Poul Lorentzen, General Manager, Körber Supply Chain Automation, talks about Körber's thrust in Southeast Asia.
Körber has been operating in Asia for over 20 years. Why the decision to combine the 12 sister companies now?
Our decision boils down to one reason: we believe that the best way to conquer supply chain complexities is by working together. Customers expect faster lead times, expanded product lines, and tailored experiences, and these demands all lead to greater supply chain complexities.
We believe that by bringing software, hardware and our global experts together, we will be stronger as one team, which enables us to offer our Southeast Asian (SEA) customers a multidisciplinary global approach that creates new possibilities for supply chain solutions.
Körber now possesses the solutions and expertise to conquer supply chain complexities on a whole new level. This includes:
Collectively, we offer integrated systems solutions for a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, chemical and pharmaceuticals and retail and e-commerce. We also supply digitized solutions for production logistics, warehouses, distribution centers, transport and last mile fulfilment.
What does this decision mean for Körber’s customers in SEA?
Our combined expertise enables us to seamlessly integrate one solution with another for our customers, strengthening each of their supply chain processes. Our customers will have full access to solutions from 12 of the world's top supply chain solution providers,
giving them the resources they need to quickly adapt to new circumstances and to meet unique consumer demands.
And as mentioned before, many companies are facing multiple challenges posed by an increasingly complex supply chain, as well as a shrinking labor force. The latter is especially true in Asian countries with declining birth rates. Furthermore, the nature of our fast-paced and rapidly changing industry welcomes and requires innovation. Most supply chain professionals struggle to integrate their supply chains, with more than 90% of them not ready to handle today’s complexities. Körber’s vast spectrum of technologies can benefit customers looking to streamline their supply chain.
Our solutions range from voice, vision & mobility, smart robotic solutions and automated storage technologies to palletizing and depalletizing systems. These different technologies need to be woven together in order to achieve their full potential — this is how Körber uniquely solves supply chain complexities.
Ultimately, as Körber, we can now offer our customers integrated solutions at a level that was previously not possible, unlike anyone else in the industry.
There are already many logistics solutions providers in the industry — what sets Körber apart from its competition?
We’re at the forefront of the supply chain industry, and are in a unique position with our high software competency and automation experience along the whole supply chain. We have completed thousands of installations worldwide, and our team combines a global footprint with a local presence to help customers make smart decisions and to optimize various processes.
Our global partner network will allow us to better customize solutions to help expedite seamless movement throughout the supply chain. Regardless of our customers’ supply chain needs, our team of technology providers, system integrators and consultants will work together to help conquer our customers’ supply chain complexities. We have the right solution, at the right time, at any step of the supply chain.
We have earned recognition for our service, thanks to our customer-first culture. This won’t change — our commitment to providing the best service and support for our existing products and integrations will remain.
What major trends have you noticed in recent times that may have an impact on Körber?
The supply chain industry is constantly changing along with the times. In Asia, there is growing interest in last mile delivery and automation in logistics. As mentioned before, an increasing number of consumers are making their purchases online, and brick and mortar retailers are readily adopting online sales platforms. This trend is now further amplified due to the recent economic circumstances brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Another trend is a growing interest in automating cold-chain logistics. Changing purchasing habits that have increased demand for frozen food products and automation is needed to achieve efficiency in the mega-cold store warehouses being built. It is also getting very difficult to hire operators to work in sub-zero temperatures.
Many countries in the region have also changed their labor regulations to protect employees. For example, some have implemented work shifts, while others are increasing the use of automated technologies. This is where we can support companies as they seek to improve overall productivity within their warehouse operations and to align with new labor regulations. For instance, our newest software, Körber InSight Contact Tracer (Contact Tracer) helps our customers to mitigate and handle the impact of COVID-19 across distribution operations. Contact Tracer tracks the locations of people, devices, orders and the corresponding use of equipment throughout the warehouse, protecting workers and operations.
As for COVID-19, given the economic and social disturbances this virus has caused, it is reasonable to suggest the supply chain of the future will look different, certainly on a macro level. This may result in change on a micro level too, for example, and this is my guess, more de-centralised logistics entities. If so, solutions will also change to some extent.
What future plans does Körber have in Asia?
We plan to help more SEA companies drive operational growth. Specifically, the global pandemic will change the way companies are operating and will bring about long standing changes to both consumer and business behaviors. Companies will look for new strategies to reach customers, such as pivoting to on-demand delivery or delivering pre-orders post lockdown.
Various segments of e-commerce have witnessed different degrees of impact, with some having come to a grinding halt while others are ramping operations. Traditional retail stores have also shifted to online orders in a bid to keep up with customers. One immediate challenge that businesses need to address when implementing such changes is building strong supply chain networks to match consumer demand.
Ultimately, companies that wish to ramp-up delivery and operation efforts need to adopt innovative solutions such as digital, automated solutions to enable greater efficiencies across supply chain networks. As consumers and businesses embrace digital transformation, businesses looking to automate multiple warehousing processes can count on Körber for support.
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