Automated warehousing, the new trend in Logistics
An exclusive interview with Spiros Mallioglou, General Manager of Eurofit.
How did your company come about? What was the market context at that time?
Spiros Mallioglou: In 1999 when we decided to open a branch in Romania, it was simply a matter of instinct as a businessman, paying attention not only to what happens in the company he founded, but also in the Romanian business environment, which could hardly be anticipated 22 years ago.
There was no market at that time, investments in the field of logistics being sporadic. All foreign investors from that time came with SH equipment from the investment-mother company or from well-known suppliers in their country.
In the Business Unit “Equipment for commercial spaces” there were only the big brands on the market. The only local brand was MEGA IMAGE, which is also our KA (Key Account) client for 22 years.
At the “Trade” (Distribution) Business Unit, we were the first in the market to use the DIY concept (Do It Yourself) which represents our trademark, a trademark registered at OSIM since 2000.
What do you think are the most important changes at this time (market in general, customer mindset, competition, etc.)? How has your company adapted to these?
SM: We started from scratch, or even from scratch, which means that what you see now is the result of adapting to the changes that we went through at work , perseverance and trust in our forces. I went through hard days, but also beautiful days. Basically, the market has developed with us and we have adapted to changes, this being a characteristic of the market.
Later, when the financial crisis of 2009 came, we decided to abolish the trade department. In this way, we saved the whole company by quickly adapting to the new economic reality, having as our main ally the accumulated experience..
What are the main components/brands of your business? What type of services do you offer to your customers?
SM: We have the following solutions in our portfolio:
– Automated warehouses (from a simple conveyor, sorter to industrial robots);
– Simple storage (from conventional racking systems to complex storage systems with very high seismic or statically calculated loads), atypical product storage, multi-level mezzanine structure storage, gravity racking, archives and many others solutions, also anticipating the future needs of customers;
– Commercial spaces from minimarkets to hypermarkets, pharmacies, toy or fashion stores. The more than 3 decades of experience and development of know-how in the field, together with exclusive partnerships with leading international manufacturers, qualify EUROFIT as the most reliable solution for the planning, design and furnishing of any type of commercial space.
In addition to the complex solutions offered, we make available to our customers and the EUROFIT SIGMA service department – Service – I Installation – Guarantee – Maintenance – After-sales service, based on a new digital platform built exclusively by our IT-scientists especially for to cover a high level of requirements from customers, having the role of maximizing the availability of the equipment and systems offered by EUROFIT, minimizing the time lost with the intervention performed.
Thus, we can offer services throughout the country and abroad which registers a great success.
How would you describe in relevant figures the experience of your company on the Romanian market, from launch until now?
SM: Experience has been accumulated through continuous struggle for over 22 years. Annually, we receive over 6000 requests from over 2000 customers.
In 2021 we delivered:
– Over 50,000 pallet positions;
– Over 5000 m2 platform;
– Over 3800 m2 of mezzanine shelves;
– Over 136 km or 105,000 m2 of shelves for easy storage.
What are the most important services and facilities offered to customers looking for storage spaces?
SM: First row, we seriously and quickly offer the service of moving the customer’s existing shelves and we respect the promised execution time. We refer to turnkey solutions that include both transport, wrapping, preparation for moving as well as the necessary materials and inventory.
We offer study for the use of existing equipment from the customer’s current warehouse at the new location.
We offer study and optimization for the new space, created from scratch according to the client’s needs, from a simple concept to automated-robotic warehouses with high-performance equipment adapted to the times ahead.
What is the maximum capacity of your warehouse?
SM: We have a warehouse of 3800 m2, of which a two-level platform of 400 m2, with a capacity of 2800 pallet positions and 71 linear meters of Cantilever racks on 6 levels for storing long products (columns, crossbars, profiles , etc.).
Which market segment are you targeting? What is the current profile of your customers?
SM: We target 5 categories of customers:
II. 3PL companies;
III. Food and Non-Food Industry;
IV. Public institutions and archiving companies;
V. Key accounts.
How do your customers find you? Which is the most used?
SM: The vast majority of inquiries come from old customers, very satisfied with the products and services offered, who in turn recommend us to other potential customers.
What can you tell us about your team?
SM: Our team is in continuous development to meet customer requirements. From customer care, sellers, design engineers, architects, technicians, colleagues from the warehouse, to the assembly teams, our people benefit from a quality training that recommends them as excellent professionals.
– Reaction speed;
– Execution speed;
– The speed of repetition, concurrent with the speed of adaptation and continuous improvement.
What is your opinion about the current market for storage spaces in Romania?
SM: Currently, much of the market still operates in old buildings, which do not allow for upgrades due to high costs. That’s why some of these companies focus on new buildings, purchased with the help of investors or with their own funds. We hope that we will also be able to benefit from some of the invested capital through the demand for automation of new warehouse spaces, ideal for new logistics technology.
What is the secret to success in your business? Efficiency, quality of materials, price of services, etc.?
SM: Success is guaranteed if you strictly follow certain steps:
I. Seriousness (for 22 years we deliver what we promise, on time);
II. Speed (75% of deliveries are from stock. We have experience, will and financial resources of our own to permanently have in stock the products requested by our customers);
III. Superior quality at a very competitive price. We collaborate with the best performing factories in Europe;
IV. After-sales service (we provide support to customers even after the successful completion of business relationships. We have thousands of customers in our portfolio, which we take care of, because they are our future).
What are the latest trends in the integrated warehouse solutions industry in the international market? Are certain products or types of services trending?
SM: Logistics is an essential component of commerce today. The customer is, day by day, more in a hurry, does not accept mistakes and is looking for the best price.
From this pressure from customers, and not from the pandemic, we came to automation, industrial robots and mathematical algorithms to be able to meet their demands.
This is the new trend in Logistics: AUTOMATED WAREHOUSE.
How have you planned the next decade of your company’s business in the local market?
SM: We started 5 years ago to focus on new technology, to understand it well, to gain experience and to pass on the accumulated knowledge to our customers.
3 years ago we started planning the digitization of procedures and now we are putting this plan into practice. We built the new after-sales service platform and invested in new CRM, WMS and ERP programs to be implemented in 2022. These investments will characterize our business in the next decade. Also, in the field of automation, there can always be differences between design and reality, in terms of performance, so we had to purchase a real-time simulation software, very powerful and expensive at the same time, but with which we know 100 % if the systems proposed to our customers will also achieve the desired performances.
Interview provided for DepozitInfo: