Kalmar Addresses Future of Cargo Handling
Kalmar, a global company providing cargo handling solutions and part of Cargotec, said that new ways of working together enable its customers to utilise the unique expertise of both parties, share costs and risks, and come up with proven solutions quickly.
Kalmar’s approach to product development is increasingly moving towards developing solutions together with customers, it said.
Co-creation ensures that the developed solution (a combination of equipment, software and services) solves a real customer need. It speeds up industry development by enabling completely new solutions that combine diverse perspectives.
According to Kalmar, the entire logistics industry is currently in the midst of a major technological shift that is set to transform almost every aspect of the business landscape over the coming years. Digitalisation, automation and electrification have brought genuinely disruptive change, along with a vast range of new technical possibilities.
"Since Kalmar built its first machines decades ago, the development of each successive generation of container handling equipment has progressed continuously, but the basic business models have largely remained unchanged – until now," says Peter Söderberg, Vice President, R&D Mobile Solutions, Kalmar. "Co-creation is a way for our customers to get their business to the next level by developing solutions together."
Even though today's rapidly changing business environment requires the development of completely new ways of conducting business, the risks and financial investment of such an effort may be impractical for a single company. "If we can share the development, we can do things together much faster and with less risk for both parties," says Söderberg.
"Co-creation can encompass a wide range of activities. It starts with understanding of the customer's business – the opportunities and challenges they have in their operations. If you can get into that mode of understanding, you can have a great creative discussion, but it does require trust," says Svante Alverönn, Vice President Solution Sales, Kalmar.
"It's an interesting exercise to go into the customer's business together with them, and really drill down into what they actually need. Sometimes it can be about relatively simple things, and finding ways to improve them," adds Svante.
Kalmar's core business has traditionally been at large terminals and in logistics operations. Söderberg points out that creating solutions for new industries involves a host of novel challenges – most of which are best solved in collaboration with the customer.
A tangible example of co-creation is a recent Kalmar project with an industrial company, where the two parties looked into automating logistics processes in an industrial application. By combining the knowledge and expertise of both parties, they were able to come up with a completely new concept, it said.