis.

More recently, Straightline achieved QS 9000:1998 and ISO 9002:1994 certification, internationally recognized standards of quality management systems. Through this voluntary certification process Straightline demonstrated its compliance with quality management systems that consistently provide products that meet demands of exacting customers, enhance customer satisfaction and ensure continuous improvement.

This release contains forward-looking statements with regards to anticipated plans. Whether such plans will be implemented and the timing of such implementation will depend upon a number of factors, many of which are beyond the control of Straightline Source and United States Steel Corporation. Among the factors that could influence these developments are market conditions, costs, shipment levels, pricing and the ability to enter into necessary contracts with suppliers and processors. These factors in turn are influenced by many things including import levels, future product demand, prices and mix, global and company steel production, and the resumption of operation of steel facilities sold under the bankruptcy laws. In accordance with "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, cautionary statements identifying important factors, but not necessarily all factors, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements have been included in the Form 10-K of United States Steel Corporation for the year ended December 31, 2001, and in subsequent filings by United States Steel Corporation.


SOURCE: Straightline Source

CONTACT: Maggie Bray of Magnet Communications, +1-412-456-4308 or, for Straightline Source

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