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Opinion AMHSA More haste, more speed


In this month’s article in the series from members of the Automated Material Handling Systems Association (AMHSA), Lynn Kerfoot, managing director of Newland Engineering, considers how the pace of business has changed as the company celebrates its 50th year.


Incorporated in 1962, Newland Engineering is this year celebrating its


golden anniversary as a supplier of telescopic boom conveyors for vehicle loading and unloading. We have certainly seen many changes over these 50 years. We are proud to be a UK manufacturer – all our products are marked with a ‘Made in Great Britain with Pride’ sticker – something much more rare these


arrive in a chauffeur-driven car, with the driver dressed in full regalia including cap and gloves. Other clients would fl y from London to Manchester for a whistle-stop tour the factory and then a long lunch in a local restaurant before fl ying home. Nowadays there seems little time for these social occasions, with most people being on such a tight schedule that a sandwich around the meeting room table is all they can manage.


“The changes in IT and telecommunications have been huge – I can remember thinking that we were the “bees’ knees” when we purchased a telex machine and an electric typewriter!”


days compared to the 1960s. We have also moved on from humble beginnings in an old foundry to our current 1,765 sq m premises with modern fabrication, welding, painting, fi tting and electrical departments. The changes in IT and telecommunications have been huge – I can remember thinking that we were the “bees’ knees” when we purchased a telex machine and an electric typewriter! Now, how would we survive without e-mail and mobile ‘phones, from which there is no hiding place? Linked to the changes in IT but less obvious a change is the increased speed at which business is done today. I recall in the 1970s that one of our most important customers would


40 May 2012 Storage Handling Distribution INCREASED EXPECTATIONS


Customer expectations have also changed, and we have all had to rise to this challenge. We need to react almost instantly to be able to satisfy the needs of our clients, many of whom operate 24 hours per day and seven days per week. Offering a comprehensive


service to the customer – including installation and commissioning in all parts of the world – has provided us with some memorable moments. One that comes to mind took place in the late 1980s at the time of the fi rst Gulf confl ict. Our engineering manager had just arrived in Iraq when Kuwait was invaded. This was August and he was unable to


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return home until December – just in time for Christmas. It was a very worrying time for us and for his family, as we repeatedly saw him on the television news with a very impressive newly-grown beard!


EXPORT STRENGTH


The past few years have been challenging for everyone, but for companies that have been around as long as Newland, it is not the fi rst time recession has been experienced. It would appear that things are starting to recover and confi dence is returning, slowly but surely. The strength of our export business has helped us through the past few years – at the last count, we have supplied 57 different countries and have distributors in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We have just shipped 15 telescopic belt conveyors for a rice mill and a sugar factory in Nigeria; four conveyors for a food company and a cement factory in Saudi Arabia; an overhead truck loading conveyor for Ecuador; and a multi-telescopic conveyor for the Netherlands. We are constantly looking for new markets as the wider we spread our net, the greater the number of opportunities that seem to arise. Here’s to the next 50 years – at this rate, our centenary will be here before we know it! 


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