There is rising global demand for automation and cost-efficient material handling systems such as conveyor systems, driven by the warehouse and distribution, food and beverage, automotive, electronics, mining, as well as airport industries in developing countries.
According to projections released last month by intelligence firm, Research and Markets, demand is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 4.33 per cent and is expected to reach a market size of $9.9 billion by 2025 from an estimated $7.4 billion in 2018.
However, the heavy initial investments needed to incorporate the systems has restricted medium and small companies from integrating the systems.
“Conveyor systems help companies work at a higher efficiency to meet the desired production levels. The rising demand in automated handling systems is fuelled by companies trying to find easier ways to handle large volumes goods and improving productivity, growing mining activities around the world, increasing e-commerce, the rise in demand for processed food and growing passenger handling capacities of airports and freight,” reported Research and Markets.
Local transport companies such as Siginon Aviation and Fargo Courier have enhanced their systems to keep pace with current technology.
Siginon Aviation - the official ground and ramp handler for Qatar Airways Cargo at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi - has invested in dock levellers, which enables it to easily get products into the warehouse and prevent damage that can be caused by human error.
The firm handles perishable cargo including vegetables, fruits, flowers and meat that are the top exports from Nairobi destined for Europe and Middle Eastern countries via Qatar Airways.
“When a truck is reversing into the warehouse, it would have required manpower to physically lift the goods into the warehouse no matter how heavy, or load it into a vehicle. But with the dock levellers, they can reach the height of the truck, making it easier to push the goods into the warehouse or into the car,” said Norah Koima, business systems manager, Siginon Aviation.
“This has increased productivity and reduced human damage at the warehouse.”
The company has also embraced a warehouse management system that incorporates receiving, stock management, dispatch or delivery processes, truck management, stock-take processes and online invoicing processes.
The system was launched in January last year and enables clients to access their information from any location without physically visiting the warehouse; a time-saving measure.
For Fargo Courier, it introduced an automated system called Axelos last year in April at its Industrial Area, Central Business Park warehouses. The system allows clients to monitor the movement of their stock, in and out of the warehouse. This works well for clients without office space but runs their operations from the warehouses.
“Our warehouses are like shops. We cater to online businesses owners who do not own offices but have a central location for storing their products, from where they also operate,” said Debra Tendo, Commercial Director, Fargo Courier Kenya.
“For instance, if it is a client that sells wigs, the minute that their products are dropped off in our warehouse they are logged into our system such that both parties involved — Fargo Courier and the client— are able to see the movement of the products.”
If an order is placed by a third party, both the client and Fargo Courier are notified, when its paid for and dispatched for delivery. When it reaches the customer, the system automatically updates the number of products left in the warehouse for the specific client.
This has helped increase productivity as it has reduced movement of staff in and out of warehouses. Also, it has helped clients keep track of their stock.
- African Laughter