Three reasons automated materials handling is booming in the GCC
For reasons ranging from cost-control to health and safety, automated materials handling is a fast-growing sector in logistics as companies across the supply chain seek to minimise operational and manufacturing costs by reducing human involvement.
According to a new growth forecast report by Global Market Insights, the global materials handling equipment market is growing at 5.5 percent CAGR and is expected to surpass US $190 billion by 2024.
In the GCC, the automated materials handling equipment segment is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.6 percent to reach US $498.5 million by 2023.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE account for the largest regional shares of the market, with both nations making massive investments in infrastructure to position themselves as ideal destinations for logistics and warehousing operations.
A recent boom in e-commerce is also a major driver for automated materials handling as industry players aim to improve quality of service, with the UAE positioned as the regional leader in e-com logistics, while Saudi Arabia is the largest e-commerce market.
Here are some key factors driving automated materials handling growth in the GCC region and beyond:
Automation is poised to make a significant and lasting impact on profitability, particularly as it reduces the need for manpower and outsourcing.
Once considered the most effective way to manage costs while still producing a high-level output, outsourcing has been rendered obsolete by AI-powered automation which reduces errors, enhances security and allows for better scalability.
As businesses pursue automated industrial operations, increased safety is a tangible value-add. Improving workplace safety conditions is one of the primary motivators for manufacturers replacing existing materials handling solutions with automated systems.
These systems reduce the risk of injury by removing workers from dangerous work procedures. Automated systems also make it seamless for businesses to update safety protocols and create a plan of action - without disrupting normal operations - in case of an emergency.
Automated systems also typically respond faster to emergencies by providing real-time monitoring. Safety results in happier workers, reduced costs and increased efficiency, all key metrics in bottom-line performance.
Coupled with industry growth and shifting workforce demographics, the automated material handling market is being driven by improved wireless technology.
Indeed, robotics and automation have paved the way for more efficient, productive and intelligent industrial operations over the years.
Robotic Process Automation is, however, only the beginning. With the increasing sophistication of IoT technology, new solutions will add further value for manufacturers in years to come.
As more and more businesses see the results of machine-driven solutions, next-generation robotic technologies will further amplify smart, smooth and cost-efficient materials handling operations.
Materials Handling Middle East runs from 3-5 September at Dubai World Trade Centre.