5 Reasons You Should Consider an Integrator for Your MHE Needs
by Satyen Pathak

When searching for an MHE supplier, you have many options to consider. There are several variables that need to be addressed, which can be a daunting task for an end user that is seeking the ideal solution. The options of MHE suppliers are as many as when trying to select which car to purchase. To narrow the field, it is best to work with an integrator that can help you navigate the suppliers, products, and assist with getting you your best solution for current times and for your future growth.
This article will cover the details to consider when you are in the process of implementing material handling automation at a Greenfield site or an upgrade/retrofit and why you should consider an integrator as a trusted partner.

1. There is no one single MHE supplier that can provide everything for your needs
As there are many MHE suppliers with a wide breadth of products that range from conveyance, accumulation needs, sortation, shuttles, put-walls and pick to light, they still depend on alternate supply chains for providing an entire warehouse solution. Although these MHE suppliers are the face to the customer, there are dependencies the customer may not be aware of. With an integrator these dependencies are transparent, and the supply chain is exercised by providing the exact content to fulfill a solution.

2. MHE suppliers can be stretched thin when it comes to capacity
With the growing demand of ecommerce and the requirement for next day/same day delivery, the MHE supplier space is feeling the pain to keep up pace with demand. As this pressure builds up on traditional outlets for MHE, it is wise to consider integrators as they are typically more nimble and can meet customer’s tight schedule constraints. This expanded capacity comes from the ability to source from multiple MHE manufacturers and provide systems at a rate that may beat traditional project schedules.

3. MHE suppliers want to sell their own equipment first which may not be the best solution for you
It is in the best interest of an MHE manufacturer to promote and implement their own equipment. The concerns you should consider here are “Is this the best products for my needs?” They may have the right conveyor or the right sorter, but does that mean that all the products in their portfolio that they offer are the best fit? For example, they may have the right AS/RS solution but does their MDR solution fit? You may feel obligated to purchase products that may not be an exact match since typically these all get bundled. As MHE manufacturers have a myriad of equipment that they supply, not all may have the correct features or benefits that you require on a product level.

4. Integrators have strategic partnerships that can supply solutions that marry the right products for your needs at a cost-effective implementation
The solution is vetted by marrying up certain products on previous projects that have shown success. By maintaining a strategic distributorship and partnership within the industry, many times these successful project implementations can be highly cost effective. These partnerships are built over time and the cost savings are cascaded to the end user by utilizing volume discounts, strategic pricing arrangements, and relationships in the industry.

5. Integrators hold expertise in products across all MHE suppliers
Successful integrators must have a broad knowledge of what is available in the marketplace and be able to leverage several MHE manufacturer’s products to provide the end user with the right solution. Every facility has different KPI’s to be met and many times it is not as “cookie cutter” as it may seem. To be able to know the differentiators among all major MHE manufacturers is a large benefit for the end user of the equipment and saves time in the research phase for your specific needs. For example, to know all the features/benefits of every crossbelt sorter could be challenging, but integrators have access to these metrics, which can aid in the decision-making process for the solution that is best suited for your requirements.

As there is no cookie cutter solution and several variables to consider while choosing an automaton supplier you should be conscious of the available resources at your disposable that an integrator can provide. Whether you are seeking consultation, retrofit/upgrade or greenfield solutions, an integrator can provide services with a quick turn-around, cost competitive options, and project schedules that rival current market implementations.

If you'd like more information, or to speak with our team about your material handling needs, contact us. We look forward to connecting with you!

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As an SME in material handling, Satyen has an extensive background in creating solutions for the
retail/e-comm, Parcel, Post, and baggage handling market verticals. He has worn several hats including Product Management, Applications Engineer, Technical support and most recently as an Account Executive with DCS. Satyen has conducted numerous educational speaking engagements and has sat on committees for MHI.