Material Handling

Amana, CHEP, Ecolog, Efaflex, Erhardt & Partner, FAMCO, Gerhardt Foerdertechnik, Loc8, Manhattan Associates, Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar, Psion Teklogix, SPAN Group, SSI Schaefer, Twintec Industrial Flooring.
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling
ANALYSIS, Materials Handling


Company: Amana Contracting and Steel Buildings
Category: Material handling

Amana Contracting and Steel Buildings has completed one of its most successful fiscal years in 2007, with demand for the design and build of warehouses in the Middle East helping to boost the company's profit levels.

Logistics is a major component of the nine industrial sectors that Amana services. During the past twelve months, the company has handled over 600,000m2 of logistics projects across the region, including the industrial logistics facility for Ajman Free Zone Authority at Al Jurf, light industrial units for Dubai Ports Authority at the Jebel Ali Free Zone, a high tech logistics platform for Vos Logistics at Mesaieed in Qatar, the parts distribution centre for Al-Futtaim Motors at Dubai Investment Park, and the spares centre for Airbus at Dubai Airport Free Zone.

"To say that it was a defining year for Amana would be an understatement, as we have started operations in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Ras Al Khaimah while maintaining success across various sectors in our existing offices," says Riad Bsaibes, chief operating officer at Amana Group. "We are thrilled with the success this year and we look forward to an eventful 2008. Amana plans to further expand its presence across all markets in the Middle East within the context of our regional growth strategy."

Amongst the most significant projects undertaken and completed by Amana this year was a contract from Dubai Maritime City to build workshops, warehouses, shops and showrooms, which was completed in August 2007 and covered an area of 86,000m2. Another highlight was a contract from Agility Logistics to construct the company's warehousing facilities and regional offices at Jebel Ali Free Zone. The project, which is currently underway, is spread across 78,800m2 and located on 270,000m2 of land, making it the largest single warehouse construction site in the free zone.

"Following a successful 2007, Amana is on the threshold of a quantum leap in the years to come, given the vast number of projects in the pipeline," says Bsaibes. "With our famed quality delivery schedules, expertise and the backing of our executed projects in the region, we are ideally positioned to take advantage of the new opportunities being represented in the Middle East."

Tel: +971 4 3327731

Company: CHEP
Category: Material handling

As demand for material handling equipment continues to explode in the Middle East, CHEP has experienced a breakthrough year in terms of business throughout the region.

The company is pioneering the concept of 'pallet pooling' - an innovative and environmentally friendly method of product handling - which has become increasingly common in key markets around the world.

"It's been a very successful year. We'll always remember 2007 as the year in which the pallet pooling service effectively got off the ground in the Middle East," says Kevin Smyth, director of CHEP Middle East.

"The process basically involves a number of ready-to-use pallets being issued to customers, such as manufacturers, for the transportation of products between different points in the supply chain. At the end of the journey, the receiving retailer or distributor offloads the goods and arranges for CHEP to collect the pallets, after which we complete a thorough inspection process. Once we have ensured quality standards are met, the pallets are issued to the next customer for its customised use and movement through the supply chain," he adds.

The FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sector has remained a key market for the international pallet company, which has service centres located in Dubai, Damman, Riyadh and Jeddah, together with satellite outlets in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Amongst the highlights of the year for CHEP was its agreement with Panda, the largest retailer in Saudi Arabia, which recently opened its new distribution centre in Riyadh. As part of the agreement, CHEP provided its TPM (Total Pallet Management) service to manage the move of pallets into and between the Riyadh distribution centre and Panda retail stores throughout the Kingdom.

"We enjoy the support of various major FMCG manufacturers and distributors in the region, such as Pepsi International, National Food Industries, Olayan-Exel and Abudawood (IATCO)," explains Smyth. "The regional FMCG industry is making quantum leaps in terms of supply chain practices. Although we are international, our operations in this region are adaptable to particular market environments, while drawing on four decades of experience in international pallet pooling."

Tel: +971 4 8833989

Company: Ecolog
Category: Material handling

As a pioneer of warehouse automation in the Middle East, Ecolog has experienced a knockout year in the region, with an increased number of companies showing a willingness to invest in automated storage solutions. As a result, the Austrian company expanded its local operations in 2007, with a larger workforce located in the United Arab Emirates and a move to Dubai Logistics City (DLC) being planned for next year.

"The decision to establish ourselves in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai, is part of Ecolog's global expansion plan," says Reinhard Wind, general manager of Ecolog Logistics Systems. "We know the market in the Middle East quite well, so coping with the regional requirements is not a problem. We will offer the same level of quality provided to our European clients, such as BMW, Mercedes Benz and Airbus."

