Warehousing boom lifts demand for material handling equipment

  • Articles
  • May 29,23
Rise in Grade A warehousing demand is leading to growth in material handling equipment (MHE) industry. For smooth and efficient movement of materials, companies are opting automated MHE to remain competitive and reduce the expenses as warehouses grow vertically, says Rakesh Rao.
Warehousing boom lifts demand for material handling equipment

Though there is a sense of normalcy after the Covid pandemic shock, the world is still facing its tremors with the supply chain remaining disrupted. In this uncertain time, the Just-in-Time (JIT) strategy adopted by companies and warehouses earlier simply does not work anymore. “In this new environment, keeping minimal stock holdings and only buying what’s necessary to service customer requirements in the short term just isn’t effective enough due to sea freight shortages, order profile changes, supply chain challenges and difficulties in staffing warehouses. Any slight disruption can leave a business without stock and unable to adequately supply the market,” observes Carsten Spiegelberg, Managing Director Middle East and Africa, Schaefer Systems - which specialises in warehouse automation technology to improve efficiency and reduce cost.

Despite the pandemic shock and supply chain challenges, the market for warehousing has been rising in India with market expected to reach Rs 2,872 billion by 2027 from Rs 1,206 billion in 2021, growing at a CAGR of about 15.64 per cent. Demand for Grade A warehousing has been witnessing phenomenal growth as they provide sufficient docking stations, MHEs/heavy vehicle movement as well as multi-modal connection amongst other facilities.

Warehouses are an integral part of the logistics chain. They not only provide room for storing products but also play an important role in providing space for packaging, docking, and drawing out products so that the delivery time is reduced. “Warehouses are generally considered to be godowns. But the traditional ways of a godown have to get upgraded with appropriate processes, technology, and other amenities if one wants to be considered a serious player in the market. Grade A warehouse have attributes such as semi-automated to fully automated, faster delivery with lesser manpower, good location, better inventory management, efficient reverse logistics management, and seamless distribution of goods. And this is what Bobba Logistics is all poised to deliver to clients,” states Chandrakala Bobba, Director, Bobba Group.


Efficiency: Reducing high supply chain cost

Rising warehouses market is generating more demand for material handling equipment (MHE). According to Statista, the market size of material handling equipment in India is expected to touch 16.8 thousand units in 2030 from the present 7.7 thousand units. Explaining the importance of advanced MHE in modern warehouses & logistics operations, Balajee Bobba, Director, Bobba Group, says, “The adoption of various solutions in our operations has a two-fold effect. First, they improve our efficiency & productivity, and reduce dwell time by completing the operational process. Two, with improved efficiency, we are able to provide fast and clean delivery of products to our customers. This, in turn, helps them better plan their supply chain schedules along with reduced lead times; thus, indirectly reducing their cost.”

Industry experts observe that companies do not give equal importance to the supply chain as they are giving to the other aspects of business like marketing, advertising etc. India reportedly spends 13-14 per cent of its GDP on logistics costs, compared to the global average of around eight per cent. “The government is aiming to bring down this cost to 9 per cent in coming years, but one cannot do this without establishing a proper system. Palletisation is an important activity in supply chain management. Companies have to open their mindsets and understand the fact that they don’t need labour for the supply chain. All the developed countries are using palletisation for moving their products. We should also look forward to it in order to compete with the best of the world,” explains Sunu Mathew, Managing Director, LEAP India.

Carsten Spiegelberg adds, “The most frequently discussed issues within the sector often revolve around the need for extra pallet racking, more space to store more products and the speed to handle and pick the products efficiently and accurately. These issues highlight the business operations challenges as well as their ability to grow the business and future-proof the business model. For warehouses that need to equip its operation to support an omni-channel business, the gap in the efficiency and accuracy of supplying to such channels become more apparent and, in most cases, manual picking and handling of the goods/operations tends to lose out in the long run.”

Rising vertically

Safety is often overlooked while handling material movement. “People ignore factors such as human fatigue, human safety, product safety, etc, when material handling equipment investment comes into picture. Since material handling is non-revenue generating activity, people give last preference for investment. Everyone must understand the value of safety in terms of effective material handling,” explains Ravi Hissaria, MD, Tippers & Trailers India Pvt Ltd.

With horizontal space getting squeezed, warehouses in India are moving faster to vertical racking. “Previously we used to have a height of 14 to 15 ft, but now we have moved to 32 ft. We have also started to use pallets. Currently, single deep racking, double deep racking, ASRS (Automated supply chain racking system) etc are in trend. There are great technological advantages happening in racking,” says Sunu Mathew.

