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Broder Metals Group makes an educational debut

At Broder Metals Group, we see ourselves as a fairly humble company. That’s why we were surprised to be approached by Hodder Education, endorsed by Oxford and Cambridge to talk about our business for one of their school textbooks!

The OCR Business Studies book is meant to prepare GCSE students for their final exams and the world of Business, providing real life examples for their learning. As a Steel Stockist that has survived the oil collapse (and plenty more obstacles thrown at us!) Broder Metals Group were asked to speak about how to tackle and prevent cash flow problems.

Here’s the suggestions we made:

    • Reduce stock – even if selling some items at a loss if necessary.
    • Talk to suppliers – cancel or delay orders, or ask for a reduction in price where possible
    • Make general cutbacks

And most importantly:

  • speak to the bank pre-empting any likely problems, not when one arises. Use an overdraft so that you have a cash surplus for when you need it.

So there you have it, Broder business acumen for GCSE students (or time constrained adults).

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A summer trip for Broder

 

Here at Broder Metals Group we are a varied bunch. With sport participation ranging from Zumba and HIT training (CC, Chloe) to rock climbing and ballroom dancing (Richard Andrews) it can be hard to find an event that pleases everyone, unspoken football team rivalry aside. Mike however felt he had hit it on the head with the Scarborough Cricket Festival. A cheap, all day event which is basically sitting in the sun, drinking, and watching an easy to follow sport couldn’t be better, surely? How wrong.

As soon as Scarborough Cricket Festival was suggested as a summer event a wave of alternative ideas arose. There were suggestions to watch Rotherham (met poorly!), to avoid sports events completely and even to participate in Gaelic football. Soon this descended into complete chaos with the idea to attend an extreme inflatable obstacle course (CC!). A decision was made by Mike to keep to the original plan of Scarborough Cricket Match, regardless of attendees.

The sixth of August arrived and Broder employees scattered over various fixtures, Richard and Mike following the original plan and Sam and Mark choosing their own sporting events.

Mark, Richard and Mike all had a fantastic time following the cricket (Mark at the Old Trafford Test Match, Mike and Richard at Scarborough) whilst the rest of Broder remained neutral and spent their weekends elsewhere. Sam voluntarily drew the short straw, watching the Rotherham v Fleetwood away game, followed by a long and regretful journey home.

In short, over Christmas we have chosen to avoid sports, and stuck to Italian with a local performer.

 

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Introducing… Chloe Smith

Chloe is our youngest and most recent addition to the Broder family, starting her apprenticeship in February at seventeen. Since joining Chloe has very quickly got stuck in, adopting a sales based admin role, getting orders out to our suppliers and customer base.

Outside of Broder Chloe is just as busy; with a supervisory position at McDonalds Chloe spends many of her evenings there during the week, and gives away hours of her precious weekend there too. Her hard work as all been for a good cause however; last week she celebrated her eighteenth birthday, managing an impressive week-long trip in Aiya Napa.

Naturally since finding out where Chloe was planning her holidays we have been anticipating her safe return, and are happy to have her back, all in one piece! More stories please and welcome back, Chloe.

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The Economics of MP35N

As I am sure you will know, the MP35N we hold in our stock is made up of approximately 35% nickel, 35% cobalt, 20% chrome, and 10% molybdenum.  We were intrigued therefore, why the price of cobalt has risen by 87% in the past 6 months, while the price of nickel has declined by 22%, ferro chrome has risen by 18%, and molybdenum has increased by 2%.

From aesthetic to essential

electric car

Energy saving technology such as electric cars are one of the largest strains on cobalt resources

Cobalt has been used for centuries to give a deep blue hue to pottery, paint and jewellery, but the answer for this volatility (and implications for the future) appears more than anything to be the huge growth in electric car development and production, and the fact that cobalt has become a crucial metal used in the production of batteries.

Shifting demands

A BBC article (“Could you cope with smartphone rationing?” by Ian Hardy, Technology of Business reporter) recently estimated that about half of all cobalt demand now comes from the expansion of electric vehicle production and development worldwide. Supply of cobalt has not ke

pt pace with the increase in demand and basic economics explains the huge increase in price. Lara Smith, managing director of Core Consultants, a commodities researcher, said: “In 2016, the supply of cobalt was about 104,000 tonnes and demand was about 103,500. The hybrid and electric vehicles are in a nascent growth phase, so as we continue along this track we expect there to be a greater and greater deficit.”

Reclaiming used resources

Only 2% of cobalt is mined directly – 98% of it is produced as a by-product of nickel and copper mining. About two thirds of the supply comes from Africa’s Congo region. However, as the price of metals used in battery production rises, there will be a growing interest in increasing supply via recycling of used batteries. Apple is a leader in this field, using robots to disassemble used iPhones to recover and reuse many of the materials used, such as cobalt, indium and gold.  But will this be enough to level equalise demand and supply?

The future of MP35N

apple's "liam" lithium recycling robot

Apple have invested in robots which recycle precious materials such as cobalt

The implications for us: the price of Cobalt makes up about 15% of the cost of MP35N. A rise of 87% in the cost of Cobalt therefore will lead to a not insignificant increase in the price of MP35N.  The value proposition of MP35N based around the chemistry and manufacturing process still make it an alloy in demand for applications requiring high strength, hardness and corrosion resistance in components that will last far longer than those made of “cheaper” alloys like Alloy 718. However, cost cannot rise without implications on the demand and supply of MP35N itself, and the availability of cobalt will become yet another “interesting” aspect to consider when we decide what metals to stock in future.

Any further questions?

For more information on Broder Metals Group or any other enquiries please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, follow us on one of our social networks on LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

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A Broder Baby!

Our “introducing…” series of blogs has been put on hold for this month to make way for some fantastic news…

We have been very excited over the last few weeks after finding out that Maria, our assistant accountant is due to have a baby! Five months along Maria made sure to be certain before letting us know, and after a peculiar prediction from a fortune teller, and a confirmed scan at the doctors Maria has revealed that she will be expecting a girl this winter! Congratulations Maria!

Maria on a night outThe announcement made quite a stir in the office, and true to form Mike has been sure to stop any baby talk in its tracks, with CC monopolising on this and introducing an immediate £1 fine for every mention of the “b-word”. All proceeds have gone to CC’s beloved new bench (not Maria’s daughter’s college fund!) making CC almost as happy as Maria.

We have had lots of fun on the way, with Sam managing to trip himself up several times in attempt to catch the team out, so far contributing the largest amount of all. With just over four months to go, there’s big plans for the fine money- a gazebo, outside heater and everything short of an amusement park has been mentioned (baby proofed of course). Hopefully there’s some hidden in there for Maria’s baby gifts too…

Joking aside we wish Maria every luck in starting her family and introducing a new baby into the world. Congrats Maria!

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