Material Handling Business Trends

Material handling professionals must be prepared to address the factors impacting their organizations today and in the coming year. MHEDA’s Board of Directors develops the Material Handling Business Trends each year and then creates programming and services around these trends and challenges. Members are encouraged to share and discuss these factors with key managers to develop their own organizational goals and action steps. The 2020 Business Trends are significant challenges or opportunities that have recently emerged or become pervasive and should be considered as members develop their internal business plans.

If you have any questions or comments about this process or what is listed below, please contact the MHEDA office.   


2020 Material Handling Business Trends Impacting the Industry


The industry is experiencing an economic softening. Certain trends are pointing to this including the onset of shorter lead times, economic indicators, decreasing new equipment sales, increase in short term rentals and downturns in the automotive and other markets. Members must identify forward looking metrics (sales pipeline, quote activities, etc.) and manage assets and operational costs accordingly.
The geopolitical climate and trade conflicts have created a level of uncertainty in the marketplace. Members need to consider the potential impact of the trade/tariff resolutions.
To respond to margin pressure, members should implement a periodic and ongoing review of value-added pricing strategies.
Buying preferences continue to change. (Factory direct sales, third party providers, competitive dealer selling processes, online sales, advances in technology and customer demands for single source purchasing.) Members must be forward thinking as to how their organization will evolve and provide service/value to the end user.
Consolidation continues to change the composition of the industry. Owners must consider different strategies for the future of their business depending on their desire to sell, acquire or better position the company.
In order to strengthen the customer relationship and provide a potential revenue stream, members must devote the necessary resources to ensure their customers are fully utilizing the capability of the equipment, data collection and other technologies they have purchased.
Members must commit to and implement a comprehensive and continuous digital marketing campaign to grow and brand their business to keep pace with industry leaders. The right digital talent needs to be hired or outsourced for the organization.
The demand for automated solutions continues to increase. Members need to be positioned to capitalize on this trend.
Members must recognize that recruitment is a highly competitive process. They must drastically change their recruiting methods to find qualified employees.
Members must invest the necessary resources for the professional development, mentorship and retention of their employees in order to position the business for future success.
Traditional workplace practices are being challenged. Members must be aware of cultural differences and create a positive environment that supports a multi-generational workforce.

NOTE: There continues to be ongoing important business issues that members need to recognize and consider including employee benefits, cyber security, consolidation, proposed regulatory policies, etc.