BlueScope Lysaght

Australia’s premier manufacturer and distributor of quality steel building products decreased price-book production time by 60% with Typefi.

BlueScope Lysaght is a rollforming specialist manufacturing the LYSAGHT® range of quality building products from Australian-made materials, including steel roofing and wall cladding, guttering and fascia, steel fencing, purlins and structural formwork.

A business unit of BlueScope Australia and New Zealand, BlueScope Lysaght employs over 800 staff across Australia. As well as extensive product development and engineering operations, the business has sales offices in all capital cities and many regional towns, and distribution outlets nationwide.

From its head office in Sydney, New South Wales, a team of 20 people from the Pricing and Sales divisions manages BlueScope Lysaght’s publishing operations. This includes production of the business’s 150-page product pricing catalogues—known as price-books—which are issued to its seven regional sales offices.

The challenge: Seven price-books for seven sales regions

BlueScope Lysaght produces seven different versions of the price-book on each release; these versions are customised to suit each sales region, as products and prices vary across Australia.

For example, tropical regions in Queensland and the Northern Territory need products that are cyclone-proof and resistant to extreme heat and humidity, while the cooler climate regions in the south require their own specific set of building materials.

Pricing data from the database was manually re-keyed by one person per region to produce each 150-page document, a process which took three weeks. 10,000 copies were then printed and shipped to the regional offices around Australia.

The entire production process took three months, and a price change made during production could mean significant rework.

In 2010, BlueScope Lysaght sought a solution to replace its inefficient and expensive production process, and selected Typefi.

Automatic and instantaneous updates for product data

BlueScope Lysaght’s project team developed an interface to integrate its central product database with Typefi’s API. (In basic terms, an API—or application programming interface—is a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing web-based software.)

Up-to-date price data from the database is now exported in XML format, mapped to the price-book data structure, and the correct data is merged into each version of the price-books and run through Typefi to produce PDFs.

Page samples from BlueScope Lysaght's price-books. One page contains complex tables with specifications and pricing for components. The other page is a table of contents with images.

Vincent Motte, Information Systems Manager for BlueScope Lysaght, described the implementation process as “trouble-free”.

“It took only two months to be up and running smoothly,” he said.

The new publishing system enables automatic and instantaneous updating of product data, and completely eliminates the need for a manual re-keying process.

Production time now takes as little as four weeks from start to finish—less than a third of the time required previously.

Multiple outputs, faster production, lower costs, happier staff and satisfied customers

The production team also quickly realised how simple it was to use Typefi to produce both a printable PDF and an email-optimised PDF with just the click of a button. The preferred method of price-book distribution is now email, with only a few hundred going to print each release—a massive reduction from the 10,000 copies being printed previously.

With savings in production time and lower printing and distribution costs, the total reduction in the cost of producing the price-books has been measured at just over 70%.

Vincent Motte explained that the staff members previously engaged in the three-week re-keying process are now “free to do more important work”, while BlueScope Lysaght’s customers are much happier to receive their updated price-books in a more timely manner.

“From the trouble-free implementation to enabling us to streamline and modernise our systems, to achieving considerable time and cost savings, it’s been a great project,” Vincent said.

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