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Modex 2014: State of the Industry—Growth to continue, but at a slower pace, MHI says

Growth will continue in the materials handling industry in 2014 and 2015, announced MHI, the sponsor of Modex, in the group’s annual State of the Industry press conference on Tuesday.

March 19, 2014

Growth will continue in the materials handling industry in 2014 and 2015, announced MHI, the sponsor of Modex, in the group’s annual State of the Industry press conference on Tuesday.

“We anticipate growth in the range of 7% to 8% in 2014, and from 9% to 10% in 2015,” said George Prest, CEO of MHI. Prest tempered his comments by noting some downside risk remains for the first half of 2014, due to global economic and political uncertainty, as well as tentative U.S. consumer and investor confidence.

Breaking down the numbers, Prest highlighted:
• New orders grew by 8.2% in 2013 over prior year orders. MHI anticipates new orders to grow by 8% in 2014 and 10% in 2015.
• Shipments grew by 7.8% in 2013 over prior year shipments. MHI expects shipments to grow by 7.7% in 2014 and 8.7% in 2015.
• Domestic demand, which is defined as shipments of materials handling equipment plus imports less exports, grew by 8.5% in 2013. Domestic demand is forecasted to grow by 7.9% in 2014 and 9% in 2015.
• Import growth in 2013 was 3.9% in 2013—a significant decrease from 17.9% in 2012. Export growth was flat in 2013, down from 12.4% in 2012. MHI projects a modest rebound on both imports and exports beginning mid-2014, and continuing to grow into 2015.

“The numbers are slightly down from where we were projecting last year,” Prest said, “but we’ve had a really nice run as an industry overall for the past four years. Although we are now on the decelerating side of growth in our cycle, things have been very strong, and the economic indicators continue to be strong for our industry.”

Additionally, Prest previewed the “MHI Annual Industry Report.” Developed in partnership with Deloitte, the report is based on research focusing on near future trends (three to five years out). Surveys were conducted of more than 450 supply chain executives, as well as suppliers.

“The report, which will be released on Wednesday morning, was designed to create a medium that connects the end user to suppliers,” explained Prest. “The highlights of our findings will be detailed in Wednesday morning’s keynote discussion.”

Prest also highlighted MHI’s involvement in the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics (http://www.mhlroadmap.org), a joint effort among multiple industry associations and publications. The Roadmap, published in January, offers a visionary look at how the industry will change between now and 2025.

Additionally, Prest introduced Daniel Stanton, MHI’s new VP of education and professional development. MHI’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) was also showcased as a means to help develop the careers of those entering the industry through networking, mentoring and professional development activities.

Finally, Prest encouraged attendees to make plans to attend ProMat 2015 (http://www.promatshow.com), scheduled for March 23 to 26, 2015 in Chicago’s McCormick Place South. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry. Registration for ProMat gives attendees free entrance to Automate 2015 (http://www.automateshow.com), highlighting automation and motion control technologies, as the two shows will once again be co-located.

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