Think within the box

  • SMEBiz
  • Saturday, 20 Jun 2020

Robot help: Investments in automated warehouse solutions and automated guided vehicles have surged to support growing e-commerce demand.

THE outbreak of Covid-19 has provided fresh opportunities for local entrepreneurs to tap into the logistics market. And Penang-based entrepreneur Chuah Di Ken, 24, is one of those eager to have a slice of the growing pie.

Chuah, who recently set up micro-logistics firm Pijen Sdn Bhd, says warehouses in Asia Pacific have been adopting newer technologies to improve their storage and delivery services since 2016.

“In 2019, the investments for logistic hubs using automated warehouse solutions and automated guided vehicles (AGV) surged to support the growing e-commerce demand in the region.

“According to Omdia research house, the production of AGV robots will grow by 8.2% over the next four years to US$1.3bil. After the outbreak of Covid-19, it is estimated that the global logistics market size will hit US$3.2 trillion by 2021 from US$2.7 trillion in 2020, ” says Chuah, Pijen’s chief executive officer.

Riding on rising e-commerce sales, he is projecting company revenue to range about RM15mil to RM20mil next year. He adds that sales is expected to grow 20% annually for the next five years.

Chuah, the mastermind behind the company’s micro-logistic solution called Pingspace, explains that its robotic storage system is designed to provide customised micro-logistic solutions for consumer goods companies that want to set up stores in the suburbs to be closer to their customers.

Good sales: Chuah (fifth from left), seen here with his team, expects revenue to range about RM15mil to RM20mil next year.Good sales: Chuah (fifth from left), seen here with his team, expects revenue to range about RM15mil to RM20mil next year.

“Known as Cube, the robotic storage system allows an entrepreneur to think big without having to necessarily make heavy investments to expand their business.

“A company using our solution will not need to rent a big space to store its merchandise. They only need to lease a small space at a mall because our automated warehousing solutions and AGVs will enable the small space to have the capacity to store a wide range of products vertically, ” he says.

According to Chuah, Cube increases warehouse storage capacity by 30% without requiring more employees.

“Cube is a highly compact robotics storage system. It is made up of columns of racks and storage bins stacking on top of each other. Above the racks, our AGVs, called Skycars, move around and dig up storage bins upon receiving orders.

“The bins are then sent to a workstation for warehouse staff to process, employing a goods-to-person process to increase productivity, ” Chuah says.

Apart from savings on rental cost, a micro-logistic solution can also help companies reduce operational cost while enabling quicker delivery to their customers.

“This is because the warehouses can be set up closer to where their customers are located, which cuts down the cost of delivery and allows the product to be delivered on the same day.

“If a warehouse is close to customers in an area or region, you can also have a better idea of the buying habits of the local consumers, which makes it possible to maintain an inventory that is relevant to the needs of the customers, ” he adds.

Chuah says the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector will be amongst the fastest growing sectors in the post-Covid-19 world.

“Healthcare products and disinfectants are selling fast and most countries are experiencing supply pressure due to panic buying by consumers amidst the Covid-19 impact.

“As a result, FMCG companies are continuously tracking the current situation and are coming up with new strategies to ensure continued supply.

“We target to sell our micro-logistic solutions to Asian countries such as Singapore, Korea, China, and Japan, ” he says.

He is confident that there is a good market in the region as companies look for ways to reduce cost amidst margin pressures and slower economic growth.

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