Who is in Your Corner? – Material Handling Integrator Vs. Equipment Manufacturer

Written By: Jason Nowak

Kids Arm WrestlingIt’s the age old question for anyone considering automating their distribution or manufacturing process… Should I work with a material handling equipment integrator that can provide a blend of equipment to fit the unique automation solution, or buy a system from an equipment manufacturer that will provide a turnkey solution utilizing the products they manufacture?

My answer to this question sums it up by identifying 2 differentiating factors…

1) The technological advantage of utilizing best in class equipment and solutions.

By definition independent integrators are, well… independent, which means that with each new situation presented to them in the market, they are free to research the best and newest available equipment and develop a solution utilizing the right blend of conventional and cutting edge technologies for their customer.

No one manufacturer can be on the leading edge of every technology, but an integrator has the ability to pick and choose partners to fit the situation. This ensures the provided solution will include the best equipment from a wide range of partners, and it also ensures that everything is integrated in a way that provides end users with a custom engineered solution that not only benefits them but also helps them accomplish their business objectives.

2) Motivated only by success

The ultimate goal of a sales person employed by an equipment manufacturer is obviously to sell as much of the equipment produced by his employer as possible. The equipment manufacturer’s sales staff has the enormous responsibility of being the only source of revenue generation for the entire factory. Their sales must cover overheads and pay the salaries of several hundred factory employees, which makes them very motivated to convince everyone in the marketplace that their products are the best.

If your material handling partner has already decided on the “right” technology (the one they manufacture) before they fully understand your objectives, then the solution is limited because they aren’t exploring all the options the market has to offer.

In contrast, the integrator’s responsibility is to the end user… It’s simple; the integrator must provide the best solution to ensure the customer will–by implementing the proposed system–have a market advantage over their competition.  Regardless of the chosen technology or the equipment manufacturer. Being independent from the influence of equipment manufacturers allows the integrator to review similar technologies to find the “best of the best.” This ensures each project is reviewed, the technology is chosen, and the solution is determined based only on the project objectives.

In summary, no single equipment manufacturer is the best in the business at every technology across all vertical markets. If a company’s core competency is designing and building conveyors then that manufacturer may not be the best choice to design, build, and integrate an ASRS system, an AGV, or other technologies when automating your warehouse or manufacturing facility.

Which would you choose–an equipment manufacturer or independent integrator to install your material handling system? Why?

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