2010 marked the 25-year milestone in the life of the Automated Material Handling Systems Association (AMHSA) – a quarter of a century of proactive promotion of safe, reliable and economic material handling systems for the benefit of all users and specifiers.

With regular communication to the association’s 50 members through our Secretary, we always have an up-to-date ‘pulse’ for our sector that provides a reasonable indicator for things to come.

The end of 2009 showed that members were equally divided on the basis of ‘better’, ‘worse’ or ‘as expected’ results for 2009. While the first few months of 2010 proved to be poor for members, the situation has improved more recently and there are certainly positive signs for the next six months. Needless to say, competition will remain very strong in the current economic climate. We have no indication that AMHSA members are reducing their staff levels – in fact, some are actively recruiting.

Quotations for new projects are forecast to be slow. However, existing customers with plans to alter or extend their systems are expected to increase quotation levels. Also, there will continue to be steady refurbishment and service work.

Greater activity is expected in the express parcel, food and fashion retail sectors – although projects are expected to be smaller and simpler, giving lower margins.

While the delay of decisions whether to continue with projects is becoming more commonplace, project cancellations are rare.

Mike Vernon, AMHSA President.

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