Leading UK Manufacturer and System Integrator
LAC Conveyors & Automation are a well–respected and established UK manufacturer of conveyor systems, automation solutions and bespoke robotic systems for material handling requirements.
Our mission is, through imaginative and blue sky thinking, to be recognised as class-leading solution providers for materials handling and automation systems across all industry sectors.
One of our primary objectives is to set ourselves apart from competitors. Through investment in qualified and professional staff, embodying a can–do attitude we can continuously improve the quality of our products and continue to deliver on–time projects.
John Wilson, Business Development Manager LAC Conveyors & Automation spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
What does your role involve on a day-to-day basis?
I have been part of the L-A-C team for 5 years and what an exciting 5 years it has been. As a business we have been through incredible transformation and growth. I have spent the last two years working closely with the sales and solutions design team on driving up our market share within the logistics supply chain. My current day-to-day is now more focussed on Business Development and working closely with all divisions within L-A-C to ensure we keep on growing and improving skill sets and technologies.
How would you explain the L-A-C Culture?
Our team is made up from people who have followed each other through their varied careers which means we have a rich history and project portfolio. With this comes a passion to learn, grow and reinvest in our team and future technologies. Engineering is very much in the blood of this business and we are proud to manufacture in the UK but also to partner with worldwide companies who help us push the boundaries.
How does this culture assist your clients’ requirements?
We have built and maintained great customer relationships throughout our journey. This has been achieved from simply “clearly understanding our customer’s needs” and ensuring we maintain transparency and openness in communication. The world of Logistics is becoming ever more demanding. This is where are rich history comes in to play. We have a portfolio of clever technologies/systems that are always developing. We design with efficiency and simplicity in mind to ensure our customers solution is commercially viable and fit for purpose.
Tell us how L-A-C are growing in the UK
We have ambitious plans for growth in the UK. In this game you are only as good as your last project and if you don’t look after your customers then it is not easy to grow. Customer service is therefore crucial and we will pay this plenty of attention. We are always striving to improve our products and services and are passionate about the industries we operate in. The other major focus is recruitment and investing in younger talent as it’s hard to find people in this industry due to the lack of specific training.
What makes L-A-C unique in your industry?
It is our people which means our solution & delivery capability is excellent. We have a deep and varied skill set combined with lots of interesting experience in sectors ranging from Post and Parcel to Retail E-commerce. We are strong at machine building, robot development and product development which is unusual for a smaller integrator.
What solutions do L-A-C offer customers?
The heart of L-A-C is in the supply and manufacture of conveyors. Over the years we have designed and developed clever technologies around this such as robotics and software. We have also brought on board great partners such as ABB and Exotec. This has positioned us where we sit to date. Our impressive product portfolio and skill set means that our solutions are purpose designed and built for the application, not constrained by equipment range limitations. We are a turnkey solution provider and our focus is delivery through in-house expertise.
What sectors do these clients work in?
We have built up a great “Automation Toolbox” over the years, this has evolved from the different industry sectors our team have worked in. We have been able to develop and adapt these technologies (not only hardware but software as well) to suit the varying industry sectors we operate in today. These industry sectors include Retail, Post and Parcel, E-commerce, Third-party logistics, Food and Manufacturing.
How future proof and flexible are your solutions?
Advancements in technology are reducing the requirement for fixed infrastructure systems meaning that solutions are easier to concept and implement. Exotec for example have developed the world’s first rack climbing AMR robot that delivers totes to pick stations reducing the need for fixed conveyor networks. We are also seeing increased enquiries for end of line robotic systems in the Food Manufacturing and Logistics industries. ABB are leading the charge on piece picking and stacking applications which are now being enhanced by AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities.
Further to this, the post and parcel industry does not seem to be letting up due to the growth of online activity. We therefore continue to evolve solutions for clients and have developed some unique high-speed labelling and conveying technology.
What new services/solutions are you offering for 2022/23?
We have a passion for engineering so we can’t stop people from working on new ideas and our clients constantly demand that we push the boundaries. We are always engaged in bespoke engineering and we are evolving our product range which will complement our partner relationships with ABB and Exotec.
We have developed a range of high-speed belt conveyors that can run up to 3 m/s and some high-speed labelling machines. We are continually evolving our special application conveyor range as clients often have specific needs. We are also developing our WCS software so that we can integrate new product ranges and partner technologies.
Tell us about recent projects L-A-C were involved with?
We have worked with a range of businesses which have varied in both size and specification. We have worked on projects ranging from a-few-thousand-pounds, right up to multi-million-pound systems. Some of our most successful projects have included repeat business for some of the largest parcel-handling companies in the UK and worldwide. We have also built great partner relationships with both Exotec and ABB. In working closely with our partners, we have been able to break into new business sectors. We were awarded our first Exotec, Skypod System order which is due to go live in November 2022 and have worked on several high-profile robotic systems, utilising dynamic software for the creation of pallet stack patterns for mixed SKU palletising.
Do you cover the whole of the UK?
We have systems operational as far north as Inverness and a vast array of warehouse systems operational down south. Our client base is widespread in the UK and growing. The demand for automation in the UK is expanding rapidly and doesn’t show signs of letting up.