Intelligrated, a provider of intelligent automated material handling systems for distribution and fulfillment, reported record sales in 2014 and expects 2015 to be another record year with double-digit sales growth, company executives said at a press briefing Tuesday. Bookings exceeded plan by just under 11 percent. To support that growth, the company hired more than 300 new employees in 2014 and has already hired about 200 so far this year, said CEO Chris Cole.
The ongoing shift to e-commerce and omnichannel business models is the main reason for the rapid increase in Intelligrated's sales. Companies are spending a lot of money on material handling systems that will help them "up their game" in direct-to-consumer order fulfillment and home delivery, Cole said. Another factor is that companies are having difficulty finding qualified labor to perform repetitive tasks; they see automation as a way to eliminate high rates of personnel turnover while improving efficiency, Cole added.
Following a review of the company's sales performance, executives provided a product and service overview, including a look at software trends such as the development of warehouse execution systems (WES), which Kevin Roach, who heads up Intelligrated's software division, described as the kind of "major advance that comes along every few decades."
Equipment on display reflected an e-commerce environment. A new product introduced at ProMat was the Intelligrated one-level shuttle (OLS) system. The system offers scalability and flexibility, with shuttles able to serve a single dedicated row or multiple levels. It can handle a wide variety of tote types and carton sizes, and can store and retrieve items from single up to quadruple-deep storage. It is especially suited for direct-to-consumer businesses and can also sequence goods for palletizing and mixed-case loads, said Chris Lingamfelter, vice president, integrated system sales and strategy.