The MHEDA Journal - First Quarter, 2015 - (Page 50)

INDUSTRY SUPPLIERS FORECAST Confident Supplier/Associate Members Ready for Continued Growth in 2015 BY CHRIS POWERS B y almost any measure, 2014 was a very successful year for the material handling industry. Indeed, many manufacturers and suppliers members indicated that 2014 was a record-setting year. A rebounding economy, pent-up demand for new and used equipment, strong international markets and a drive to improve efficiencies all helped make the past year one that we will be talking about for a long time. With few exceptions, MHEDA Supplier/Associate Members expect those good times to continue into 2015. The rate of growth may be slowing down a bit, and there are still challenges to overcome. However, trends toward expanding e-commerce and retail distribution, emphasis on lean processes, lower energy prices and the push toward energy efficiency, among others, are keeping the general outlook optimistic for more good times ahead. Steve Lippert, executive vice president of Hamilton Caster & Mfg. Co. (Hamilton, OH), exemplifies the spirit of many of his fellow Supplier/ Associate Members when he says, "The material handling industry as a whole will be robust. Aerospace and automotive markets are already flying high, and if housing ever becomes a factor again, watch out!" 50 MHEDA | However, the MHEDA Supplier/ Associate membership is nothing if not practical, so it realizes that the high times won't last forever. Uncertainty abroad, volatility in the stock market, government gridlock and a slow-torebound job market are just a few of the potential issues MHEDA members see as potential obstacles. Most do not expect inflation to be a major issue but it may be something to watch in certain segments. Consumers have higher expectations than ever, which continues to put pressure on material handling distributors and suppliers. Vic Kedaitis, president and CEO of Worldwide Material Handling Products (Romeoville, IL), speaks for many Supplier/Associate Members, saying, "Like any businessto-business supplier, we deal with customers who want their purchases to be quick, easy and accurate. This demand is more critical than ever and tolerance for errors is low." With that perspective in mind, MHEDA's Supplier/Associate members predict measured growth in 2015. E-commerce is expected to drive up sales for SI Systems (Easton, PA). "We're seeing a much higher level of quoting activity in the pipeline," says John Molloy, president/CEO. The company moved into a new building in 2014, and Molloy plans to add geographic-specific staff in 2015. A big driver for the company has been its success in utilizing social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube. "These social media outlets dramatically increase our placement in online search results, which has greatly increased our online exposure with potential partners and end-users." A 20% sales escalation is on the horizon for Schaefer Systems International (Charlotte, NC). "We see positive signs, particularly in the semi-automatic product lines: vertical lift modules, deep-channel pallet storage and integrated standard solutions," says Klaus-Dieter Wurm, vice president and managing director. He points to a steady upswing in quotations and the introductions of a new pallet conveyor and a new carton conveyor as drivers of that growth. The company expanded its corporate headquarters in 2014 to increase office

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The MHEDA Journal - First Quarter, 2015

MHEDA’s 2015 Board of Directors and Mboa
Lift Atlanta, Inc
Sara Mcmurray, Flow-Rite Controls
Distributor Forecast
Confident Supplier/associate Members Ready for Continued Growth in 2015
MHI Predicts 8-9% Growth for 2015
CEMA Expects Growth
Continued Stability in the Market
Investment Spending Will Drive Growth
What in the World Is Going On?
Quality Lift Trucks Undergoes a Major Succession and Transition Plan

The MHEDA Journal - First Quarter, 2015