The U.S. economy has recently experienced the Great Recession and the subsequent weak recovery has put a premium on companies maintaining tight supply chains and optimizing inventory distribution. As a result, retailers have taken a multichannel approach by selling goods online, through smart phones/tablets, in stores and, in some cases, still via catalogs. The retailer strategies for distribution centers and stores are changing. Distribution is not just about supplying store locations with goods, but it is also about internet order fulfillment. In a survey of retail companies by NREI and Jones Lang LaSalle, 92 percent of retailer respondents sell goods online. In addition, 68 percent have bricks-and-mortar stores while 64 percent also sell goods through catalogs.
In their September 20, 2012 press release, the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) reports that overall industry orders (bookings) for the first 6 months of 2012 increased 22.79 percent compared to the same period in 2011. CEMA estimates industry billed sales (shipments) for the first 6 months of 2012 increased 30.37 percent compared to the same period in 2011. Though bulk material handling orders make up a large portion of the sales dollar increase, unit handling orders were up 10.0% and shipments were up 22.1 percent. The Material Handling Equipment Forecast (MEHM) released by Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) estimates that material handling equipment orders are forecasted to grow 8.0 percent to 9.0 percent in 2012 and 6.0 percent in 2013. Residential and non-residential construction, if forecast holds, will contribute greatly to a positive growth 2014 and beyond.
Habasit America’s position with the major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in the Material Handling Segment has been a key to our success this year and we hope this will continue through 2013. The success of our Buffalo, NY manufactured products (nonwoven, Ulti-Mate®, and TrackMate®), powerturns, N-Line, HabasitLINK®, HabaCHAIN®, and HabaSYNC® products used by many of these OEMs, combined with the innovation and product choices that Habasit has to offer, allows us to maintain a favored position with most of the major manufacturers in this industry.