Warehouse & Logistics News – The Annual 2023 – Questions
Where is the logistics industry heading?
Advanced Automation, which promises to make warehouses and distribution centres resilient against their biggest challenges and capitalising on their biggest opportunities. L-A-C’s growth curve confirms Automated DC’s ARE the future. Their automated solutions provide a safer, faster, and smarter service.
L-A-C Logistics Automation are a well-respected UK manufacturer and system integrator. They produce conveyor systems, automation solutions and bespoke robotic systems for materials handling requirements. Engineering is very much in the blood of this business, and we are proud to manufacture in the UK but also partner with worldwide companies who help us push boundaries.
Today, L-A-C operates from its 70,000 ft2, Nottingham facility and employs over 150 multiskilled specialists. Our in-house skillsets include R&D, solution design, sales, manufacturing, electrical/mechanical build, electrical/software design and implementation, project management, installation, commissioning, and aftercare teams.
We have an impressive product portfolio and skillset which means our solutions are designed and built for the application, not constrained by equipment limitations. This has enabled us to gain a natural foothold in our core business sectors, retail/E-fulfilment, post and parcel distribution, production manufacturing, warehouse distribution and food. We predominately operate in the UK but have installed several robotic systems across Europe and have shipped conveyor systems worldwide.
What products or services does your company offer?
We bring many years of experience and expertise to the table, built from varying industry backgrounds. This includes everything from consultation, solution design and manufacture to implementation and maintenance. The heart of LAC is in the supply and manufacture of conveyors and load handling systems. Over the years we have developed clever technologies around this such as Robotics and software. We develop AMR (autonomous mobile robot) based solutions around pallet moving and high-speed shuttles.
How important is the profile of your employees to LAC’s success?
As a growing technological business, it is key to have to have an ideal balance in the work force of both experience and new blood. To achieve this LAC have implemented a strategy to attract some of the brightest people in the industry to join our vibrant team. This combined with our graduate recruitment program allows us to drive towards a successful future.
Do you have any examples of a project you have recently completed?
This year L-A-C has delivered, just shy of 400 projects, ranging from small conveyor units, upgrades to existing systems, to large scale warehouse and robotics solutions. We continue to grow are market share within Post & Parcel and have pushed boundaries with our robotics capabilities. With the introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence), further enhancing a recently installed robot palletising system. The icing on the cake has been the successful implementation of the UK’s first Exotec Skypod System.
What are your most recent product innovations?
We are developing our WCS (Warehouse Control System) capability to provide more standard modules for ASRS and conveyor integration. We are working on some top-secret software for the maintenance industry as well.
What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?
The biggest trends impacting the industry are the shortage of labour and the availability of parts. More companies are now starting to invest in automation systems as a must, rather than a nice to have. This is simply due to labour availability. Control hardware is one of the biggest challenges for suppliers, however we have won some orders recently due to our ability to source alternative drive solutions. We manufacture in the UK, which means we have aggressive lead times on conveyors which we find are rarely beaten.
Can you tell us about any recent customer contract wins and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?
We recently won a project on conveyor lead times alone. Our competition were bringing conveyor In from Europe
How were business levels in 2022 compared to previous years?
What is your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?
Invest heavily in resources and R&D, wait out the recession and then capitalize
In what areas are you making technological advances?
Software and product standardisation
What training do you provide for your staff?
We have developed some specialist training courses for the industry because it is extremely hard to train in conveyors and automation in traditional educational institutions. We are only just getting started but we plan to be one of the best industry trainers out there. We are ramping up our graduate schemes and apprenticeships.
Will you be investing in your premises over the next 12 months?
Yes – we are planning on a refurb. We need more desks!
What industries do you believe offer your business the most potential over the next year?
Retail robotics applications & the 3PL sector.
How future proof is your business?
Very we are privately owned with strong cashflow, and we have invested heavily in resources & R&D over the past 6 months and will do over the next 12.
How would you sum up your company in three words?
Accommodating, passionate and opportunistic.