Ecolog's recent efforts to educate Middle Eastern companies about the benefits of warehouse automation are finally paying off. The company is currently in negotiations with a number of potential clients and has confirmed its first contracts this year, with several more expected in the coming months.

"Nowadays, instead of wondering whether to deploy automation for new facilities, companies are asking what kind of automation needs to be deployed," says Wind. "The few companies that do not take automation into account for their new facilities will face significant organisational, handling and cost disadvantages over the next 5-15 years. That definitely is the striking news of the day."

The issue of affordability is still a common misconception in the Middle East, according to Wind, with many companies assuming automated solutions are beyond their budgets. "This is not true," he says. "For example, customers can start with small applications being automated and then steadily upgrade their systems over the years. This often makes more sense than investing straight away in some big automated applications, especially for small and medium sized enterprises."

With 2008 now approaching, Ecolog is planning to further strengthen its position in the Middle East. "At the moment, we have offices in Dubai Investment Park, where we are increasing our workforce. In addition, we're establishing other offices in the emirate, with space already reserved at Dubai Logistics City," says Wind. "Although the focus is currently on the United Arab Emirates, we are also looking at Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are both really big markets for Ecolog."

Tel: +971 4 8019137

Company: Efaflex
Category: Material handling

Efaflex, the international manufacturer of high-speed doors for warehouses, has targeted the Middle East for business growth with the appointment of a regional sales agent.

"We have actually supplied companies in the Middle East with products for a number of years, although the company was never represented on a local level. Instead, the products were directly exported from our production base in Bavaria," says Lawrence Miranda, regional sales manager of Efaflex. "Now, with an agent in the Middle East, we can offer a wider range of productions, including more advanced installation options for warehouses."

The company exhibited at the Material Handling Show in Dubai this year and received a generally favourable response from attendees, with a number of potential leads currently being followed.

"We have experienced a mixed response towards the concept of high speed doors in the Middle East," says Miranda. "Many companies are amazed by the doors' performance and capability, but often take a backseat when it comes to price. However, when we sit down and work on the figures and compares the initial investment to the amount of money being saved from loss of energy, the purchase becomes more feasible. Currently one of our biggest clients in the area is Dubai Cable, which operates an air conditioned facility in Jebel Ali."

The company has predicted strong growth in the Middle East next year, with the biggest selling point being the local operating environment, which encourages companies to become proactive in protecting their assets.

"In the Middle East, our high speed doors can offer protection against sand and dust, which is often a problem in the region's warehouses," says Miranda. "Remote locations such as Jebel Ali are exposed to the bare force of the desert and our doors offer further resistance. With so many logistics operators establishing new or additional facilities in the region, we believe the prospects for Efaflex are strong, particularly in the fast moving consumable goods sector."

Tel: +971 4 3331003

Company: Ehrhardt + Partner
Category: Material handling

Technology experts Ehrhardt + Partner has experienced a steady increase in demand for its logistics workshops in Dubai, prompting the German company to hold a record number of seminars in the emirate this year.

"We have traditionally hosted our workshops in Europe, but ventured into the Middle East with events in March and April, tackling topics such as warehouse communication technologies, storage optimisation and international best practice," says Hermann Ehrhardt, founder of Ehrhardt + Partner.

"Our first workshops were very well attended, attracting participants from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain. In fact, we already have people interested in seminars for next year, which proves that the demand for information in the field of warehouse logistics in Dubai is huge," he adds.

To support its regional presence, Ehrhardt + Partner exhibited at this year's Material Handling Show in Dubai and also plans to open a regional office in Dubai Logistics City (DLC) next year.

"We see huge possibilities in Dubai - it's the most important logistics market of the future," says Ehrhardt. "I think it's exceptionally important to the E+P Group to be onsite at Dubai Logistics City with its own company and experienced German staff. We are already in a position to implement complex warehouse projects and modernisations onsite in accordance with international requirements and quality standards."

Tel: +971 4 3639767

Company: FAMCO
Category: Material handling

The sales figures for FAMCO (Al-Futtaim Auto and Machinery Company) are a perfect representation of the company's impressive growth over the years. As the United Arab Emirates distributor of Volvo trucks, buses, construction equipment and road machinery, its sales revenue has more than doubled since 2005 - an admirable achievement considering the stiff competition it faces within the Middle East.

"The company's development and success has been based on our indepth understanding of customer needs and the dedication of our skilled workforce," explains Paul Floyd, managing director of FAMCO. "We are positioned favourably to service the rapid development of the United Arab Emirates, providing a bright outlook for the coming years."

