Filip Buerms, CEO Essensium: An interview on the future and trends in logistics and the role of Essensium’s RTLS
Essensium’s newly announced next generation EPS is based on a multi-camera approach, further increasing the accuracy of forklift tracking and taking logistics safety and productivity to the next level. Seen the recent nomination for the Trends Gazellen awards 2022 and this new launch we had a talk with Essensium’s CEO Filip Buerms on the company, the future of RTLS and its role in the move to infrastructure-less warehousing solutions.
Your company was recently nominated for a Trends Gazellen award 2022, can you tell us more?
Filip Buerms: “Trends Magazine sees the Gazellen as fast-growing companies that are considered being the backbone of the Belgian economic landscape. Gazellen are described as competitive companies having a positive influence on the business climate in the region they are located in, and are considered an inspiring role model for other companies”. We have been growing strongly since our start in 2005 as a spin-off from Imec in Louvain. This, coupled to our innovations for the warehousing and production environments have been noticed by this leading economical weekly magazine. Our team is extremely proud to have been nominated for this year’s edition. It’s an achievement of an entire team that has been steadily building Essensium into what it is today.”
Essensium has been key in the adoption of RTLS systems in the warehousing and production environment. Why?
Filip Buerms: “ Essensium has since the start of operations been focusing on real time positioning systems. In the beginning we developed our own chipset and we built on top of that different applications. By 2013 we focused on one key application of our RTLS platform: Safety. We decided to focus on the safety applications under the SafeTrack name, as well as on the analytics that our platform generates. Our approach proved successful as we could implement our solution at key global companies including Komatsu, Cummins and L’Oréal.
This experience and the feedback of many customers and prospects led to our latest generation of RTLS solutions, the new EPS (Essensium Positioning System) is based on a multi-camera approach, further increasing the accuracy of forklift tracking, taking logistics safety and productivity to the next level. The system is easy to install on any type or brand of forklift and does not require any infrastructure. The next generation EPS allows for many more applications and solutions that will further increase the productivity and operational performance of warehouses and production sites while further increasing the safety of pedestrians and vehicles. On top of that the easy to install solution – similar for all forklifts – will assure a shorter ROI, seen the one size fits all approach”.
What do you see as main trends for the warehousing industry and the production sites?
Filip Buerms: I see three main trends for our industry: Safety, the importance of data and one unique view on operations.
- Safety remains key. We see that companies – big, mid-size or small – as part of their CSR strategy, allocate ever bigger parts of their budgets to workforce safety to provide a safe and better quality working environment for their employees. Safety gets the highest priority from top management. Any accident is one too many and gets high visibility, so companies take measures to go for a near zero accidents approach. This is illustrative for the high importance of the topic in the past years.
- Data leads to better insights on overall performance. Our customers have more data than ever before, we share heatmaps and information on the use of forklift assets and so much more. Companies have started using this data to better streamline their operations and increase operational performance, with ecommerce being a key driver. Understand what data and how to use it has led to a faster take up rate of the latest generation fleet management systems. Companies have a pile of data and AI is used to create new insights and undertake corrective actions. The focus lies on improving overall performance. Knowing is improving.
- One unique view on operations. We are moving to one overarching view – integrated with WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) – on all installed devices instead of looking at every device individually. This offers unique opportunities for Essensium as we manage both safety and the operational performance and combine this with our performance driven analytics.
We understand the main drivers of the logistics market and the role of your next generation EPS. How will Essensium stand out in the market?
Filip Buerms : “What makes us stand out is that we have more than ten years of experience in location based positioning systems in warehouses and at production sites. This has given us deep insights in the way customers think and what their requirements are, what problems they face in their operations, etc. We have had many discussions with EH&S officers, operations managers and many more and have seen that the safety aspect has more than ever become a key aspect in the company’s strategy.
The last couple of months and years we have seen a large series of safety systems coming into existence, often very country specific. Where we stand out is not only through our experience. We also see the different safety aspects on much wider scale, we couple it to the location. Safety is not one parameter in the warehouse but consists of a series of parameters that are often tailor made and complex. We are unique in that we can accommodate these different parameters in our system.
We supply a complete management system at an affordable cost. On top of that and in partnership with leading forklift vendors – including but not limited to Toyota Material Handling, Crown, Still and Jungheinrich – we have built up a huge experience in pre-fitting our systems in their forklifts which again is a great part of our unique value proposition.
We want to further excel in performance based analytics and continue working on a roadmap that helps to further improve the changing operational aspects in warehouses and production sites.