National and international leaders from the materials handling and intralogistics technology industry say that the efficiency of Australia’s supply channels is critical to the country’s future economic prospects.
However, the sector is in a two-speed race; where some companies have already invested in world-class automated processes and machinery, while others are still using low level tracking with outdated and inefficient systems.
Leading experts from around the country and globe have gathered to share insights from the supply chain management, materials handling and intralogistics industry, to spark conversations and debate about an industry which underpins much of Australia’s economy, and keeps businesses operating to the best of their ability.
Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, Australian Logistics Council, who is speaking at CeMAT says that the most pressing issue facing Australia’s logistics industry is the need for greater focus on measures to improve safety and efficiency.
“The efficiency of Australia’s supply chains is critical to Australia’s future economic prospects, whether it be getting our exports to our ports, consumer goods to our supermarkets or delivering products to our doors. The volume of freight going through our ports and airports will grow inexorably over the next 30 years, with Infrastructure Australia predicting a 165% increase in containerised trade from 2011 to 2031.
“Research by Australian Logistics Council and ACIL Allen has found the industry represents 8.6 per cent of Australia’s GDP and employs over 1.2 million Australians. ALC also estimates that a 1% increase in supply chain efficiency can deliver a $2bn benefit to Australia’s economy,” said Mr Kilgariff.
Underpinning the top consumer, retail and food industries are high performing intralogistics and materials handling systems, says Sarah Haughey, Show Director for CeMAT Australia.
“This week, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, we will demonstrate the latest innovations by leading providers, which keep the country running efficiently,” said Haughey.
Lloyd Hussey, Solutions Consultant at International Business Systems said that in Australia we have good access to, and adoption of the latest technology amongst the larger businesses.
“We see our larger companies embracing continuous improvement and lean principals to improve their operations. This will help them meet the greatest challenges of the next 30 years, which I believe is the transition into more robotic and automated technology, changing our workforce requirements.”
Milan Vjestica, Head of Sales and Marketing, GM of Sales and Consulting at Swisslog, agrees that technology has a critical role to play in managing the demands of growth, but also needs to be used to maintain quality customer service.
“The challenges our industry faces are related to the understanding of how to successfully deploy technology, being able to plan for the direction of the company and addressing the time pressures from the market. The adoption of strategies such as big data and the embracing of concepts such as “Industrie 4.0” to deliver competitive advantage will help us all meet new challenges,” said Mr Vjestica.
David Quayle, Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand at Apex supply chain technology, says that while business evolves to meet the needs of their customers, they need to also manage costs to ensure they are competitive in a growing global marketplace.
“This means investment in technologies to process and handle orders more quickly and accurately as well as managing the reverse logistics effectively. From a cost perspective, every element of cost must be examined to identify where they can be removed or reduced with no detrimental effect on productivity,” said Mr Collyer.
Michael Kemeny, Business Area Manager, Australia from KNAPP adds: “Businesses need to ensure that whatever systems they put in place, they are able to be adapted to changing requirements and processes. This could be a sudden rise in e-commerce orders or change in retail customer numbers.”