Editor Allan Leibowitz comments on the news of the week
We're starting to see the real impact of the COVID-19 crisis on materials handling as the major companies release their first-quarter results.
As expected, there are significant declines in sales due to the double whammy of production halts and softer demand.
Thankfully, for most manufacturers, the current slump comes after some very good times and many had recently reported record orders, sales and profits. Some continued to benefit from strong forward orders in January, but clearly by March, the pandemic had spread globally and the impact was starting to be felt.
While the slumps have been sufficient for the major players to retract their previous forecasts and refrain from making fresh ones, there is some comfort in knowing that materials handling products and services are still vital and demand is, in fact, increasing in some areas as activities in retail - and particularly e-commerce - remain buoyant. There is also some optimism as factories re-open and materials handling employment approaches normal levels.