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Logistics firm set to ride on Thai recovery

Riding on the back of the Kingdom's economic recovery after the coup in May, the Thai subsidiary of the world's leading intra-logistics speciality provider, Germany-based Schaefer, hopes to see double-digit growth in revenue next year. The optimistic outlook reflects a return of demand for automated warehousing solution services.

The company is eyeing potential dynamic sectors such as food, construction, material stores, e-commerce and pharmaceutical whose common services are not receiving a sufficient response, said Sarawut Laoprasert, country manager for |SSI Schaefer Systems International Co.

"Demand for services from our clients has returned after a hiccup from something [the prolonged political unrest]." He added that a resumption of pending orders had been seen and the company expected to come close to its revenue target for the year after initially predicting a shortfall.

Providing a full rage of services - from design to the installation of warehousing systems - Schaefer claims to be the global market leader with total annual revenue of $2.6 billion.

Schaefer also produces machinery and equipment for warehousing solution services that it supplies to its more than 50 representative offices worldwide.

It runs 16 factories on three continents. The countries it operates in include China and Malaysia. Due to market tension, Schaefer entered Thailand via its subsidiary 25 years ago.

SSI serves more high-end clients who need high-technology solutions for their storage management. Sarawut said that speed and efficiency were still trending for corporations that wanted to improve their services to meet client needs.

He said the company was eyeing electronic commerce, retail, pharmaceutical, and automotive companies that needed automated warehouse solutions to improve the storage efficiency.

"Corporates need to adopt new technology due to an increase in demand for fast and efficient services and a difficulty in finding labour," he said, adding that more companies were employing automated warehouse systems and SSI was closely observing the automotive industry expansion in Myanmar. Based on survey results, Sarawut said an automated warehousing system helped the labour force and saved time.

It improved the speed of services three-fold and increased storage capacity 30 per cent. Overall, automated machinery could help reduce store-front service costs almost two-fold.

In the Thai warehousing solutions market, SSI has a share of 20 to 25 per cent and revenue of Bt3 billion annually, Sarawut said.

Its major clients include the country's largest food and food processor Charoen Pokphand Foods, Heineken, Tops Supermarket, Tesco Lotus, CP All, L'Oreal, Unilever and Tipco, as well as third-party logistics service providers like DHL Thailand, Schenker Stinners Logistics and Kerry Logistics.

Sarawut said that Schaefer's strong point was that vital machinery like conveyors and vertical lifts were developed and produced by itself. In the last quarter this year, he said SSI would open a business in Bangkok to introduce new Schaefer products used for intra-logistics installation after recently launching a high-speed conveyor system.


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