The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) has endorsed the strategic findings of a new report by the European Materials Handling Federation (FEM) outlining the direction of the European materials handling industry over the next five years.
BITA is a member of FEM, which is the trade body representing the European materials handling equipment manufacturers. The industry employs 400,000 people across Europe, both directly and indirectly, and contributed a positive trade balance of £14 bn in 2018.
In its report, Strategic Vision 2025, FEM said it was vital that the industry kept pace with technological and societal change but that the needs of the people working within the industry were not overlooked.
The report sets out three imperatives needed to fulfil its vision and to ensure the industry is fit for purpose over the next five years. Of these, the development of an adaptive energy, IT and transport infrastructure is critical.
It also calls for a collaborative framework that sustains innovation, promotes international cooperation and nurtures new business. Finally, the development of a modern workforce, skilled in the needs of the needs of the digital era must also be promoted.
The report states: “More than ever, our industry must show versatility and agility to tackle the challenges ahead.”
It adds: “Human capital is our industry’s most valuable asset and at the core of its success. The transformation process our companies are going through, whether vin terms of internal processes, value propositions or even sometimes entire business models, has a direct impact on their people. In a world changing fast, industrial growth can only be sustained by an agile workforce that is educated and trained according to new needs.”
In order to achieve this, it maintains that developing digital skills within the workforce will be important in ensuring both the success of the companies and the employability of workers.
Meeting the demand for cleaner, more efficient trucks is also one of the priorities. Of the forklift trucks currently produced in Europe, 85% are powered by electric and hydrogen solutions, and this will increase during the next five years.
The report considers the societal transformation which is underway is characterised by changes in demographics, urbanisation, globalisation, sustainability, decarbonisation and digital transformation. This will continue to expand over the next five years as technological innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and blockchain continue to transform the logistics industry. It concludes e-commerce and new value chains are reshaping logistic processes and placing the consumer at their centre.
David Goss, Technical Manager, BITA said: “It is good to see that FEM recognises the changes the materials handling industry is set to undergo, and we fully endorse the measures it has outlined. The three imperatives contained within the report must be the cornerstones of the European materials handling industry as we move into the next decade.”
The report, along with the latest FEM newsletter, can be viewed in the Member Area of the BITA website – www.bita.org.uk