The global market for Material Handling Equipment is projected to reach US$190.3 billion by 2025, driven by the strong emphasis shed on production and operational efficiency and worker safety. The concept of "last mile" is widely popularized in supply chain management and transportation planning for its ability to increase customer satisfaction and profitability. Automation, optimization and delivery route planning are therefore vital strategies adopted by companies to improve their last mile performance. Of equal importance are the "first mile" operations involving indoor material handling on the plant floor. Raw material being the primary and most importance element in manufacturing needs to move through multiple stages of production and final packaging in a smooth and seamless manner to prevent logistical bottlenecks in production. Timely handling of materials is important to ensure that right materials in right quantities are delivered to the right locations at the right time. To ensure quality of the finished products, materials must also be handled with care to prevent and eliminate the risk of damage. Material handling is a repetitive and labor intensive activity well suited for automation as it reduces labor costs, enhances speed and efficiency of operations, and eliminates the risk of errors and material damage. Automation of material handling processes also has the benefit of making the workplace more safer. Automation will help eliminate accidents and occupational safety issues associated with manual labor contributing towards better worker safety, health, wellness, and reduced company expenditure on employee insurance and compensation. The importance of the financial savings that can accrue from ensuring conformance to safety regulations cannot be undermined especially against the backdrop where legislations are becoming stringent and exceedingly punitive.
Efficient material handling therefore offers smart financial benefits in manufacturing and warehousing sectors. While in the manufacturing sector, demand is driven by automation of manufacturing processes against a backdrop of growing pressure to optimize raw material, resource and energy consumption, in the warehousing sector robust increase in urban logistics and a result of the boom in e-retailing is helping fuel growth. Growing popularity of same day deliveries for eCommerce fulfillment as a service differentiator is also strengthening the business case for mechanized and automated handling of materials. Also driving growth in the market is continuous technology developments and the resulting launch of sophisticated equipment with high levels of safety and well-researched ergonomics; and automation features that improve throughput and efficiencies. Other noteworthy trends include healthy demand for alternatives such as electric tugs and manual stackers given the high risk of employee accidents and fatalities related to manually operated forklifts; growing popularity of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) due to benefits such as reduced labor costs, lower risk of damage to products; rising investments in robotics research and development and launch of new equipment with smart capabilities. Material handling equipment range from engine powered industrial trucks, automated guided vehicles, rail guided vehicles, conveyors to cranes & hoists. One of the end-use industries in the spotlight is the food industry. With intense price competition in processed foods, revenues for food processors are falling, leading to greater emphasis on cost reduction and operational efficiency. The United States, China and Europe represent large markets worldwide with a combined share of 66.7% of the market. China also ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 7.3% over the analysis period supported by factors such as increase in new warehouse establishments against the backdrop of improving global trade and domestic consumption; developing internet infrastructure and the resulting increase in e-commerce and urban logistics; and the Made in China (MIC) 2025 initiative that aims to bring the country's massive manufacturing and production sector into the forefront of global technology competitiveness
Competitors identified in this market include, among others, BEUMER Group GmbH & Co. KG, CLARK Material Handling International (CMHI), Daifuku Co. Ltd., Jervis B. Webb Company, Eisenmann SE, Flexlink AB, Honeywell Intelligrated, Hytrol Conveyor Co. Inc., Interroll Group, Jungheinrich AG, KION Group AG, Liebherr Group, Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc., Murata Machinery Ltd., SSI Schaefer - Fritz Schaefer GmbH, Toyota Industries Corporation, Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V., Viastore Systems GmbH, WITRON Logistik + Informatik GmbH.