A steel service center is a facility that purchases raw steel materials from a steel manufacturing company and sells it to a customer. Often, steel service centers will process the steel into a usable product that the customer can use directly out of the box or that only requires a small amount of modification before the final pieces are finished. A steel service center acts as a facilitator between steel manufacturing companies and the factories and companies that actually use the steel parts to create new products.
A steel service center is a somewhat new concept to the world of manufacturing. In the 1930s, less than 10 percent of all steel traveled through the hands of a steel service center. Today, up to 45 percent of all steel products travel through steel service centers. This is largely due to the implementation of Material Requirements Planning programs that require the delivery of production-ready metals to complete manufacturing processes sooner. Most metal manufactured and used in the United States has encountered a steel service center at one point in the production process.