FAMCO currently has bases in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, with two additional branches scheduled for 2008. In addition to Volvo products, it represents a range of brands and products across five trading divisions: transportation, construction, oil and gas, manufacturing, warehousing and marine sectors.

"The logistics industry is a very important market for FAMCO and we offer a growing selection of material handling products, such as Dexion industrial storage and shelving systems, Linde forklift trucks and Stertil warehouse dock-levellers. Operating through five trading divisions, all core products have performed extremely well, gaining in market share, especially with the high value Volvo truck and construction equipment businesses," says Floyd.

"FAMCO entered 2007 following the tremendous results experienced in 2006 - the best ever in the history of the company. Although further growth was expected this year, and further investments planned, the year has totally exceeded our expectations. FAMCO has delivered another exceptional performance," he adds.

A highlight for Floyd and his team earlier this year was FAMCO collecting the trophy for 'Best Material Handling Supplier' at the inaugural Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA) in Dubai. The category was amongst the most competitive during the awards ceremony, but FAMCO came out on top, reflecting its achievements in securing a number of high-profile contracts this year, including the world's largest multi-tier racking system at Home Centre's distribution centre at Jebel Ali Free Zone, the air cargo ASRS project at Dubai International Airport and a new storage and handling system for the Al Ain date harvest.

"We are celebrating our achievements, but at the same time, it's important to recognise the challenges that lie ahead. We are striving to continue improving and remain fully committed to delivering on our promises in 2008," concludes Floyd.

Tel: +971 4 2135100

Company: Gebhardt Foerdertechnik
Category: Material handling

Gebhardt Foerdertechnik started the groundwork to increase its presence in the Middle East this year, with progress in building its network of industry contacts and exposing its products to manufacturing and service businesses throughout the region.

In particular, the German company experienced a successful exhibition at this year's Material Handling Show in Dubai, where it promoted a range of container and pallet conveyor technology. The centre of the presentation was a complete material handling solution for the transportation, sorting and buffering of cartons and totes, controlled by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

"Towards the end of 2006, we announced our intention to further develop this business in international markets. To support our planned growth in the Middle East, we exhibited at the Material Handling Show, which was very useful in meeting representatives from various different companies that are looking for top quality logistics solutions," says Fritz Gebhardt, general manager Gebhardt Foerdertechnik.

"In fact, this region has already proved a strong market and we previously installed a material handling system at Dubai International Airport, which has served Emirates SkyCargo for the past two years. We are looking forward to building on this success in the future years," he adds.

Tel: +49 7 2619390

Company: Loc8
Category: Material handling

Following a successful year in 2006, with the launch of its Product Sourcing Guide, the Dubai-based company Loc8 has focused its attention this year on opening new offices and developing its portfolio of products.

"It's been a busy and exciting year for the company," explains Stewart Arbuckle, managing director of Loc8. "Our catalogue continued to meet a very positive response, saving customers time by allowing Loc8 to source a broad range of products on their behalf. In particular, the materials handling content of the catalogue has proved extremely successful in 2007, reflecting the importance of warehouse and distribution in the Middle East."

As part of the company's focus on the materials handling industry, Loc8 participated in this year's Materials Handling Show in Dubai. The event proved a useful tool in meeting existing business contacts and networking with potential new clients in the region. "We felt the Material Handling Show was a great opportunity to promote the company," explains Arbuckle. "We had a big presence at the event, with three exhibition stands to showcase our products and services. These included handling trolleys, lockers, packing benches and conveyors through to shelving, racking and mezzanines turnkey offerings."

In a bid to develop its coverage of the Middle East, Loc8 has established offices in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi to complement its headquarters in Dubai. The company's expansion is expected to continue in 2008, with a move into other countries in the region being planned. "These developments have been made to bring us closer to our customers, deliver even swifter services, and to better understand the local markets in which our customers operate," says Arbuckle. "We are already serving customers in other Gulf countries, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Based on our success to date, we want to achieve a larger presence in the region and plan to invest in these valuable markets."

2008 will see the launch of Loc8's newly updated catalogue, which will have an extensive range of new products and an improved interface to improve the product sourcing process. "We remain focused on our core skill of being able to provide creative products that are not normally readily promoted," ends Arbuckle. "Our vision is to provide knowledge to our customers making them aware of new, innovative and ergonomic products, which can enable them to achieve higher efficiency and effectiveness in their businesses."

Tel: +971 4 3681565

Company: Manhattan Associates
Category: Material handling

With a continued focus on providing technology solutions to the logistics industry, Manhattan Associates has benefited from the sector's phenomenal growth in the Middle East over the years. In particular, the company has experienced a strong response from the market in 2007, with contracts from a number of logistics service providers, including KGL Logistics in Kuwait and Global Shipping and Logistics (GSL) in Dubai. These achievements were even recognised during this year's Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA), in which Manhattan Associates received a nomination for Best Technology Provider.

