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f+h Intralogistics 5/2015

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f+h Intralogistics 5/2015

MARKET AND TECHNOLOGY I

MARKET AND TECHNOLOGY I INTERVIEW Intralogistics in China − a market with growth potential for MIAS MIAS Materials Handling (Kunshan) Co., Ltd. opened its production plant in Kunshan, China in 2009. The parent company MIAS Group believes that opening production facilities in China is part of the systematic development of its activities in Asia to date. The f+h editorial team spoke to Dr. Johannes Fottner, Managing Director of the MIAS Group and David Wang, General Manager of MIAS Materials Handling (Kunshan) Co., Ltd. about the current activities by the specialist for automated warehouse solutions regarding its medium-term and future strategies in China. Mister Wang, from your point of view, how have the business activities of MIAS Asia developed over the last six years since the company’s site was opened in 2009? Wang: We always had a very positive approach to the market and have exceeded our expectations. The need for high-quality goods has increased significantly in the Chinese market, as the use of automated systems is continuously increasing. As the global market leader for telescopic forks, The interview with Doctor Johannes Fottner (right of the picture) and David Wang (left of the picture) was conducted by the editorial team of f+h Intralogistics MIAS is the first representative of these products on the Chinese market. The MIAS brand is now very well-known within the Chinese logistics industry and we are the leading component manufacturer for load handling devices and AS/RS in all industries. What are your main sales markets in Asia, and what exactly is the core business of MIAS Asia? Wang: Of course, nowadays, China is the main market for our products within Asia. However, we also supply a variety of customers in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and all of the other countries within Asia. The core business of MIAS is to work with customers on site to develop the best possible solutions for their transport tasks. We have excellent application engineers based in China so that we can discuss any customer adaptations directly with the customer without any time delays. A new production plant, manufacturing and sales center was opened in Kunshan in October 2012. The surface area was increased from 1,200 to 5,000 square meters. Why was this investment necessary? Wang: The move in 2012 had been planned since we opened at the end of 2009. We were certainly positively surprised by our market success especially during our first year in China. However, we always believed that the market would be very strong. We continue to record a significant increase in customer demand for our products. Over time, we have ensured that the range of products manufactured in China is pretty much the same as that produced in Munich, Germany. The expansion has, first and foremost enabled us to increase our capacities and more importantly, it has created a clear separation between production and assembly. What devices are produced in the new production facility? Wang: Although MIAS decided from the outset to fully focus and start production of load handling devices for the Chinese market at the Kunshan plant, it was clear from the first day that our full product range – load handling devices, AS/RS and services – would soon be established and produced at the site. Nowadays, all of our products for the Chinese market, with a few exceptions in the case of special devices, are produced at the Kunshan site. Why did you opt for Kunshan when it came to selecting the location of the site? Were there any particular reasons? Wang: Kunshan is close to the economic center Shanghai, but is in itself large enough to enable the city to develop its own profile. In 2009, it was important for us to have room to be able to expand from the outset, a good connection to Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing and the rest of the world via Pudong International Airport, to have a sufficient number of well-trained staff available, and, particularly, to have a good network of excellent suppliers. We were able to achieve all of this in Kunshan. The German Industrial Park provided us with a premises where we initially did not have to worry about the infrastructure such as 20 f+h Intralogistics 5/2015

INTERVIEW I MARKET AND TECHNOLOGY security, electricity or developments. The organization enabled us to concentrate on our business from the very first day. Doctor Fottner, when you were initially founding the company in China, the press reported that you often travelled to China to personally check up on the situation. Is this still the case today? How often are you still on site? Doctor Fottner: Then and now, the main aim is not to check up on the situation but to ensure the link between the Chinese and German business is as close as possible. The Chinese market is so dynamic and exciting that you quickly loose contact when you are several thousand kilometers away. It is therefore still important that I am on site at least every two months. If we look to the future, how do you think the Chinese market will continue to develop, including with regard to the business activities of your own company? Doctor Fottner: The Chinese market will become the strongest individual market for the MIAS Group in the midterm, and probably even in the shortterm. Despite uncertainties about future economic growth in China, the intralogistics industry will grow disproportionately simply because of the infrastructure that needs to be developed to distribute goods. Industry 4.0 will also generate positive vibes. We will make further investments to expand our presence on the market so that we can provide our Chinese customers with the best possible services and products. From a long-term perspective, is there a plan to open further MIAS production plants in China? Doctor Fottner: We have expanded our production facilities multiple times over the last three years even before the previously mentioned production of our AS/RS is launched in China. We believe that the current setup sets us in good stead and means that we are perfectly prepared for the future. The MIAS philosophy is to ensure that production facilities are close to our customers, however, I do not envisage more plants within China. Why do you believe it is so important to invest in the Chinese market? Doctor Fottner: As previously mentioned, we believe that the Chinese market will become the strongest individual market for MIAS over the coming years and I personally believe that the same will apply for the intralogistic sector in general. Despite current weak growth, this is a highly dynamic market with special requirements. To ensure our success, we must maintain a presence and be available to provide suitable local services. The importance of a local presence in China has become very clear to us since we entered the market. Photo: MIAS www.mias-group.com About MIAS Group Headquartered in Munich, the MIAS Group with more than 300 employees is an international equipment manufacturer in the field of warehousing and transportation technology, where it offers stacker cranes and load handling devices. MIAS Group will be part of Jungheinrich AG’s business unit Logistics Systems and will continue to offer its products completely independent under the MIAS brand name. Consulting & Engineering Across the Supply Chain The Miebach Consulting Group was founded in 1973 in Frankfurt, Germany by Dr. Ing. Joachim Miebach to provide supply chain consultancy and material flow engineering services for large and medium-sized companies on a global scale. Miebach – The Supply Chain Engineers – deliver their services worldwide across 20 offices from Frankfurt to Shanghai. Our worldwide network in key regions of Europe, North & South America and Asia provides effective international support to our clients. With over 300 employees is the company one of the leading Consultants for logistics, production and supply chain design. Miebach Consulting GmbH Untermainanlage 6 60329 Frankfurt am Main Germany Tel. +49 69 273992-0 Miebach Consulting Group: Bangalore, Barcelona, Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Dammam, Frankfurt, Guatemala, Indianapolis, Katowice, Lima, Madrid, Mexico, Milano, Montreal, Santiago de Chile, São Paulo, Shanghai, Zug www.miebach.com

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