Severstal has announced that it has begun complying with ISO/TS 16949-2002, the first of Russian metallurgical plants to do so. As reported last week by the press service of the company, Anatoly Kruchinin, the company's general director, is set to confirm adoption of a special staged introduction of compliance with the new standard. All units of the metallurgical company will participate, although it will principally affect the production of cold-rolled sheet steel and the rolling mill, which supplies automobile manufacturers.
As noted by the press service, the program has been worked out in accord with the plans of the Russian automobile industry to develop and produce cars that meet European standards. With this in mind, automakers are already stipulating new standards for their sources of assembled vehicles and materials. One of their demands is for their suppliers to work out and introduce a quality-control system that meets the requirements of ISO/TS 16949-2002, the international standard, and to prepare for certification by 2005.
The company stressed that Severstal management is assuming the gradual arrival of Western automobile manufacturers in Russia. The company 'expects to become the natural choice for sheet metal by Ford Motor, General Motors and other companies,' it said.
Severstal is the major supplier of metal products for the Russian auto industry. For example, the Cherepovets combine supplies 50% of all metal used by AvtoVAZ, which requires 1 million tonnes a year. For all of 2002, Severstal shipped approximately 750,000 tonnes of metal products to the auto industry. It is projecting sales of 1 million tonnes of rolled steel to the auto industry in 2003.
Severstal is the largest Russian producer of steel and metal products and the lead enterprise of the Severstal-Group holding. Its production of rolled steel in 2002 rose 5.6% from 2001 at 8.5345 tonnes. The enterprise expects to produce 8.7 million tonnes this year.