"We provide technology solutions to organisations that consider supply chain software, processes and technology strategic to market leadership," says Hemal Shah, director of Logistixware, a regional partner of Manhattan Associates.

"GSL, for example, has implemented the warehouse management component of Manhattan Associates' supply chain platform for two of its warehouses in Dubai Investment Park. The results have been so positive that the company is rolling out the software to five additional warehouses that it plans to operate by 2009."

Tel: +971 4 3311605

Company: Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar
Category: Material handling

The number of warehouses in the Middle East has increased considerably in 2007, which has resulted in massive demand for material handling equipment in the region.

With this momentum expected to continue at full pace in 2008, the Sharjah-based company Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar has understandably predicted a healthy future for its distribution business, which is focused on Caterpillar forklift trucks and other internationally renowned material handling equipment. "The logistics sector has driven a huge amount of demand for our products in 2007," says Sudhir Tripathi, materials handling industry manager, Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Bahar. "The region's top selling products in the logistics sector reflect this assertion. Across the five Arabian Gulf countries we work in, the biggest demand continues to be for counterbalanced lift trucks up to five tonnes capacity."

The group has also experienced an increasingly significant demand for heavier lift trucks, port-handling equipment and specialised warehousing equipment cranes in 2007. "The Atlet and Landoll warehousing equipment, together with the Hiab and Terex cranes, have steadily been gaining market share in 2007. The outlook for the coming years is very upbeat too," enthuses Tripathi.

The Materials Handling Show, which took place in Dubai earlier this year, proved indicative of the appetite in the UAE and surrounding markets for the top-end hardware. "Our theme at this year's show was 'everything in materials handling' and we had an extensive display of equipment and services. The interest and feedback from visitors was extremely encouraging."

The exhibition attracted a record number of attendees and Al-Bahar selected the event as a showcase for the newest range of forklift solutions. "We used the show to launch the new 8-16 tonnes N-Series forklifts from Caterpillar. The live demo of the Bendi narrow aisle forklift was also very well received and helped raise a lot of inquiries for the product," says Tripathi.

The response received also indicated there were many buyers from across the region interested in new purchases, or upgrading existing warehouse fleets. Overall the group registered over 125 opportunities for equipment sales, from the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.

"All these developments have been very encouraging and we have already decided to go even bigger at the next exhibition in 2009," says Tripathi.

Tel: +971 6 5733555

Company: Psion Teklogix
Category: Material handling

Psion Teklogix celebrated its 40th anniversary in the mobile computing and wireless communications sector this year, with a number of products launched for the logistics industry during the past twelve months.

To mark the company's impressive milestone, over 350 customers, partners and prospects from around the world attended a recent convention in Paris, which showcased Psion Teklogix's achievements since its launch, in addition to analysing its development plans for the next 40 years.

"Our focus has always been to deliver innovative solutions to solve customer needs and I believe that this remains a solid platform upon which to embark on the next 40 years," says Joe Iarocci, regional director of Psion Teklogix.

The company has experienced a favourable response from the Middle East market for a number of its product launches in 2007. In particular, it released an 'Arabised' version of the popular WorkAbout Pro handheld computer, which supports a variety of field installable expansion modules including scanners, imagers, RFID modules as well as wireless LAN, WAN and radio.

"We launched the Arabised format of the WorkAbout Pro during GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, where we exhibited for the fourth year in a row," says Iarocci. "There has been very encouraging demand for handheld and vehicle-mounted mobile computers in the Middle East, and it's exciting for us to offer this specialised product."

The booming demand for Psion Teklogix has been reinforced by the massive growth of the regional logistics industry. To better service its local customers, the company recently took possession of a 600m2 warehouse in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. The innovative facility contains a sales department, regional service depot, training facilities and wireless technology excellence centre, which is a 300m2 technology playground for customers.

"Customers in the region need a place to come and see the technology in action and get a hands on experience, so they can see and feel the return on investment," says Iarocci. "This is a place for our partners to showcase their solutions in a real environment and give customers a good comfort level of the solutions being provided. We view our customers as business partners and sharing technology information is critical to the relationship."

Tel: +971 4 8860770

Company: SPAN Group
Category: Material handling

As a veteran in the Middle East's logistics industry, the SPAN Group has established itself as a leading provider of warehouse racking solutions, material handling equipment, supply chain technology and industrial furnishing. Indeed, with record levels of customer demand this year, the Dubai-based company has reinforced its market position during the past twelve months.

