Alain Kaddoum, general manager, Swisslog Middle East, Dubai, on why they're participating in the Leaders in Logistics 2017 summit.
Why is it important that you support the Leaders in Logistics Summit?
Our business is at the vanguard of far-reaching developments in warehousing and logistics. As a leader in automation, Swisslog designs, develops and delivers best-in-class solutions for forward-thinking hospitals, warehouses and distribution centers.
It is important to us that we are able to develop innovative solutions that are both practical and cost-effective. Discussing the challenges and requirements of industry with businesses at events like this, play a crucial role in our ability to understand trends in the market. We also benefit from being able to meet senior logistics and supply chain professionals and hopefully learn from other thought leaders in the region.
The Middle East is also a very important and growing market for Swisslog Warehouse & Distribution Solutions. We are a global business and we believe we have much to offer with our warehouse automation experience and robotics technologies.
What do you think are the main challenges facing the logistics industry in 2017?
There are many trends brought about by the growth in e-commerce, increasing expectations on delivery times, the handling of returns, the integration of local and national DCs and so on, as well as macro indicators such as unstable oil prices and political uncertainties.
That said, finding the right balance between investing in new, futureproof technologies and saving costs has always difficult, whatever the business climate.
Finding the right applications in a big universe of new trends and solutions means being open to new ideas and not just sticking with the status quo. It can, and does mean, that new opportunities are out there for those willing to listen.
What most excites you about the UAE supply chain and logistics industry in 2017?
With the growth in retail & e-commerce and the maturity of supply chains intended to cope with its requirements, we also see a more demanding consumer. The knock-on effects being shorter lead times for deliveries, the need for a deeper itinerary / SKUs and increased item picking. You can already see the UAE logistics sector looking at what is coming down the road and wondering what to do next. In that sense, it feels very exciting to be at the forefront of a change in thinking.
Sales channels are constantly developing, and with them, the intralogistics challenges of meeting the expectations of consumers. Finding a flexible and scalable solution for warehouse and material flow processes - from receiving to picking, and shipping to returns, is a challenge for start-ups, established e-commerce companies and multi-channel specialists alike, and the growth in online sales will force companies to consider their flexibility.
What are the main topics you expect to come up at the Leaders in Logistics Summit?
Industry 4.0, digitalisation, automation and robotics – each is an area already beginning to exert an influence and will continue to do so in the coming years.
The UAE has an excellent opportunity to a technology and innovation leader, and it needs the logistics industry to be there to back up those efforts.