After exponential growth in the USA, MHS started its European journey three years ago. As of 2020 MHS Europe, VanRiet and OCM are now rebranded under a single MHS identity, further reinforcing the company’s reputation as a single-source provider of automated transportation and sorting solutions. Frank Engelen, Product Manager at MHS, tells us more about the customer focused solutions that MHS has to offer.
You are now part of a true global business. What does that mean for your customers?
Our customers now have access to the latest technology, a robust supply chain and worldwide support. We have R&D centres in Europe and the United States and strategic partnerships with suppliers and developers across the world. By sharing knowledge and best practices, a new development is quickly globally available. This is a real benefit in a rapidly changing world. Producing our products in different parts of the world brings backups and flexibility into the supply chain. Finally, with support teams and a global partner network we are able to support anyone anywhere.
What are the solutions that each region produces?
Using the strengths of a region to develop the best products is well illustrated by our portfolio. In Northern Italy, a region known for its high-tech production industry, our team developed and produces the cross belt ‘HC Loop’. Cross belts are already popular in Europe, but due to rising parcel volumes in dense population areas globally, we see a growing demand in the rest of the world. The Netherlands is the home of the ‘HC Sorter’, our conventional shoe sorter. Labour costs are increasing and a pleasant working environment is very important. As a result, the HC Sorter is easy to maintain and is the quietest shoe sorter on the market. The trend towards a quieter working environment is worldwide and we are ready for it. Finally, in the United States, our teams are working with the latest robotics, vision and AI algorithms. This resulted in our Smalls Parcel Singulator Robot and our Predictive Maintenance Suite.
We know that the rise of E-Commerce has brought new trends to the sortation sector.
What are those trends and how are you reacting to them?
E-commerce is booming and the effects on parcel volumes are common knowledge, but also the packaging is changing. Both e-tailers and consumers understand that shipping ‘air’ is inefficient and expensive. On top of that, we’ve seen an increase in items being shipped in polybags for some years now. We see, for example, that having an automatic solution for the sortation of smalls, like the HC Smalls Sorter, is no longer a wish, but a must-have for our customers.
Why do your solutions work so well for your customers?
At MHS we have a comprehensive, customer-centric approach that includes in-house custom engineering, design, manufacturing and turnkey integration services. The high-quality solutions are modular, starting from a standard model. Therefore, our solutions are relatively easy to adjust or expand. But the main and best reason is that we are in direct contact with our customers. We execute projects ourselves and develop our own products. Our Product Managers and Developers can have direct contact with customers and the people in the field.
How do you see the market changing in the years ahead?
More processes will be automated. Lights-out sorting systems are where we are headed. This means even more integration of different products, so we will see a strong focus on robotics, vision and AI combined with conventional sorters and conveyor technology. It will be crucial to understand all these worlds to develop a successful system in the future.