MHIA: Materials handling orders still growing

New orders for materials handling equipment grew by 15% in 2011 while shipments of equipment grew by 17.1%.

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New orders for materials handling equipment grew by 15% in 2011 while shipments of equipment grew by 17.1%.

Those were two key points of economic data presented by Dave Young, chairman of the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) and George Prest, the organization’s CEO, at yesterday’s annual look at the state of the industry.  The industry statistics are gathered by the MHIA business planning community and presented on a quarterly basis by the Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing forecast.

Looking forward, MHIA is forecasting continued, but slower growth in new orders of 8% for 2012 followed by an uptick in orders to 12% in 2013.

“We think the industry is in a sweet spot right now,” Prest said. “Our members tell us they have seen a lot of inquiries from end users and that there are more projects in the pipeline.”

Some of the slowdown in growth forecast for 2012 may be attributed to end users pausing to absorb the projects they implemented in 2010 and 2011 before launching new initiatives in their plants and warehouses.

Some may also be explained by the uncertainty generated by an election year and economic turmoil in Europe. “Our members tell us that there is still money on the sidelines,” Young said. “End users have projects that have been approved and funded, but are waiting until they have a clearer idea of worldwide demand.”

In other news, MHIA introduced a new industry group – the Protective Guarding Manufacturers Association, or ProGMA – which represents manufacturers of products such as safety netting, gates and fencing designed to protect people, assets and inventory in an industrial setting. ProGMA brings the total of industry groups to 19.


Modex 2012 is scheduled to be held February 6-9, 2012 in Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry. Modern’s complete Modex 2012 coverage.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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