mike-vernonThe highlight of 2009 for the Automated Material Handling Systems Association (AMHSA) was its second Symposium, which was held in April at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire. The theme of the event was ‘Driving Down Logistics Costs’ which, given the current economic climate, was most appropriate. The event provided an opportunity for delegates to hear several speakers – both from within the industry and from end user clients – talk about the benefits, and sometimes problems, of automation.

April also saw the AMHSA AGM, at which I was elected President – after having served three years as Vice President – and Jackie Rutter was elected to take my place as the new VP. I was also elected Vice President of BMHF, representing AMHSA.

The AMHSA website has been worked on through the year and has benefited from a complete redesign. The new-look website, which went live in November, has been well received and thanks must go to the Steering Committee for their hard work and especially to our Secretary, Graham Watts, who has carried out a lot of research into the subject. Please visit to see the results of the team’s work.

Membership has continued to grow through the course of the year, which is very encouraging in these difficult times. The bi-annual meetings have also seen an increased attendance.

amhsa-logo-4-colThe group has been discussing how to adopt a voluntary Code of Practice. It was decided to include with this a set of guidelines for achieving a successful automated project. This is a 12-point plan that encourages a partnership approach between suppliers and clients, which will hopefully lead to an improved working relationship between all parties.

As we plan ahead to 2010, there is a great deal to look forward to. AMHSA is looking to increase membership further throughout the year, with the expansion of the consultants’ group being a key focus. We are also considering the creation of an end user forum to promote more feedback from clients.

Health and Safety legislation continues to play an important role within AMHSA, with work continuing with FEM in improving the guidelines to which the industry works. As ever, seminars will be arranged next year, as the need arises, to pass on new legislation to member companies.

The end of 2010 will see the IMHX exhibition, which will be attended by AMHSA. The association plans to have a pavilion there, which will be an open area available for hospitality and networking, where we can further raise the profile of the group.

Mike Vernon –

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