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Automate or stagnate’ warns Automated Material Handling Systems Association, AMHSA

The message to logistics professionals from the Automated Material Handling Systems Association at its forthcoming symposium will be loud and clear: automate or stagnate.

Taking place on 2 May 2012, the event will feature an impressive line-up of speakers including Lord Digby Jones – former Director General of the CBI and Minister of UK Trade & Investment – who will give the symposium’s keynote address. With the brand-new conference centre at Silverstone as its venue, the symposium – entitled ‘Future Material Handling: Getting on track to win’ – will examine likely technological advances and human resource trends in the logistics sector over the next five years. The event will also provide company owners, directors and senior managers with a forum in which to debate the current and future role of automation in the supply chain.

Commented Mike Vernon, AMHSA President, "In the past, the systems and software available in warehousing and distribution have made automated material handling uneconomic for certain applications. As technology continues to shift the goalposts, we’re seeing changing patterns in ROI that are resulting in an increasing interest in automation for the supply chain, as clearly witnessed at the recent MODEX show in Atlanta. The warning to companies with distribution operations is clear: to maintain competitive advantage, they must consider automation."

Expert insight
Taking the podium after Lord Jones at the AMHSA symposium will be Brian McDill, Solutions and Operational Director at Norbert Dentressangle, who will discuss how 3PL contracts and short-termism currently inhibit the implementation and scope of warehouse automation. Brian will consider ways in which contracts might be modified to facilitate automation, enabling more users to secure its benefits.

Brian will be joined by Professor David Menachof of Hull University Business School, who will reveal current and predicted workforce migration trends within the UK and globally, explaining their impact – along with that of legislative changes – on British business and, in particular, the logistics sector.

Next to speak will be Jason Keegan, Head of General Merchandise Logistics at Marks and Spencer, who will look at handling automation now and over the next five years from a user’s perspective, with particular focus on the retail sector. The final podium position in the morning session will be taken by Mike Vernon of AMHSA, who will highlight the advances expected over the next five years in the areas of software, order picking technology and service support.

Rounding off the morning’s activities will be a Question & Answer session, allowing delegates to raise issues of particular interest to their businesses and debate future trends and technologies. Lunch will provide the ideal opportunity for delegates to network, not only with representatives from the leading automation providers in the UK and Europe but also with other delegates and the speakers themselves.

During the afternoon session, delegates will benefit from interesting focus study presentations delivered by Tom Hebbert, Supply Chain System and Development Director (UK and Ireland) for Tesco; and Jeff Rees, Director of The Logistics Business, who will talk about recent projects for Lakeland and Arco.

Win a driving experience
Delegates attending the event at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, will secure their chance to win one of three thrilling driving experiences at the legendary racetrack. For more details or to book one of the limited number of delegate places, visit www.amhsa.co.uk.

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