Chris Cole, CEO of Intelligrated, said during a press conference at ProMat 2011 on Tuesday that he is more "bullish" on the material handling market than he was even at the turn of the year.
Cole said a strong fourth-quarter numbers published by the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association showed market improvement from a year earlier. Since those numbers were published, Cole said that he has only gained more confidence in the market.
Cole believes that the increased demand for material handling equipment and services is actually being driven by business issues and requirements outside of the distribution center. Instead of measuring DCs in terms of cost per carton, Intelligrated customers are now looking at total costs and are seeking DC solutions that, for example, reduce costs or improve product availability at retail locations, said Cole. "They are saying we need more productivity, and logistics is the way to do it," he said. "The bottom line is that it is less about growth than about improving productivity."
In addition to growing sales in the United States, Intelligrated is seeing growth in Canada and throughout Latin America, according to Cole.
Cole's comments came as he and other executives from Intelligrated and Swisslog spoke about their recently announced strategic alliance. The alliance, announced last week, is designed to offer integrated material handling products for the food, beverage, and retail markets.
Markus Schmidt, senior vice president of Swisslog Logistics, said the alliance made sense as the companies provide "a complementary set of offerings." Schmidt said the companies have completed several cooperative efforts over the last five years.
Intelligrated Senior Vice President Jim McKnight added that they had collaborated on six projects with a total value of $150 million.