Walid Khoury, Managing Director at ALS Logistics, talks about Material Handling, IT and Automation.
Businesses are always changing and looking for innovative solutions to stay up-to-date and competitive in the market. Warehouse automation, with its sophisticated technologies such as Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), variety of conveyor systems, transfer vehicles and modern IT solutions are attributes of a successfully operating distribution and production centre. The latest forecasts show that world cargo flow is growing steadily, allowing ALS to provide logistics solutions in the Middle East, where you need to be accurate, reliable, prompt, operative, and at the forefront of all of the latest trends and developments – This is what ALS is about
To Automate or not to Automate?
I am often asked whether automation is the only solution. Well, I can say from my experience that, while we have always been a good advocate for automation, it is not the only solution. Some customers do not require fast and dense material flow and others have huge bottlenecks in their operation, which require a very high level of automation to deliver on time. ALS always keeps this in mind when designing a facility, ensuring enough space and the opportunity for expansion in the future without the need to redesign the whole site. Whatever the challenge, we always recommend that clients understand and evaluate the need, the capacity required and the material flow level.
We must add value to the management of logistics and the supply chain. This means that sometimes automation is not the answer. Material handling management varies from client-to-client and from facility-to-facility.
How Does a Client Know if Automation Technology Will Benefit Them?
First of all, warehouse management should weigh the pros and cons. Automation in logistics centres mainly brings benefits to operational processes, including space savings, lower building costs, improved productivity, more efficient material flow, less manpower, safer operations, reductions in inventory, increased reliability, reduced running costs, better ROI and lower life-cycle costs. Because automation is a very costly process, the financial aspect is usually the main disadvantage. That’s where an experienced and reputable consultant will offer proper advice.
It’s a fast-moving industry, too. Every day we see innovations, and we are always working to improve and ensure state-of-the-art solutions. The ideas are numerous: some of them are being implemented already, and others are still under study. I cannot predict the future, but I can confirm that we are always working on new ideas to offer cutting- edge systems to our customers.