"New National Logistics Policy will act as a growth catalyst"

  • Interviews
  • Sep 30,22
Godrej Material Handling - a business unit of Godrej & Boyce - is one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of forklift trucks and solutions in India. In order to aid India's expansion as a manufacturing hub, the company has introduced many innovative material handling solutions to boost efficiency in supply chain operations. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Anil Lingayat, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Material Handling, explains impact of changes in logistics & warehou

Godrej Material Handling - a business unit of Godrej & Boyce - is one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of forklift trucks and solutions in India. In order to aid India's expansion as a manufacturing hub, the company has introduced many innovative material handling solutions to boost efficiency in supply chain operations. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Anil Lingayat, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Material Handling, explains impact of changes in logistics & warehousing sector on material handling equipment (MHE) market.

How is Godrej & Boyce helping in the efficient and smooth functioning of warehouses?
India is a growing economy that holds massive potential for its warehousing industry, which is expected to fructify over the next few years. E-Commerce has transformed how warehouses are managed in India; warehouses are getting smarter, and more automated and remain essential as they continue to ship thousands of packages every hour. Godrej & Boyce is operating in the warehousing industry through its businesses, which include Godrej Storage Solutions and Godrej Material Handling, and its joint venture with Germany-based Körber AG – Godrej Körber.

The new National Logistics Policy which emphasises standardisation will act as a catalyst in the growth of the warehouse and logistics industry.

The market is dominated by counter-balance forklift trucks. Godrej sensed the opportunity for warehouses more than a decade back and introduced locally manufactured equipment for warehouses such as fully electric stackers and battery-operated pallet trucks. To increase space utilisation, we introduced articulated forklift trucks which can work in less than 2m aisles and can stack up to 12m. This helps to increase pallet locations by more than 70% compared to traditional counterbalance forklift trucks.

Being a leader, it is our responsibility to bring the latest technology to the country which suits Indian conditions. We launched a completely new range of PRO series of Reach trucks in April 2021.

For better utilisation of assets within the warehouse and factories, we launched our fleet management system, Safelog. We also provide various safety accessories which enhance productivity and safety at the workplace.

Is consolidation of warehouses leading to changes in the types of material handling and warehouse equipment used?
The land costs are high in India. The consolidation of warehouses means more space to stack your products which means more cost. The only solution is to go vertical and use minimum space between the aisles. The product such as articulated forklift trucks and reach trucks can work in less than 2 m aisles and 3.2 m respectively and stack up to 12 m. Reach trucks have higher speeds and; thus, are more productive.

To utilise space even better, we provide double deep reach trucks through our partner, Crown who is a world leader in providing warehouse solutions.

For warehouse applications with manufacturing plants, we are the only Indian manufacturer to provide versatile 3-wheel Bravo series with twin motor technology. This modern mobile solution provides the benefits of a counter-balance forklift and works in tight aisles thanks to its zero turning radius.

We have offered our solutions to many leading retail and e-commerce companies in India to meet their increasing demands for higher pallet locations.

Our 3W Bravo is considered a modern mobile solution for logistics within warehouses. It bridges the gap in our range by addressing the growing demand for three-wheeler forklifts in the market. It is easy to operate, safe for the environment, and moves quietly across workspaces. It is specifically designed to drive productivity in demanding operations and narrow spaces. With its compact body and quick operations, it guarantees moving more pallets every hour, round the clock.

Utilising consolidation warehouses improve the supply chain's performance while reducing costs. The primary function of warehouses is to handle goods, and most businesses use equipment such as pallets to manage their storage and movement. Companies are investing in automation to increase warehouse efficiency as the supply chain is consolidated, creating more opportunities for material handling equipment (MHE) suppliers. As the rate of transactions increases in the warehousing market, so will the demand for MHEs such as forklifts. Forklifts handle palletised loads for a quick assortment of commodities in warehouses. Godrej Material Handling has established a dominance in the market by offering locally manufactured forklifts for purchase, lease, and rentals.

What are the factors contributing to the growth of the warehouse automation market?
The warehousing industry is currently undergoing a transformation from traditional to modern infrastructure, with an emphasis on productivity and other evolving factors such as quality, consistency assurance, safety & security of goods, efficiency in operations as well as quick turnarounds. Businesses can fulfil orders more quickly, safely, and predictably with warehouse automation solutions such as autonomous mobile robots (ARMs), drones, and automated storage/retrieval systems than with human workers.

Demand for faster deliveries of products - especially in food, pharma, and other essential goods - has peaked across all markets. As businesses look to exploit such opportunities to expand their market share, investing in automated material handling solutions is an important step to not just surviving but also thriving in a highly competitive and fast-changing environment.

Is the demand for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) growing in the country?
The global increase in e-commerce activity is driving up demand for autonomous mobile robots. Furthermore, factors such as increasing warehouse automation and the rising adoption of these robots across a variety of industries due to their ability to navigate autonomously in dynamic environments are expected to drive market growth.

Furthermore, the rising adoption of automated material handling, as well as trends such as lights-out automation are expected to drive market growth during the forecast period. AMRs can deliver everything from intricate picking fulfilment to managing space efficiency by moving pallets and large payloads not required immediately to remote/free locations on the floor away from the operating zones. The ease of deployment of additional AMRs also helps to rapidly scale up the responsiveness of warehouses to peaks in demand. It enables the movement of more loads efficiently with a full-function control handle and thoughtfully placed switches allowing the operator to intuitively manage all functions.

What are the emerging trends in warehouse management?
Robotic automation has been on the rise in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue as businesses seek to increase productivity while addressing warehousing and supply chain issues. Companies are using automated handling in operational processes to move towards green warehousing and reduce their carbon footprint. As suppliers, vendors and contractors go green with their operations; be it due to pressure from buyers, or simply out of responsible business practices, the need for electric forklifts has been on the rise.

What are your growth plans to further tap (serve) the warehousing sector in India?
Godrej Material Handling will continue to introduce new products and services in the market and invest in developing new technologies to facilitate our customers to increase their productivity and safety at their warehouses for both stand-alone warehouses and warehouses in the manufacturing facilities. We are also building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility which will be operational next year. Going forward, GMH plans to launch autonomous vehicles and adopt advanced AI/ML analytics to help predict conversions and determine which markets to target next.

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