"As a company, we have experienced a period of evolution over the past few years, perfectly coinciding with the growth of the logistics industry in the Middle East," comments Walid Daniel, managing director of the SPAN Group. "In retrospect, I consider our efforts in 2006 as the preparation and planning for the excellent business growth we experienced in 2007."

Amongst its key achievements this year, the SPAN Group has expanded its workforce, upgraded the skillsbase of employees and restructured its organisational structure to compliment a shift in market requirements.

"We have accomplished a large amount during 2007, which has enabled the company to maintain its market share and transform itself from a distinguished UAE organisation to a leading regional player," says Daniel. "We now comprise of more than 150 professional and highly skilled employees, who are able to deliver automation, storage and logistical IT solutions to customers throughout the region from our strategically located offices in Dubai, Doha and Beirut."

The SPAN Group's growing customer base includes companies from a wide variety of different industries, with recent orders being placed by businesses such as Dynatrade, Al-Tayer Group, Aramex, Maxx Logistics and Emirates Airlines. "This is the year in which the SPAN Group delivered for some of the largest warehouse projects in the region. While some of our customers embarked on large-scale expansion plans, our response was agile and swift. We are determined to work extremely hard and successfully fulfil our mandate each and every time," says Daniel.

Tel: +971 4 2895011

Company: SSI Schaefer
Category: Material handling

SSI Schaefer celebrated its fifth anniversary in Dubai this year - an important milestone in the history of the company, which has quickly established itself as one of the Middle East's leading suppliers of storage and material handling systems.

"This has been a great year for SSI Schaefer. Since opening our doors in Dubai on 1st January 2002, we have build on solid foundations of providing a complete service to the industry. This involves everything from the design to the commissioning of tailor made systems, which are build to meet the specific requirements of each client," explains Geoff Wheatley, regional director of SSI Schaefer in the Middle East and Africa.

A highlight for the company in 2007 was the decision to invest further in the Middle East and construct the company's new regional headquarters in Dubai. To be built in Dubai Logistics City (DLC), the new building will form the nucleus for several of the Schaefer groups other activities, including the automation and conveying divisions of the group, as well as the waste management operations.

This year also witnessed the completion of Schaefer's 25th installation of mobile racking in the Gulf, together with the installation of its millionth pallet position in Schaefer racking.

"Our client base now resembles the who's who of logistics and includes many of the international and local 3PL providers who have built or are currently building new facilities in the region, especially Dubai Investment Park, JAFZA South and Dubai Logistics City," says Wheatley. "We have recently completed installation for companies such as GAC, Swift Freight, Sun Sand and Sports, Panasonic, Mohebi Logistics and Nestle."

To complement the region's thirst for newer, higher state of the art systems, SSI Schaefer held an automation congress in Dubai towards the end of the year - its first outside of Europe. The event attracted over 60 of the region's senior logistics management and proved an educational process in automated warehousing. According to Wheatley, the decision to run this congress in Dubai was based on the high level of interest and Schaefer's first automated projects ordered in the region.

"Even in 2007, over US$13.6 million worth of projects have been booked for completion in 2008 and 2009. This includes new facilities in Dubai Logistics City for blue ribbon companies such as Panalpina and Kuehne + Nagel. This just proves the high level of demand we are currently experiencing and I believe the future for SSI Schaefer Middle East looks especially rosy."

Tel: +971 4 3400077

Company: Twintec Industrial Flooring
Category: Material handling

Earlier this year, international floor specialist Twintec secured one of its biggest Middle East contracts to date, working on a large-scale distribution centre for Saudi Arabia's retail giant Al Aziza Panda United in Riyadh. "Saudi Arabia is a growing market and we're planning to establish new offices in the Kingdom very soon," says Darryl Eddy, director of Twintec Industrial Flooring. "The contract for Panda's distribution centre, which involved the installation of a steel fibre concrete floor, has been a great experience for everyone involved. We faced some challenges, such as difficult concrete supply conditions and extreme environmental conditions, but ultimately team effort and cooperation has culminated in the project's successful completion."

With plans to increase its presence in the Middle East in 2008, the company is hoping to educate warehouse operators in the region about the benefits of investing in high quality flooring.

"It would appear that, in general, the current standard of warehouse floors in the Middle East is not matching the demands being place upon them," says Eddy. "However, a modern development in Europe has seen SFRC (steel fibre reinforced concentre) being used in warehouse floors, which is allowing companies to consistently achieve a standard of flooring that is ideally suited to logistics activities. This is something we hope to bring to this region, to the benefit of our Middle East customers."

Tel: +44 178 8567722

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