Both are bullish not just on such equipment but on the trade organization, the Carousel/Vertical Lift Module Group, a working unit of the Material Handling Industry of America. Composed of C/VLM manufacturers, the group has a twofold purpose: to promote their equipment and technologies, and to promote industry standards. The latter, in fact, is imperative.
"The group is trying to get the standards adopted, basically, for safety," says Schneider. "We want operators to be as safe as possible. By having a unifying set of standards, agreed upon by all manufacturers, we know that all equipment on the market will be as safe as can be."
Standardization will be a barrier to any companies trying to enter the unsafe equipment, Romaine says.
In today's economy, working smarter, faster and more efficiently is key, Romaine says, and automation is the way to achieve that.
"Carousel and vertical lift modules are simply the stepping stones of automation," he says. "It allows you to reduce labor, increase accuracy, and increase floor space capacity. It has a fast ROI. Part of our mantra is to make the country and the world aware of these technologies and their benefits."
Both Romaine and Schneider see development of controls and software as the biggest trend for C/VLM. "A lot of people think of this technology as a place to store your things," Romaine says. "We look at it as more of an integrated system. Managing inventory more intelligently, keeping tighter control of inventory at all times. Physical hardware is pretty much set, but software and controls are where the biggest growth will be in the next few years."
The biggest challenge going forward is to convince people to give up their traditional mindset to keep "building bigger" and installing more fixed shelving, Schneider says. "That's what we have to overcome."
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Keywords: Reverse Logistics, Inventory Planning & Optimization, Transportation & Distribution, Logistics, MHIA, Carousel/Vertical Lift Module Group, C/VLM Automation
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