Sovex is established as a leading international vehicle loader and conveyor manufacturer with over 170 employees worldwide. Offering the best in material handling equipment and serving the post and parcel, distribution, manufacturing, warehousing, third-party logistics and retail sectors, we provide conveyor solutions that deliver major efficiencies to businesses, saving time and money. Installations, servicing and a spare parts department support clients further.
Sovex’s Head Office and manufacturing facility is located in Merseyside, with a Centre of Excellence in Malaysia and Sales Offices in The Netherlands, Singapore and USA. Nine further distribution partners in countries as far as India, China and New Zealand assist global demand.
WLN – As a leading supplier in the Vehicle Loading category, what has the last year been like for your business? How about for the rest of your sector?
Sovex has continued on a familiar path in 2015, year-on-year double-digit growth having been a constant during the past five years.
Exposure to more markets across the globe has left the business on a strong footing to continue on this upward trajectory. With further developments planned in 2016 and the UK second placed worldwide for internet sales, competition is high in the industry to supply the best equipment to assist in the fulfilment of an ever increasing number of online orders.
WLN – What are your best-known products and services?
Sovex is globally renowned for being the foremost innovator in the vehicle loading and conveyor industry. Supplying 90% of the UK’s vehicle loaders we have ambitions to build this reputation overseas. With a history of successfully bringing to market numerous game-changing innovations, our products make a real difference to the working environment of post & parcel companies, logistics providers and retail entities worldwide. Developed in 2011 in collaboration with DPD, the patented Sovex Bendy Boom has since been our flagship and most identifiable product. Offering a highly flexible solution, it enables the loading and unloading of trailers up to 45ft whilst at the same time being able to service smaller collection and delivery vans. With hundreds of Sovex Bendy Booms out on sites across the UK, Europe, and Asia. This agile vehicle loader is responsible for a decrease in the number of loading docks required making better use of the limited space available on sites.
Sovex Service Connect – our 24/7, 365 days a year service and maintenance offering is a highly adaptable and user friendly platform.
Hassle-free two or four hour breakdown response and scheduled planned preventative maintenance ensure equipment is in action when our clients need it, reducing downtime dramatically.
WLN – What makes you the first choice supplier in your field?
The Sovex business model has been refined around the bespoke requirements of our clients: we cater to exactly what site layouts allow or the specific throughput levels desired. Design, manufacturing and after-sales care including a dedicated Spares Parts department allow Sovex to offer an all-encompassing service under one roof. Projects usually entail one of our sales team, all from engineering backgrounds conducting an initial site assessment; we then work with you to find the best solution from the options we draw up using sophisticated CAD designs. We then handle all project planning alleviating the burden on our clients.
Consultation and open lines of communication throughout the design and manufacturing process ensure the bespoke elements desired are factored in and add value to their business.
WLN – What changes have you made to your core offering in the last year?
New product development is fundamental to what we do and this has been no different over the past 12 months with updated versions coming to market of our most popular products. Furthermore, our design team is tasked with building upon our extensive portfolio of available extras. These include hydraulics to raise and lower a fixed machine and a foldable operator platform which leaves space between the front of the conveyor and the dock door when stowed.
WLN – What new products and services have you introduced?
In Q3 of 2015 we have introduced the Sovex Rental Equipment Program allowing clients short, medium and long-term hire with minimal upfront cost: vehicle loaders and transport conveyors are available for immediate delivery. There are many reasons why renting may be beneficial to businesses; a break down to existing equipment may be inhibiting their operation, its also ideal for peak periods when a spike occurs in the volume of goods to be handled. Most commonly, the booming ecommerce industry has led businesses to be growing at such a rapid rate there is a necessity to improve processes or infrastructure in the short term perhaps ahead of a purchase.
WLN – What industries are your customers in?
Sovex has built a reputation in the post and parcel industry. Whilst remaining cognisant of this, we are conscious of the vast scope of industries our products can serve. Third-party logistics and fulfilment companies have trusted Sovex to design and implement solutions specific to their business. The Retail sector is an industry we have seen huge growth recently with solutions for TK Maxx delivered and a substantial order received by Next for their upcoming dedicated facility in Doncaster.
Global manufacturers have also turned to Sovex in order to improve processes, significantly Continental Tyres factory in Portugal.
WLN – How do your products and services help customers become more efficient, greener or work safer?
Our products are designed with servicing in mind and feature strategically located access panels making servicing faster and safer.
Industry leading SEW energy efficient drive motors are standard on all machines as is an improved LED light package which is not only power saving but helps to illuminate dark trailers, protecting from safety hazards. With a 30% increase in materials handling capabilities, Sovex vehicle loaders drastically reduce vehicle turnaround time. The flexible Sovex Bendy Boom option enables large trailers and smaller distribution vans to be served from a single dock and single piece of equipment. Furthermore, the flexible 1.8m at the front of the conveyor allows users to work at an adjustable, ergonomic working height – protecting from back pain or MSDs common to lifting heavy goods.
WLN – Can you tell us about some of your customers and the work you do for them?
