UK manufacturer Sovex is launching a new operation in the US to target its booming multi-billion dollar e-commerce and parcel handling markets.
The firm has appointed Lonnie Watkins to lead the new US operation from Denver, Colorado. Mr Watkins will head Sovex Incorporated targeting North America and Canada.
The Wirral-based materials handling specialist is the fastest growing company on Merseyside and was listed number 82 in the 2014 Virgin Sunday Times Fast Track Top 100. It manufactures more than 30 varieties of vehicle loaders and transport conveyor systems - used to move packaged goods in, out and around warehouses.
Sovex president, Lonnie Watkins.
Sovex founder and Chairman, David Lindfield, said the company had driven turnover to more than £24million since setting up in 2002. However, he believes the US retail e-commerce market - estimated to be worth more than $340billion and rapidly expanding – holds the key to further turbo-charged growth.
"We are delighted to welcome Lonnie on board as the president of Sovex Incorporated," he said. "Lonnie led the American operation of competitor Caljan for close to a decade. He brings first class product knowledge and unparalleled experience of the US and Canadian conveyor system markets.
"Essentially, we are looking to replicate our existing business model in the United States. This involves the design, manufacture, supply, installation and maintenance of vehicle loaders and transport conveyor systems. The sheer land-mass in the US however means we will be taking on the market in different ways.
"We will initially ship-out products and partner with local manufacturers on the ground to deliver installation and maintenance services. Lonnie will also be building a team around him including technical support and operations managers, with a view of launching a manufacturing facility in the future.
"The US division will be largely targeting the post and parcel, just as we currently do across the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific Rim. The scale of this market in the US is colossal with big players such as FedEx to UPS right down to traditional independent retail businesses. The e-commerce sector is anticipated to be worth around £500billion by 2018.
"We believe America presents a terrific opportunity for Sovex with an attack brand based on tailor-made solutions and high-level customer service. We also take great pride in delivering high speed, high volume orders with ultra-fast maintenance response times. We can reach any client in the UK in less than two hours."
Mr Watkins said he will be targeting parcel and distribution companies, e-commerce traders, and system integrators responsible for developing warehouse specifications.
"Sovex has a highly-interesting and unique product range due to its willingness to involve clients in the design process and develop solutions to meet individual customers' needs. The America market will be highly receptive to this concept. From a design perspective it offers something different to existing products on the market.
"The way in which the business engages with its existing customers is key to its success. Customer service and flexibility are central to the Sovex ethos. We will be embracing these core values in North America, providing complete engagement with our customers throughout the entire process.
"In terms of the audience we want to communicate with, on the systems integrators side we are looking to engage with solution developers, concept engineers and purchasing personnel. On the end user side we want to speak to warehouse managers, operations managers, maintenance managers, and process improvement specialists. We encourage anyone wanting to know more to contact us for information on what we can do to help you improve your operation."
Sovex is developing a significant international footprint with sales offices and distributors in Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Portugal, India, Australia and New Zealand. The firm launched a manufacturing operation in Kluang, Malaysia, in 2013, which currently employs more than 70 people.