Interview with Mike Hilton: Warehouse & Logistics News 2022 Annual

L-A-C is based in Nottingham where it has a 70,000 ft² site, with head office and manufacturing facilities. L-A-C employs over 140 people and has exceeded its £30M turnover target for the 2020/21 financial year. The core of the business is developing and selling total integrated automated solutions into three business sectors: Logistics Supply Chain, Post & Parcel, and Food.


We are proud to have been providing innovative conveyor and state of the art automation solutions to a range of industries for more than two decades, gaining a breadth of experience unmatched in our industry. Constant review and updating of our equipment ensures we provide the very best technologies within our core business sectors. Our solutions are purpose designed and built for the application, not constrained by equipment range limitations. We propose the best solution and deliver it.

Mike Hilton LAC


What products or services does your company offer?


As a systems integrator and manufacturer, we are uniquely positioned in the UK logistics arena. We can provide our customer base with a full warehouse system, enabling smooth collaboration between manpower and automation. The core of our business relies on our conveyor solutions and are solely responsible for around 50% of our turnover. Ever since L-A-C was formed, we have concentrated our efforts on perfecting our conveyor systems, and this process has never stopped, as we continue to adapt with new technologies.


As the need for automated solutions grows in the logistics and warehouse industry, we have expanded our product portfolio to ensure we can provide full warehouse systems, we now provide a range of logistics solutions including: Exotec Skypod, TGW mini-load cranes, robotic palletising, and AMR’s to name a few. This is further enhanced utilising our in-house software. Enabling our clients to change, adapt and grow their business with minimal disruption. Covering all aspects of warehouse management our high-level software integrates seamlessly with host IT systems, offering great usability and real time warehouse communication.


Which industries do your customers operate in?


The combination of our vast experience and impressive product portfolio enables us to offer solutions into an array of industries. With this, we can adapt our strengths to new and upcoming industries, ensuring we keep up with the high demands of the logistics arena. Some of the industries we operate in include, retail, post & parcel, e-commerce, food & beverage, healthcare, third-party logistics and industrial distribution, just to name a few.


Do you have any examples of a project you have recently completed?


Over the duration of 2021 we have worked with a range of businesses, which vary in size, industry, and system requirements. Projects in 2021 have ranged from singular conveyor orders to complete multi-million pound warehouse automation solutions. Some of our most successful projects throughout the year include repeat business for some of the largest parcel-handling companies in the UK and worldwide, collaborating with household names such as Hermes on several occasions.


With our exclusive UK launch of the Exotec Skypod System our focus has been on driving this technology into the UK market. Following the L-A-C team’s hard work, we are excited by the amount of interest we have had surrounding the Skypod, which consequently will lead to our first project being signed off late 2021 for the Exotec system.


How did your company react to the Covid-19 outbreak and consequent lockdowns?


Like many businesses throughout the past two-years, adaptability has been key to the success of L-A-C. We have evolved with the demands of each industry, moving into different sectors as demands grow or shrink. The team here has enhanced this with high-quality training and employing new people with different strengths to help maintain growth through the difficult times that Covid-19 has brought.


Do you think some of the trends that began or were accelerated during Covid-19, such as the increase in e-commerce, will become permanent?


Prior to the restrictions that we saw from Covid-19, L-A-C had a long-term plan of concentrating our efforts on providing full warehouse system technologies, stepping away from other, more familiar projects, such as systems within the Automotive industry. As the demands for industries such as e-commerce and parcel handling have grown throughout the pandemic, the need for warehouse systems has followed suit. Fortunately, we were prepared to take this step. Covid-19 certainly has accelerated the process and the demands of some industries, and we have been strategically positioned to handle this accelerated approach. Whilst the almost exponential growth of ecommerce will drop back slightly, we think we have seen a change in this sector which will continue to grow.


What products or services will you be introducing in the next year?


At L-A-C, we are always looking for new ways to improve our systems. Whether this is something we can develop and create ourselves or work with one of our partners to do so. Our partnerships with the likes of Exotec, TGW and ABB have enabled us to constantly provide the latest technology, thus installing the most productive and cost-effective solutions.


L-A-C provides various levels of proactive care and maintenance packages to ensure our customers are in safe hands. The new financial year will see an expanding aftercare team and 24/7 support to ensure our customers systems continue their high performance and availability.


What training do you provide for your staff?


A range of training is provided when a new individual joins the L-A-C team, depending upon the role they start in, will determine the type of training. Our in-house manufacturing and installation teams receive constant updates on new training programmes to broaden their expertise, improve productivity levels and ensure they are working in a safe environment.


Our design and sales teams also are given training on the latest technologies on programmes such as Visual Components. We also utilise our partners regularly to help provide our staff with the best training, with the likes of Exotec and ABB having an involvement with the relevant members of our team.


Are you helping customers boost the level of automation in their business?


We recognise that most warehouse systems will require a level of automation, especially with constant technological advancements. However, we respect that each project is bespoke, and often requires a mixture of automation to work alongside its employees. Providing the right balance in each project depends on the requirements of the system, given by the customer. Key to this is the need to ensure that each system specified provides a compelling return on investment.


Do you help customers maximise the use of their existing warehouse space?


We are constantly looking to optimise the use of our customers warehouse space. We understand that as supply and demand levels fluctuate, space utilisation is critical to ensuring that our customers can make the most effective use of the space available. With our current range of solutions, and the introduction of the Exotec Skypod to our armoury, we can offer dense storage solutions to make the most out of available warehouse space.


Will you be investing in your premises over the next 12 months?


As the world has begun to open back up, we recognise the importance of face-to-face meetings and building relationships in person. Following this, we have recently made refurbishments to our reception area, to give our customers a better first impression and another aesthetic meeting space. We also have plans to design and install our own on-site Technology Centre, showcasing our range of systems, including our newly developed range of conveyors and the Exotec Skypod. The new financial year will also see investment in a new manufacturing facility expanding our in-house capabilities.


Will you be exhibiting at any major trade shows in 2022?


We will be attending the IntralogisteX expedition in Coventry on March 29th & 30th 2022, where we will be joining Exotec, to promote the Skypod System with our friends from France. We also plan on visiting the Deliver event in Amsterdam, and the LogiMAT expedition in Stuttgart during 2022 with Exotec.


How future proof is your business?


Our diverse skill set throughout the business will ensure the continuous growth of L-A-C Logistics Automation. Our passion to learn grow and reinvest in our employees and future technologies naturally aids us in gaining a strong foothold within our core industries. As we see peaks and troughs in demand from different industries, we can adapt our skill set to suit with ease. The key to all of this lies within successful installations and repeat business through the building of valuable customer relationships, driven from the focus of “clearly understanding our customer’s needs”


How would you sum up your company in three words?


Diverse, innovative, passionate.


L-A-C’s team of experts are here to support you from concept to the finished system, working together to design and deliver a bespoke solution that meets your current objectives and future growth expectations, with favourable ROI. 


Across semi-automated and fully automated systems, L-A-C has the expertise and range of products to provide flexible and scalable solutions that will significantly enhance your operations and keep you agile as your business evolves. 


Join us on a pivotal journey towards a more efficient, productive, cost effective and sustainable future with L-A-C’s innovative automation technology solutions.

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Unit 3, Charles Park Cinderhill Road, Bulwell, Nottingham NG6 8RE
0115 975 3300
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