As minimill technology becomes more sophisticated, their quality and other disadvantages would reduce and they would start competing with integrated manufacturing even in the high-end markets. Unfortunately for USS, there is no silver bullet. Since USS is already invested in the market, they will have to go through a difficult, and expensive, change, or they will end up perishing as the industry changes around them. USS current decided to stay with conventional continuous casting technology simply because they were looking at the shorter-term future, and was not willing to take the financial hit and risk associated with a new disruptive technology. Additionally, they were tying themselves to the requirements of the current customers, and ignoring potentially new users for the future.
Did USS team get the right answer to the wrong question? What if, rather than whether USS should install CSP in Mon Valley, Kappmeyer has asked whether USS should invest in or participate in this technology? Would you have answered that question differently than you did when the problem was framed as Mon Valley issue?
¢ What should USSs next technological move be? Should USS take another long shot to leapfrog ahead of Nucor? Or should it get on the ground neck-to-neck with Nucor, employing a viable commercial technology as soon as possible incrementally improving CSP?
¢ Christensen (1995). Disruptive technologies: Catching the wave, HBR