Since the 1970s, Babcock has been providing automation solutions for our clients’ critical assets in complex operational environments, in the Airports, Parcel and Logistics industry. We are experts in brownfield site upgrades and dealing with obsolescence issues. We keep operations live and safe during our project delivery to safeguard our clients operations and reputation.
Gerard Conaghan, Technical Director at Babcock Airports speaks to Warehouse & Logistics News.
What are your best-known products/solutions/services?
For over forty years, we have provided automation and control solutions to the logistics, manufacturing, transport and defence sectors, helping our customers to optimise, upgrade and maintain their material handling systems, and ensuring that their operations, and most importantly, their reputations, are always protected. We are an integrator, not an OEM, providing our clients the best-in-class equipment and solutions. To support this we have developed a PLC framework (Flamingo) for automation solutions and a High-Level Software product (BagNav) for end-to-end asset tracking and sorting.
Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?
See above. We are experienced in the logistics, manufacturing, transport and defence sectors. We are diversifying more and more into the parcel and logistics industry to meet the increasing demands of customers in that market.
What are your most recent product innovations?
We have been successful at winning a funding award from Innovate UK in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield and Asset handling Ltd for the development of an Artificially Intelligent Monitoring System (AIMS). This project will develop a novel approach to condition monitoring of material-handling equipment to put us at the leading edge of predictive maintenance.
What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?
Due to Covid-19 we have seen a reduction in air travel. However, this has been offset by the increased demand for home deliveries. We are developing clients’ automation capabilities in the parcel & logistics industry to meet increased demand and continue to support the transport sector.
Can you tell us about any recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?
We have delivered a series of upgraded automation solutions at a number of major UK airports and parcel hubs. Our projects have reduced obsolescence in our clients’ parcel-handling systems to minimise OPEX costs and improve system reliability & security in a live operation.
How does business in 2020 compare to previous years? What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?
It has been a strange year where our client’s needs are ever-changing. We have diversified our business into adjacent markets to support material, parcel and baggage-handling companies. We are seeing this strategy succeed with a number of recent contract wins during the lockdown period.
What’s the latest news from your company?
We have won contracts in both the Airports and Logistics markets with new clients. During lockdown we have successfully worked from home and continued delivering existing projects in line with our Covid-19 safety practices.
Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances eg safety, sustainability, environment?
Throughout the current pandemic, we have continued to make safety our number one priority. We have developed processes and practices that ensure we can continue to improve our client’s automation capabilities. With the AIMS development, we will reduce client life cycle costs and increase productivity through enabling remote predictive maintenance.
Are you investing in staff training and skills development?
Yes, we invest in our people’s skills, capabilities and well-being. Automation is a fast-changing world so our staff need to have the right knowledge and skills to deliver for our clients.
Babcock Airports is a bit of a restrictive name and not one that is widely known in the Warehousing and Logistics business. How will you overcome this?
Our Automation solutions are transferrable across industries. We have worked in material-handling and warehousing automation for many years in areas as diverse and unique as nuclear fuel and waste, mine warehousing and laying, weapons handling and more. Please contact us to see our case studies.