Manpreet Sachdev, Founder & CEO, Elite Material Handling Co, adds, “The storage is moving vertical due to cost of space increasing and material is moved in all areas to store, operate and retrieve. Customers are optimising space to the maximum and they need our advice to help them save the space and cost.”

Companies have started to use the Kirby structure which is a dome-type structure in warehousing. “They are also using forklifts, very narrow aisle (VNA) trucks, etc. In MHE, the market is shifting from lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion batteries in order to be more environmentally friendly,” observes Mathew.


Gaining competitive edge with technology

The biggest shift for warehouse operations moving toward semi or fully automated process probably came from the shift in consumer purchasing behavior; especially online buying. “Whether it is business to business e-commerce or consumer e-commerce, the online retail space is elevating the process from a “direct-to-store” model to a “direct-to-customer” approach. We hope to be able to assist businesses seeking to optimise their logistics operations to implement a sound and flexible approach towards automation. Eventually, the automated solution must be able to support the customers’ business growth and expand their distribution network in their region,” opines Carsten Spiegelberg.

The need for automated material handling equipment is being augmented by the growing number of product offerings and start-ups in numerous industries. “The demand for material handling equipment is in upswing as there is always a shortage for labour and companies are in process to minimise manual operation. We are seeing the logistic industry is improving its efficiency with hi-tech equipment. The warehouse space is becoming more modern with customer investing in advanced solutions and trying to optimise space. The key challenge that companies face is how to integrate various systems to ensure safe material movement cost-effectively,” opines Manpreet Sachdev.

The automotive sector has been at the forefront when it comes to investing in material handling, mainly consisting of automated equipment. At the same time, companies in the food and beverage business are employing automated systems more frequently for various manufacturing, packaging, and distribution processes in the area.

Robotics (mobile robots), along with enhanced artificial intelligence (AI feature, is another big thing in material handling arena to watch out for in the future. According to Ravi Hissaria, AI and auto retrieving systems in storage are recent trends in the industry. “In material handling equipment, like cranes, come with many advanced features such as IoT system, human sensors, sway controller control, target positioning, protected areas, end positioning, hook cantering, etc,” he says.

Manpreet Sachdev elaborates, “In future, electric MHE will be the norm as Euro 6 is getting common and other MHE will have less demand and usage. Utility vehicles will also go autonomous where they will work only by artificial intelligence (AI). You can sit in remote location and the equipment will operate with simple command. After a while the system will get trained by itself and do the operation without any external help.”

The growing industrial sectors and e-commerce will require tools to efficiently hand materials. Hence, companies will have to opt for automated MHE to remain competitive and reduce the expenses associated with storage, warehouses and distribution.

(With inputs from Ayushi Khandelwal)

Related Stories

Material Handling Equipment
KKR Acquires majority stake in pallet pooling platform LEAP India

KKR Acquires majority stake in pallet pooling platform LEAP India

The investment builds on strong macroeconomic tailwinds in India that include a focus on modernising, automating, and optimising efficiencies in supply chains and logistics services.

Read more
Material Handling Equipment
Handling efficiently

Handling efficiently

In April 2023, manufacturing activity in India grew the fastest in four months of 2023, driven largely by growth in domestic consumption, and limited impact of rising raw material prices.

Read more
Material Handling Equipment
Warehousing boom lifts demand for material handling equipment

Warehousing boom lifts demand for material handling equipment

Rise in Grade A warehousing demand is leading to growth in material handling equipment (MHE) industry. For smooth and efficient movement of materials, companies are opting automated MHE to remain co..

Read more

Related Products

Dock Leveller

MATERIAL HANDLING EQUIPMENT & STORAGE SYSTEMS

Besto Material Handling Equipments offers a wide range of dock leveller.

Read more

Request a Quote

Multi Tire

MATERIAL HANDLING EQUIPMENT & STORAGE SYSTEMS

SCI Storage Solution offers a wide range of multi tire.

Read more

Request a Quote

Industrial Lifting Equipment

MATERIAL HANDLING EQUIPMENT & STORAGE SYSTEMS

Rana Material Handling Equipments Pvt Ltd offers a wide range of industrial lifting equipment.

Read more

Request a Quote

Hi There!

Now get regular updates from IPF Magazine on WhatsApp!

Click on link below, message us with a simple hi, and SAVE our number

You will have subscribed to our Industrial News on Whatsapp! Enjoy

+91 84228 74016

Reach out to us

Call us at +91 8108603000 or

Schedule a Call Back