APC Storage Solutions SA Launches One New Automated Storage System Each Year

APC Storage Solutions SA, through its partnership with Mecalux, a leading global specialist design and manufacturer of storage and warehouse solutions, now launches one new automated warehousestorage system in South Africa each year. This is in addition to its consistent offering of the latest European trending warehouse and storage solutions to local companies, some of which have been developed specifically for the African market based on input from APC Storage Solutions SA.

The 16 year-long partnership has seen the local company install an average of 10 000 tonnes of storage systems each year. This equates to 150 000 tonnes in more than 5 000 projects across South Africa and Southern Africa, which has contributed to APC Storage Solutions SA organic growth. Beginning with head office premises in Johannesburg and installing quality small solid angle shelving, the company has opened three additional branches in South Africa’s main provinces that design, install and service comprehensive storage and automated storage solutions around the country. Additionally, APC Storage Solutions SA has done a large number of conventional racking and shelving projects as well as semi-automated and automated installations in southern Africa, and continues to service countries in this region.

As the first South African storage and warehouse solutions company to import technologically advanced European racking and shelving, dating back to 2000, APC Storage Solutions SA has set the benchmark in warehouse and storage system quality in South Africa. “Mecalux’s superior quality across its range and the current technology incorporated into its automated solutions gives customers a longer lasting warehouse solution that ultimately lowers the overall cost of storage ownership. This lower total cost of ownership, effects savings across a company’s entire supply chain, which in turn improves our customers’ bottom-line over the long-term, due a marginally higher upfront cost,” says APC Storage Solutions SA Managing Director Fred Albrecht.

Shared IP and product development

Of significance to the relationship is the shared intellectual property between manufacturer and distributor. Subsequent to each installation, APC Storage Solutions SA conducts an in-depth project analysis and provides recommendations to Mecalux’s RD&I department, which now spends approximately € 6 million (about R 110 million) on research, development and innovation annually. Feedback from APC Storage Solutions SA is used by Mecalux to tailor products for the African environment and associated logistical storage systems. Albrecht says that this dual development process is indicative of the collaborative partnership and the trust shared between the two companies.

“Our feedback has been incorporated into a number of storage solutions,” Albrecht states. “One example was the suggestion to innovate and introduce an electro-magnetic system incorporated into our Pallet Shuttles, which attaches the Shuttle to a Forklifts forks, thereby facilitating an anti-fall protection system. The final product, the first of its kind, was rolled out on an international scale, which is testament to the innovation brought market through our involvement.” Playing a significant role in improved automated product development with nine improvements in the Pallet Shuttles, including associated programmable logic controllers for the SA market due to our pallet types and loads.

Albrecht says that the Mecalux partnership grants additional value for customers through technological advances and a market offering that exceeds anything available locally.

He cites a turnkey project in the making of a 26-metre high self-supporting warehouse in Lordsview, consisting of eight gangways (walkways) in height, developed by APC Storage Solutions SA and manufactured by Mecalux. “This will be a true landmark for generations to follow and, again, it is a first of its kind in the world.”

Business expansion

“Our dedicated approach as the South African partner and brand ambassadors of Mecalux, has positioned us as a significant Mecalux partner, which now also considers us part of its core team,” says Albrecht. “Since we began our partnership with Mecalux, they have multiplied their annual international turnover almost tenfold. It is gratifying that installations in South Africa and southern Africa, via APC Storage Solutions SA, are contributors to this growth.” He adds that, on the other side of the coin, no other South African warehouse and storage solutions provider has been able to meet APC Storage Solutions SA’s product quality and diversity, and their geographic support to customers.

“Mecalux’s resources combined with the deep-rooted relationship we have with them,” Albrecht concludes, “has enabled APC Storage Solutions SA to make the impossible possible when it comes to tailored, robust, efficient and cost-effective conventional, semi-automated and fully automated storage and warehouse solutions.”

APC Storage Solutions SA distributes Mecalux’s entire warehouse and storage equipment range, retaining 5 000 m² of stock (120 000 stock keeping units) – “more than local manufacturers collectively produce in a month,” according to Albrecht. Sufficient spare parts for all equipment are retained, minimising any turnaround times and offering one of the most reliable and robust aftersales and maintenance support structures in southern Africa. All Mecalux equipment and automated solutions from APC Storage Solutions SA have a lifetime warranty and a 10-year guarantee.