ALS TALKS ABOUT THE MATERIAL HANDLING INDUSTRY
- What is the impact of macroeconomic conditions on the growth of the materials handling industry in the Middle East?
With open borders and global economic developments, businesses are always changing and looking for innovative solutions to stay up-to-date and competitive on the market. Warehouse automation, with its sophisticated technologies such as ASRS, variety of conveyor systems, transfer vehicles and modern IT-solutions, is one of the attributes of the successfully operating distribution & production centres. According to the latest forecasts, the world cargo flow steadily grows that gives opportunity for ALS to provide logistic solutions in the Middle East. Talking about the Middle East, being a logistic hub, in this part of the world you need to be accurate, reliable, prompt, operative and leading – that is the keys of success and that is what ALS stands for.
- What trends in logistics / warehousing / distribution are effecting materials handling?
First of all, it is Internet of things, where there is a direct machine-to-machine communication. Internet of things allows to build and set up effective and progressive solutions for intralogistics, for example, coordination between conveyors and ASRS.
Secondly, we could say that the green technologies started to be considered more. Energy-saving solutions are in high demand and we have provided to a few customers in the region solutions that can be considered Green Technology which re-generate power to be pushed back into the grid, once this becomes applicable with the local provider.
We can as well notice that people started realizing the impact of automation, which makes automation itself as a trend. The implementation of automation nowadays enables new opportunities and markets for logistic operators.
- Where are the bottlenecks in handling materials and how can they be removed?
From our experience, we always recommend clients to understand and evaluate the need, the capacity required and material flow level. The basic planning and understanding what you would like to receive at the end sometimes is crucial. We have always been a good advocate for automation but this is not the only solution. Some customers do not require fast and dense material flow and others have huge bottlenecks in their operation which requires a very high level of Automation to deliver on time.
ALS usually keeps in mind whilst designing a facility enough space and opportunity for a client to expand the facility in case of need in future and not to redesign the whole site from A to Z.
- How does effective materials handling add value to the management of logistics and supply chain?
Here we usually use the quote of Bill Gates: “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
What does it mean for ALS? Sometimes automation is not the answer to all ways to increase throughput. Material handling management varies from client to client, from facility to facility.
- What role can automation and technology play in enhancing the handling of materials?
Thinking about company development, every player in the logistics market at least once came up with idea of automation. Taking a strategically important decision, warehouse management should weigh the pros and cons. Automation in logistic centres mainly bring benefits to operational processes including space savings, lower building costs, improved productivity, more efficient material flow, less manpower, safer operations, reductions in inventory, increased reliability, reduced running costs, better ROI and lower lifecycle cost etc… Talking about disadvantages, we need to mention that automation implementation is a very costly process, and the financial aspect is usually the main concern. That’s where an experienced and reputed consultant would offer the proper advice.
- What innovations can we expect to see in materials handling sector in the future?
Every day we see new innovations in the industry; we always work to improve our deliverables to our customers and offer a state of the art solution as well as some competitors do.
The ideas are numerous with some of them implemented already and others are still under study. I cannot point out at this moment what we can see in the future but I can confirm that we, as materials handling systems providers, are always working on new ideas to offer a cutting edge system to our customers.
- Any other comments about materials handling in the Middle East?
The Middle East is first-to-be in a every field area. Material handling in the Middle East is one of the leading, being an example for other countries to follow and share the experience.