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ALS: Reinforcing a legacy of premium automation solutions


Leaving an indelible mark with the latest technologies in Materials Handling, Cargo and Car Park Systems.

With its remarkable track record and stellar performance, ALS Logistic Solutions is now well on course to expand its operations with planned new subsidiaries
across the GCC and localizing some of its products to meet regional demands and requirements.

There is now increasingly an accepted consensus and principle that processes
and functions that involve handling materials, logistics and supply chain should and
must be automated when possible. Over the past several years, there has been virtually an exponential growth in technology and sophistication in robotics,
automation and materials handling. These innovations will improve operational efficiency, increase responses, deliver consistency and predictability and importantly result in substantially lower operating cost.

With more than three decades of trail-blazing experience, pioneering services provider ALS Logistic Solutions has reinforced its expertise in ergonomic space saving solutions for warehouses and parking areas among many other professional products and services. To get the lowdown on the range and extent of its operations
and performance, Global Supply Chain conducted an exclusive  interview with Walid Khoury, Group Managing Partner, ALS Logistic Solutions.

Global Supply Chain (GSC): To begin with, briefly what are the core activities, offerings, and specializations of ALS Logistic Solutions?

Walid Khoury (WK): ALS Logistic Solutions, founded in Germany over 30 years ago with branches in UAE, Malaysia, Singapore, and Germany is one of the leading suppliers of logistics automation with a worldwide footprint. Our material handling and automation portfolio covers a full range of solutions from manual operations to fully automated solutions, consisting of, but not limited to systems for Air Cargo
Handling, Modular Warehouse Equipment, Industrial Facility Automation, Express Handling, and Car Parks.

Our dedicated cross disciplinary consulting team designs and implements solutions that adapt to the customer needs and market requirements providing optimal
material flow that increases efficiency and productivity across various industries.

GSC: How is ALS evolving in the shadow of Covid-19? How have your priorities changed during the pandemic?

WK: During the Pandemic, we continued to support all the businesses and clients across our network and managed to keep every member safe and healthy.
Being a global solution provider with regional and local presence differentiated our offering as we were quickly able to respond to the customers’s needs especially
with the difficult travel and workplace restrictions that continue to date. ALS is very well positioned to help customers in their logistics journey helping them reduce costs and improve service levels.

GSC: In these times do you have a sense of greater gravitation by companies and LSPs (Logistics services providers) towards automation/digitalization?

WK: Automation will play a vital role in enabling organizations to meet evolving intralogistics complexity. As customers’ demands for choice and speed continue to grow, along with environmental concerns, trends such as anticipatory demand will be facilitated by the current shift away from manual processes towards the smart
connected warehouse and facilities.

GSC: Do you see a greater focus and orientation towards Automation going forward?
WK: Workforce shortages required companies to look for opportunities to automate
processes and reduce human involvement. Furthermore, the pandemic accelerated
investments that many organizations had already made in automation. Companies are looking to automate a larger share of their processes and automation, once limited to larger facilities is now being implemented in warehouses and
facilities of all sizes.

Automation is the best way to improve reliability and efficiency and to match the ever-growing expectations of end customers. The cost of automation solutions
has also decreased over recent years, and effectiveness has improved, leading to large, fully automated systems being deployed in a variety of industries beyond the historical courier express companies and airport baggage handling.

GSC: How is technology and automation meeting working/operational protocols in these pandemic times?

WK: Companies are now exploring the growing importance of technologies, such
as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and the role these platforms may play in evolving operational challenges. Well-structured organizations will improve their technology level, but new implementations might not work without the strict implementation of certain operational basics. Partial improvement will surely increase the efficiency but will not change the processes drastically if the changes are not implemented across the board.

GSC: Air Logistics is an important component of your operations and ALS has a
strong footprint in this sector.Please elaborate.

WK: We are an engineering specialist in the automation of operations and processes in Air Cargo Terminals since ALS’s inception. Our large network within the industry and our collaboration with international airlines and airports enable us to design and implement efficient solutions based on the latest trends and developments in
cargo handling in the aviation industry.

With ISO 9001 standards, ALS qualified engineering and project are experts in Project Design Planning, Air Cargo Terminals design, Planning Design Simulation, full or partial IT for automation, Installation / Training, and After Sales Support.

GSC: What are some new technologies that have emerged in recent times that are essentially a game-changer for LSPs in Covid-19 times?

WK: Since the pandemic started, many LSPs decided to implement full or partial
automation process handling in response to the labor shortages and to handle the increase in customer demands which most companies were not ready for. The improvements in handling do not only apply to the automated storage and
retrieval processes but are also related to labor  efficiency and the implementation of IT packages that deliver value stream and process improvements that target
these challenges.

GSC: What are your short and/or long-term expansion plans for the region?

WK: The Middle East is an interesting place to invest. The region is diversifying beyond oil, and economies are much stronger than before. From Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030 to more specific and targeted initiatives in Egypt and the GCC, ambitious and cutting-edge projects are becoming a reality.

The commitment of the countries remains strong and the increased infrastructure upgrade in the GCC countries will help the regional economy in the long run. We
are planning to open new subsidiaries in the region, starting in Saudi Arabia,
which is a very dynamic and exciting market for us.

We are exploring localization of some of our products which will help improve service levels and reduce lead times. ALS is also interested in expanding our business in Asia further, with India being our next focus area since we see many
opportunities in Material Handling and Storage Systems’ Automation. This follows our successful Asian expansion in Malaysia and Singapore.

GSC: What opportunities in store and challenges do you foresee going forward?

WK: For many years, the fully automated intralogistics facilities were the large sortation hubs of courier express due to the volume handled and the relative
uniformity of goods’ sizes that involve handling materials, logistics and supply chain should and must be automated when possible.

Nowadays, with convenience and customer experience at the forefront of retail logistics trends, warehouses and distribution centers have had to adapt to the evolving consumer landscape. The recent sharp rise of e-commerce has played
a huge role in shaping the way warehouses operate, as have consumer expectations for speed of delivery, customization, and product availability.

To meet the demands of fast-paced, e-commerce-driven retail operations, warehouses will continue to automate their processes.

GSC: An E-commerce surge as we are witnessing now is clearly a boom for your
business. Is that the case with ALS? Please elaborate.

WK: Trends that were emerging before the Pandemic–ordering more online, smaller order quantities and faster fulfillment needs–have accelerated enormously because of customer behavior that was forced from going to the store to ordering
online. The surge in demand for e-commerce services creates a good opportunity for our company.

ALS and our partners have been working with many pharmaceutical and food
retailers to help them match the right automation system to their distribution model. With the Micro Fulfillment Center (MFC), we can offer an e-commerce solution connected to pharmacies and supermarkets.

November 2021:  https://globalsupplychainme.com/digital-issues/november-2021/

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