Hello Martin! You’ve just returned from LogiMAT in Stuttgart.
What was the atmosphere like at the trade fair?
It was very nice at the trade fair this time. Due to the pandemic, it’s been a while since we’ve been to a trade fair that was also well attended. The atmosphere was great and people were also pleased to be able to hold personal discussions again.
What are customers most interested in at the moment in the field of warehouse logistics? What were the main topics at the trade show?
The big topics at the moment are digitalization and automation. Processes in warehouse logistics should be improved and also be faster. Correct master data is essential for this. The efficient collection of this data is a very important point for customers at the moment.
What are the current challenges?
Many customers are planning a technological leap in the future and want to automate processes, but are now realizing that the data they have at the moment is not yet sufficient for this. A lot of data is currently collected manually, sometimes with scales and folding rules. However, this is a great effort and also very error-prone.
A general issue that has been with us for years is that there is a lack of skilled workers in many areas. This point makes it even more necessary to automate processes. Especially when I’m on site with my customers (mostly in eastern Germany), I notice that the catchment area where the employees come from is already very large. Many companies are really desperate for employees.
What is the current situation in terms of willingness to invest?
The willingness to invest in new technologies is definitely there among many companies, even if some are still struggling with some recent economic constraints. That’s why there is still a certain reluctance to plan at the moment. In general, however, it also depends on the extent to which many companies are already willing and able to invest in automation. The advantage of KHT’s solutions is that MultiScan, for example, can be implemented on a small budget, functions as a stand-alone solution, and thus represents a significant step towards digitization. This directly lays the right foundation for future automation projects.
In which sectors are these customers primarily active?
Many are from the retail sector, especially online retailers, and of course also industrial companies with their own connected warehousing.
How long is the delivery time for KHT products at the moment?
With regard to the current supply chain problems, I can say that we are not affected that much because we have planned well in advance. We can still deliver products like the MultiScan very quickly. We are talking about about 1-month delivery time from order.
How do you see the future of warehouse logistics?
Warehouse logistics will become increasingly intelligent, automated and networked. In addition, there will also be more and more systems controlled by artificial intelligence. So, there will be an effort to bring intelligence into the systems, based on algorithms, to advance automation in that direction as well.
Furthermore, I think in the future there will be more and more use of “shared services” so that each company doesn’t have to handle all the investments on its own. In this way, companies will emerge that carry out certain activities for several clients, such as master data entry or the entire article processing for (online) retail. The advantage here is that certain clients would not even have the technology for various processes, but can use it through external service providers.
KHT itself also offers master data capture as a service so that more customers can benefit from it. Buying in such data capture as a service also makes sense, especially if the quantity of items to be captured is rather small or relatively few new items are added on an ongoing basis.
What solutions does KHT offer for the future of warehouse logistics?
Together with KNAPP and ivii GmbH, we have developed the KiSoft Genomix software, which goes exactly in the direction of artificial intelligence. It is a self-learning software for the automation of master data management. With KiSoft Genomix, a whole wealth of item information can be fed in automatically and made available across warehouses. This new, self-learning software solution digitizes all relevant attributes of articles and virtually decodes their DNA: weight, dimensions, packaging type, contents, center of gravity, tipping behavior and much more. Thanks to this information, the technologies, such as robots, know exactly how to handle the items. In the process, KiSoft Genomix also adapts to the level of automation in the plant.
Another milestone for automated warehouse logistics is our INDU-Store, because it can be used very flexibly and can be planned on a modular basis. It enables automated, error-free handling and very space-saving storage of items in a protected area, which is very important, especially for customers with high-value products.
Is there anything else that particularly stuck in your mind from the trade show?
Yes indeed. I was also asked what we had to do with Industry 4.0. That was a very exciting question for me, and I would answer it like this: We are laying the foundation for Industry 4.0 with our innovative systems for master data collection, because automated processes only work with complete and flawless data. Our products are a gateway to Logistics 4.0, paving the way for the future.
Dear Martin, thank you very much for the exciting insights and I think we couldn’t find a better closing sentence for our interview.