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Your Supplier Has a Rust Policy. Do You?

Rust policies? We can almost hear the collective readership scream out, “But it’s galvanized! It shouldn’t rust at all!”

While it’s true that galvanized steel does have rust protection built into its DNA, many in the industry aren’t aware that there’s a timeframe for rust claims.

So, how do you know if you’re covered?

“Each mill has its own policy, and it really depends on the investigation,” says Jeff Reall, Supplier Quality Manager at Majestic Steel.

The investigation that he’s referring to includes providing concrete evidence for defects that result from issues like abnormal shifting in transit, or the load being wet when received, to name just two.

Almost always, the customer is responsible for following receiving protocol from the manufacturer, and then documenting these issues on arrival of the material if it’s found to be at fault.

When specific protocol isn’t followed as outlined by the policy, any potential damage could shift from being the supplier’s responsibility to the receiver’s – a costly mistake that many companies can’t afford to make.

To give a specific example, let’s take a look at Worthington Steel’s Rust Damage Claims Policy. In the policy, it specifically states that protective packaging should not be removed for a minimum of 72 hours from time of receipt.

The reason, of course, is to allow the steel to reach ambient temperature, and minimize condensation on the coil, which can cause extensive rust.

Failure to follow this protocol could likely void your warranty with the supplier, putting the cost of the damaged coil on your shoulders.

Nuances like storage rust can also change dramatically from one supplier to the next, so its important to check individual policies to ensure you’re covered in the case of a defect.

In the case of Worthington, for instance, storage rust is accepted within 3 months of the delivery date, except when ordered dry. However, Duferco’s contingencies say that unprocessed material at a customer’s facilities has only 60 days before its subject to decline.

If you don’t know the specific timeframes allotted for individual suppliers, you could find yourself in hot water if you need to file a claim.

So, how can you minimize your risk, and stay in the clear?

1. Read your claims policies regularly, as suppliers may change information from time to time.

2. Implement stringent receiving procedures across your organization. These should include strict material checks on all incoming products and the immediate documentation of any issues. A good habit to get into is to take pictures of the material ON the truck before unloading.

3. If you do find an issue, it’s imperative that you document it in photos, or videos, and provide detailed descriptions of the issue.

4. Always keep an up-to-date log that includes the supplier’s coil number, claim weight, current size, current dimensions, and current condition. You’ll need this information to support your claim in the case of a defective condition.

5. Prioritize processing of materials with shorter claim lengths.

6. Information about a defect should be reported to the supplier immediately.

7. Understand who is at fault. For example, railways are often responsible for damage caused during transit, while mills may be responsible for solution stains caused during processing.

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