Sunil K. Gupta
Contributing steadily to the economic development of India, the domain of material handling equipment (MHE) has been reaping significant impetus, particularly in the realm of logistics and supply chain. However, the growing market, on the other hand, has also necessitated a dynamic partner fully capable of catering to not just the present but also the potential evolution of the customers’ demands. Embodying the aforementioned qualities is KION India, a formidable name in the world of MHE. Incorporated in 2011, KION India is backed by the rich heritage of its parent company, KION Group, a prominent supplier redefining the global MHE sector. Renowned for delivering high-quality, customizable, sustainable, and automated offerings, the group has been instrumental in smoothing and securing the movement of palletized materials and information in factories, warehouses, and distribution centers in over 100 countries in the world. As a fully-owned subsidiary of such a prominent entity, KION India is led by the President, Sunil K. Gupta, and his expert team, and has carved a niche in providing foolproof MHE solutions featuring reputed brands, encompassing OM, Linde MH, Baoli, and Dematic.
The following is an excerpt extracted from an exclusive interview conducted by CIO Insider with Sunil K. Gupta, which provides deeper insights into the role of KION India.
How do you see the logistics and MHE industry developing in India? What are the major factors that are driving the market’s growth?
Owing to a surge in online purchases and a shift in consumer buying patterns, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian logistics and warehousing sector has transformed significantly from a storage driven activity to specialized functions covering end-to end management of
goods, value-added services towards last-mile delivery, predictive planning, and analytics, among others. As sustainability gains prominence, future smart warehouses are poised to rely on non-pollutant, energy-efficient MHE, such as battery-operated electric forklifts, pallet trucks, and stackers, thereby propelling the market towards cleaner and greener technological products. This, in turn, has accelerated sustainable energy innovations in battery-operated MHEs, like lithium-ion based and hydrogen fuel cells.
How are KION Group and KION India positioned in the market?
With a revenue of €11.1 billion and a workforce of 41,000 employees in 2022, the KION Group stands as one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial trucks and supply chain solutions, spearheading transformative intra logistics innovations. Its portfolio encompasses industrial trucks, warehouse equipment, and integrated automation technology and software solutions for optimizing supply chains. Similar to its parent company, KION India has emerged as one of the market leader in the Indian MHE industry, distinguished for offering the perks of world-renowned brands like OM and Linde. We also own India’s largest and most cutting-edge MHE manufacturing unit, Factory 2.0, which consists of multiple facilities, such as a well-equipped R&D center, production lines for industrial trucks, quality testing, a warehouse, a spacious training center, and a forklift driving school.
Can you tell us about the various services and solutions your company offers?
KION India offers an expansive product portfolio comprising over 400 MHE solutions, meticulously crafted to address a wide array of applications in diverse customer segments. Our integrated multi brand offering spans a comprehensive range, covering IC forklifts, diesel forklifts, electric forklifts, battery powered pallet trucks, tow trucks, electric reach trucks, Very Narrow Aisle (VNA), Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV), Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR), fleet management software, and driver assistance systems, further enabling us to shape the future of logistics technology in the Indian market. Under the OM brand, we proudly present exclusive Make in India forklifts and warehousing solutions, while the Linde brand, renowned for over 50 years of German technological excellence, contributes to our portfolio with 75 series and around 10,000 pieces
of equipment, including its Li-ion fork lift trucks and warehouse product lines, engineered to create economical, safer, and sustainable operations.
How do you incorporate automation and technology to meet the growing demands of customers?
The Indian MHE market is progressively transitioning towards automation and industry 4.0, where AGV, AMR, and mobile automation are becoming imminent realities. Jumping on the same bandwagon, we provide complete warehouse management through our Linde brand, incorporating automated MHEs and real time IoT solutions that integrate telematics, wireless communications, and AI. Regardless of whether it's manual, semi-automated, or fully automated systems, block or high-rack warehouses, Linde MHE software solutions offer a complete logistics solution interfaced with customers’ own logistics management software, ensuring real-time supervision, process efficiency, and tangible cost savings.
Our OM brand is also evolving with its technology solutions, following the customer-centric approach to provide equipment solutions suitable for the Indian application conditions, that meet the value-for-money technology aspirations of the Indian customers segments. We have also collaborated with the Global Engineering Centre and established an engineering and software division in India, which also reflects our technological excellence and ability to proactively anticipate and meet evolving customer needs on a global scale.
What is the future roadmap envisioned for KION India? Where is it headed for the next five years?
Leveraging our well-balanced wide-range product portfolio and comprehensive understanding of intralogistics, KION India is registering strong YoY growth with a double-digit CAGR and stands prepared to cater to evolving market demands while taking advantage of increasing domestic market potential. Our R&D team is continuously engaged in expanding and upgrading the product portfolio with the latest technology solutions to match the demands and trends of technology development, automation, sustainable solutions, logistics, and warehouse management. We are constantly challenging ourselves to set higher benchmarks with our capabilities, quality supplies, and unparalleled customer satisfaction.