According to research by analysts Frost & Sullivan, the market revenue for Materials Handling Equipment in the GCC, which was worth US$ 3.78 billion in 2014, is set to maintain a CAGR of over 4% while reaching an estimated $4.8-5 billion in revenues by 2020.
Saudi Arabia, with about 46% and the UAE with 35%, make up the largest markets in the region and are expected to continue to spearhead market expansion going forward.
Key drivers for the continued expansion in demand for materials handling equipment, continues to be the ongoing focus of the GCC countries in large-scale infrastructural and logistics development, including that of key transport and shipping hubs, export processing and free zones as well as the high dependence of many of these countries on imports of goods and services that calls for increased reliance on materials handling and logistics facilities
Touting the vital role of automation and the merging of digital and intelligent processes and systems as the road to the future of materials handling, Frederic Zielinski, General Manager of Swisslog Middle East, sees immense potential in the Middle East.
"The changing customer demands require forward-thinking innovative and flexible solutions from businesses. By implementing fully integrated, effective, future-proof automation solutions and keeping their facilities up-to-date with modernization companies can not only speed up their processes and satisfy changing customers’ needs but also stay profitable by adding greater productivity into their supply chain and reducing the amount of errors.
"Industry 4.0 has the potential to reshuffle the cards in how businesses operate. With networked intelligence in manufacturing and self- organising production processes, the 'factory of the future' will perform a quantum leap-in productivity, flexibility, and efficiency. The focus in the future will no longer be on the manufacturing process of purely mass-produced goods, but on the customized product manufactured to industrial. This evolutionary step can only succeed, however, if we finally break down the barriers between the digital and real worlds," Zielinski stated.