We work with blue-chip clients such as DPD, DHL, Hermes and UK Mail in addition to SMEs and other end users. We help them to make the most of the existing sites they operate from; this may be a large hub or smaller distribution centers. We also work from the outset of a project with integrators such as Vanderlande and Beumer to tailor our products to hit customers’ KPIs or throughput capabilities.
WLN – Is there a recent or current project that stands out as a showcase for your company? Can you tell us about it?
Our history with leading parcel delivery company DPD has transcended Sovex’s recent history. The inception of the patented Sovex Bendy Boom vehicle loader in 2011 helped us push the envelope as the leading innovators in the industry. Building on from this, we developed a prototype unit for Deutsche Post DHL. This unit maintains the strong IP of the original Bendy Boom yet adds shock absorbers, telescopic side guides and hydraulic rams to an already sophisticated unit. A closed length of 8.4m and extendable by a further 20m, it is the largest vehicle loader we have ever developed.
We have since received an order from Deutsche Post who are using it to increase throughput capabilities to serve their vast network.
WLN – What were your company’s biggest achievements in the last 12 months?
We have been trusted to deliver on 2 major projects domestically by Post & Parcel heavyweights UK Mail and DPD. At the UK Mail Hub at Ryton, a 187,000sq/ft warehouse is fitted with 88 telescopic vehicle loaders that include a number of bespoke elements.
Designed to maximise space and drive greater efficiency, they integrate with a Crisplant sortation system enabling 24,000 parcels to be handled per hour. A narrower machine profile was designed and the out-feed booms were slightly offset from the door. This enabled UK Mail to move more to loose loading product whilst still handling some palletised goods.
We also provided 121 vehicle loaders for the DPD Super Hub in Hinkley which opened in September. This is the most technically advanced and largest hub in Europe after an investment of over £100m, it’s capable of handling 720,000 parcels per night. We supplied an additional 38 vehicle loaders next door in the DPD International Gateway Building. We continue to work closely with Deutsche Post DHL and their network across Germany. We have a strong relationship and they come to Sovex in the knowledge we respond to every challenge providing the solutions which make a real difference to their processes.
WLN – Are you currently investing in the business, taking on staff or going into new markets or countries? If so, how’s it going?
Sovex’s portfolio of distributors has risen to nine during 2015, with an approved distributor in mainland China that allows us to better service clients in the East. 2015 also saw a sales office open in Denver, USA and following our acquisition by Transnorm we are in a fantastic situation moving forward to capitalise on our global footprint.
WLN – What are you doing to bring on new talent and raise skills levels in your company?
There is very much a family feel running throughout all departments of the business.
We look to retain and reward high achievers so talent progresses internally and remains constantly stimulated by new challenges.
Furthermore, key members of our Sales and Design teams have previously worked in our manufacturing facilities, thus are able to draw upon practical challenges they have faced and the engineering background they came from.
As well as a pathway within Sovex, we have recruited Lonnie Watkins to head up our USA Sales Office. Formerly with Dematic in the States, Lonnie is highly regarded and brings instant credibility and scope to our operation across the Atlantic.
WLN – Will you be exhibiting at any major trade shows in the coming year?
Sovex is proud to exhibit at trade shows both home and abroad and this has been key to a marketing strategy that has been successful in raising the profile of the business on an international footprint. We will be hosting a stand this March at LogiMAT 2016 in Germany, the third time we have exhibited at what Sovex regards as a ‘must-attend’ event. Also on the agenda for 2016 is another leading trade fair for intralogistics and supply chain, CeMAT 2016. We continue to place emphasis on the UK as well; IMHX is on the calendar for September at the NEC in Birmingham. We are also a member of the Warehouse Technology Group – www.wtglive.com, a unique collaboration of 20 companies involved in the manufacture and supply of specialist equipment to the warehousing and logistics industry. The group hosts numerous events every year and offers an insight into the latest technology available to companies operating warehouses and distributions centers.
WLN – What are the major issues facing the Vehicle Loading category as we go forward? How is your company addressing them?
Globalisation is fast occurring along with demand for Sovex equipment overseas. The opportunities this creates in emerging markets such as Latin America, India and other developing countries means competition to capitalise is more rife than ever. Challenges are common, the infrastructure is clearly not as developed as in Western nations and this presents many difficulties when attempting to implement solutions. Along with our Indian distributors Thinklink, we have provided equipment and IP assisting the ‘Pioneering Indian Skill Development and Experience Centre.’ This follows our participation in WTG offering logistics and supply chain training.
This practical and hands on work with machinery can only help the spread of knowledge throughout emerging regions.
WLN -What other big news from Sovex can our readers look forward to reading in Warehouse & Logistics News in 2016?
Readers can expect continued coverage of the business on a broad scale. Warehouse & Logistics News is a great platform to inform of Sovex’s product advancements and major news to one of our key markets.
Expect to hear more news of our exciting Spare Parts e-commerce launch which will allow a simpler and more automated way for our clients to find, procure and track their orders. Set to launch early in 2016 it will further strengthen an existing arm of the business and join our equipment and servicing offerings, allowing our clients to handle all their material handling requirements with Sovex.
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