My review of WOMH 2016 – a thank you to the invisible helpers

That’s it! Over 7,000 visitors from roughly 50 countries – mainly customers, but also dealers, business partners and employees – attended the second World of Material Handling from 9 to 25 May. Under the motto “linked perspectives”, Linde presented four interconnected trends: AutomationIndividualisationConnectivity and Power Systems. It was a kind of guide for visitors, offering them orientation for the future challenges of dealing with flows of materials in warehouses, in production plants and beyond.

Why did Linde organise the event this way? What did the visitors get out of it?

No, Linde does not simply sell forklift trucks. It needs and wants to keep up with the times. It would have been easy to line up new products and present new services: “Roll up and take a look at the wonderful things we have to offer – and buy!” That’s what we are used to at fairs. All the manufacturers offer their goods for sale, the music boxes roar and everything is done to get customers into a positive mood. Somehow I personally find such strategies old-fashioned. A market leader can no longer afford to rely on traditional strategies of this kind in an age characterised by an increasingly closely networked economy in which global flows of goods are managed ever more collaboratively, modern communication systems are drastically cutting the distance between customers and companies, and development cycles are becoming shorter and shorter.

Customers have questions that cannot be addressed using the “Look, these are our forklifts” model. Of course, there are still customers with simple requirements. Of course, on the other hand, there are more and more customers who need and want to know which direction they should take in the near future. Some of them cannot afford a strategy department, nor do they have time for market research. An event format like World of Material Handling addresses the needs of both sides.

It is therefore only logical that Linde thinks ahead. If not Linde, who else? Linde considers itself responsible for ensuring that its customers receive the optimum solutions, products that will not be outmoded in five years. Think, for example, of OptiPick. Should all customers really continue to drive around the warehouse in manual industrial trucks? What an old-fashioned idea! Or should the young fourth-generation owner-manager continue to wonder where his vehicles are located when incoming orders need to be processed in 2018? No localisation system in the 21st century? Why did Linde present the mother of all modern logistics systems?

These questions about the future are what it is all about. Industry never stands still. If you think you can simply wait 20 years until the digitalisation wave has swept you by, you are leaving the field open to the competition.

Florian Heydenreich made it very clear in his presentation “Dismantling rigid structures – changes and drivers in intralogistics”: “Intelligent solutions, e.g. the intelligent factories of the future, are characterised by their adaptability, resource efficiency, ergonomic design and the integration of customers and partners – all of which speaks for including flexible processes in value streams.” You can close your eyes to what is happening and continue to tread established paths or you can confront the future. And that is precisely what Linde did by offering visitors crucial insights. A normal trade show is sufficient for those who only want to see products. If you still want to be managing a logistics business in 20 years’ time, then I sincerely recommend Linde’s strategy. It doesn’t get better than that!

Who is Linde?

If there is one thing I can say after three weeks of World of Material Handling, it is this: in all my 49 years I have never experienced another company that thinks so much for and on behalf of its customers. Is it the “forklift authority”? No, you can’t compare it with a government authority, that would be too slow. That meaning of the word does not fit. The form of quality awareness – thinking things through to the very last screw and not only scratching the surface until it shines – demands effort.

Great effort was shown by the whole team on site during the WoMH. Here I would like to express the greatest of thanks to everyone who provided support.

Das Stand- und Orgapersonal der WoMH 2016

An industry of invisible helpers – a few personal words

Who delivers our food? Who supplies us with clothes? Where do all the goods come from that we use every day? Sometimes we order today and the doorbell rings just a few hours later. For us as consumers the world of logistics is a closed book. We never see it, we know nothing about it. Nevertheless, it is always there, although invisible. Do you know anyone who has ever said “Thank you for doing your job!”? Why not actually? The world would stand still without these unseen elves, without this industry of invisible helpers. That is a very simple fact, but unfortunately one that is also very quickly forgotten. So, let me say a big “thank you” on behalf of the many people today who will reach into a shelf for what the logistics industry has conjured up!

Interview: Kerry McDonagh – UK

Kerry McDonagh is Managing Director of Linde Material Handling in the UK and we had a very interesting discussion with some quite fascinating findings. It was about the possible future of material handling and what this future holds in store for the customers as well as for Linde. Curtains up for an enlightening interview with a dialogue partner who puts things in a nutshell.


Flag EN  Read more about UK in the country profil: United Kingdom – efficient fleet managers

Interview: Georges Giovinazzo, Italy

At the WoMH 2016 we were able to talk to Georges Giovinazzo from Linde Material Handling – he is the Managing Director of Linde in Italy. He told us about the challenges and needs of his customers in Italy. The interview is about their feedback on the World of Material Handling but also about Italy’s economic development and outlook. The curtain rises:

Flag IT  Read more about Italy in the country profil: Italy – provider of customer-oriented solutions

Interviews: Jerome Wencker – Managing Director Fenwick-Linde

I had the chance to interview Jerome Wencker, he is Managing Director of Fenwick-Linde and Head of Sales & Service for Linde in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We were talking about the interests of the French customers who attended the World of Material Handling event, what actual challenges they are facing – now and in the near future – and how the market in France will develop from the perspective of logistics.


Flag FR  Read more about France in the country profil: France – tailor-made service contracts and robotics pioneer

And how do you like it here at the WoMH?

During last week we kept our ears open and wanted to know from customers, dealers and all other guests : “How do you like it here at the WoMH?” Here you find a sample of those statements in retrospect.


See and listen to the “Voices from the WoMH”:


This positive feedback gives us an extra motivation to start the final round today. Week 3 Begins.

150 trucks are heading to France – and here’s why

Why do visitors come to the World of Material Handling? To find out more about the latest trends and products, to take a closer look at Linde’s vehicles and services and, of course, to spend time talking with the company’s experts.

Why, then, shouldn’t business contracts also be signed, as they are at a trade fair? That, too, is one of the things that happen at WoMH. I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with a customer immediately after a deal was closed, namely with Pierre-Georges Chausson of France-based Chausson Matériaux. He will be leaving WoMH having signed a contract for 150 E30 forklift trucks.

WOMH 2016 - Customers

Pierre-Georges Chausson, president and managing director of Chausson Matériaux, and Christophe Lautray, managing director of Linde Material Handling.


Mr Chausson, how has your visit been to the World of Material Handling so far?
Let me start by saying that it’s an outstanding exhibition. Above all, I’ve seen interesting, forward-looking technological innovations. They’re interesting because they’ll result in new projects for us.

Could you tell us a bit about your company?
About Chausson Matériaux? We’re a family-owned company and we deal in building materials. That means we sell supplies to the building industry. We have 350 locations, of which 320 are sales offices and about 30 are production sites.

What were the main factors that led you to purchase vehicles from Linde Material Handling?
What were the criteria underlying my decision? Why Fenwick [the brand name Linde products are sold under in France]? First, Fenwick have excellent products. We’re located in a rural area of France and they have an outstanding maintenance network. And we’ve been dealing with each other for a long time, so there’s a lot of trust, which is important in a business relationship.

Mr Chausson , thank you.


Flag FR  Read more about France in the country profil: France – tailor-made service contracts and robotics pioneer