Emerging markets

"Voltas helps us to create value"

In this warehouse located an hour’s drive from Ahmedabad, tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of brown boxes, each one around twice the size of a shoe box, are stacked up tightly against one another. There’s something quite surreal about the towering racking that fills more than 9,000 square metres here.

Viewed from a distance, the boxes almost resemble the pattern of honeycomb with an impressive, almost uncanny, sense of order. It’s clear at first glance that the goods here must be handled with the utmost care. Welcome to the warehouse of Claris Otsuka, a leading manufacturer of medical infusions based in the state of Gujarat in north-west India. “We need a huge amount of space for our products,” says Bhadresh Parmar, Sr General Manager Project at Claris Otsuka. “That’s why we have to stack vertically. And when you are looking at vertical storage, material handling trucks have their limitations.”

There are, of course, reach trucks in India that extend to heights of 6.5 metres or even 8.5 metres. But for many customers, these are too expensive, particularly in India where the market generally demands affordable and robust solutions. This calls for innovation. For the KION Group, innovative solutions that help customers to create value are a matter of course, even in emerging markets.

Extendable feet for stability

The engineers at the KION India factory in Pune, an hour’s flight from Claris Otsuka, had a brainwave: they converted a pallet stacker specially for Claris Otsuka so that it could reach the required height of 6.5 metres. This kind of truck usually stops at 5.4 metres. The pallet stackers for Claris Otsuka were fitted with extendable feet for stability.

The benefits for the customer are enormous. “The cost savings for someone buying this truck instead of a reach truck are around 50 per cent,” says MRV Johnson, Chief Sales Officer at KION India. What’s more, the maximum lift heights on the more expensive reach trucks are often not used at all. “This is an alternative for customers who cannot afford a reach truck,” says Johnson. “At KION India, we hope to gain a greater share of the warehouse technology segment with products such as these.”

“We looked at various suppliers offering various products,” says Bhadresh Parmar from Claris Otsuka. “We found the solution with Voltas. And Voltas is a name that we can definitely trust.” Confidence in the trucks and their reliability is important, perhaps even more so for a manufacturer of medical equipment. “The fact that our product is constantly being despatched is highly significant for the production process,” explains Bhadresh Parmar. “Any interruption in despatch leads to an interruption in production.”

Customised material handling solutions increasingly important

Customised material handling solutions are becoming increasingly important even in India, a trend identified by MRV Johnson. “We are constantly looking at the changing market requirements and are fully prepared to meet the demands of our customers,” he says. And that's despite the fact that bespoke solutions currently only account for around 15 to 20 per cent of the market in India – largely because of costs.

Claris Otsuka is delighted that KION India could supply exactly what was required thanks to its capacity for innovation. “This solution has enabled us to make considerable savings on capital expenditure,” says Bhadresh Parmar. “Voltas helps us to create value by supplying material handling equipment that meets our requirements in every way,” he says, “and for that we are very grateful.”