Following decades of success in Europe, BITO’s regional manager Christian Gebler explains how the company is helping the Middle East to raise standards with its warehouse facilities.
What material handling solutions does your company provide in the Middle East?
BITO has a focus on two core businesses. The first is shelving and racking, which includes complex storage solutions such as carton and pallet live storage, drive-in/push-back pallet racking, multi-tier installations and automated bin/tray storage installation. The second focus is bins and containers, like storage bins with pick opening, stacking containers, and small parts containers.
Is there a lot of competition in the market?
BITO only started its subsidiary in the UAE a few months ago with a small team, so we have competitors that have already established their brands in this region. Nevertheless, we have decided to partner with these competitors too. For example, with special solutions, such as pallet and carton live storage, boltless shelving and especially in bins, we can assist each other to give clients a truly outstanding solution.
What makes your products different to others in the regional market?
Firstly, BITO manufactures its products in Germany, where we have been based for the past 160 years, with 50 years of experience specifically in storage solutions. The second difference is that we are not only a manufacturer but also a professional partner for all project-related tasks, ranging from layout planning and project management to assembly and after-sales service. We want to set new standards too with a leading service.
Has the importance of quality material handling products increased over here?
In Germany, in addition to our subsidiaries in almost every European country, quality has priority. We are aware that this market has enormous potential for boosting quality, productivity, safety and efficiency. Many companies in the Middle East are realising that investing in quality will pay off in the long-term, although there is still a way to go.
What has pushed this change in attitude?
The region has become a logistic hub and entrepreneurs have realised the advantage of having efficient solutions. The benefits are obvious. With efficient solutions, operators will avoid mistakes, impress customers with fast deliveries, reduce customer complaints and motivate employees. On the other side, safety is a big issue. Warehouses are burning and often it seems that “safety first” has become a mere slogan, and in many cases, this demand is not realised.
Should companies be prepared for the introduction of regulations in terms of higher warehouse standards?
Some companies in the Middle East are already prepared for future regulations and have placed themselves ahead of the market. However, recent warehouse accidents have shown there is work to do. As consultants and suppliers, we also have a responsibility to educate the market and raise local standards. BITO takes this seriously, because together with our clients, we have the responsibility to save lives and goods during operations.
But are companies spending less in the region, especially during the recession?
Decision makers in the Middle East should never compromise on quality, regardless of the economic situation. If you consider the life cycle of investments, paying for quality will always result in savings on spare parts, re-orders, time and nerves.
What marketing strategy has BITO adopted to get this message across?
Customers deciding to partner with BITO have already made the decision to be ahead of the market, rules and regulations. Our standards are high and so is quality, not only in view of our manufacturing standards, but throughout all project related tasks ranging from layout planning, realisation and project management to assembly and after-sales service. With products ‘Made in Germany’ our goal is to create enthusiastic customers.
As a newcomer in the local market, what challenges are you expecting to face?
Our size is a primary challenge in the Middle East, and the fact that some of our competitors are very well-established. However, we are investing a lot of money in the region and recently appointed a new representative for Dubai, while another will cover Abu Dhabi soon. Marketing is a driving force for sales, because the right strategy will increase our reach. But we are really confident that our products have a strong market here. With thousands of fully equipped warehouses in this region, our latest innovations will be of particular interest, such as the BITO Adapta-Flow modules, which can retro-fit a static pallet racking level into a live storage level, while using the beams available in the existing racking. Our plastic bin and container portfolio has also proved a success in adding value for each and every industry.