Coming off a red-hot year of growth for makers of warehouse automation and automated materials handling systems—the solutions the companies on our annual Top 20 System Suppliers list are known for—you’d expect significant cooling off.
That didn’t exactly happen. Some vendors on this year’s Top 20—based on 2022 fiscal or calendar year total revenue—did report lower revenue, but others flourished. And, we saw new, sizable entrants shake up the list, especially from spots 10 to 20.
This year’s revenue tally for the Top 20 nearly equaled last year’s total of $31.9 billion, which was based on 2021 revenue, a hyper growth year for automation suppliers.
Things began slowing for the overall market in the second half of 2022. Major e-commerce companies including Amazon curtailed spending on fulfillment center expansion, hurting sales for automation suppliers. Other factors dampening the market included rising inflation, a higher cost of capital and the negative impacts of the war in Ukraine.
On the plus side for automation suppliers, e-commerce may not be on a hockey stick growth trajectory like it was during the depths of the pandemic, but it’s still growing in volume and customer expectations haven’t slackened. With continued labor availability constraints, that spells a strong need for more automation.
As in previous years, we base our Top 20 System Suppliers list on answers we receive to a questionnaire we send to suppliers asking about the types of systems they provide, as well as a total revenue figure for systems, software and services related to materials handling automation for the previous year (2022, for this year’s list). More on the criteria can be found on page 30.
The main reason why our list’s overall tally didn’t decline much was new entrants to the list with substantial revenue. Most of these companies, including stow Robotics, Symbotic and Element Logic AS, are involved in robotic, automated high-density storage solutions.
These suppliers join last year’s newcomer AutoStore, known for its robotic cube storage systems. These vendors—riding the ongoing wave of interest in robotics and high-density storage—bolstered the overall revenue tally for our list, even though some established Top 20 suppliers did experience lower sales in 2022 versus 2021. Add in some industry consolidation, and the bottom-line tally for this year’s list was just shy of last year’s.
Worldwide 2021 revenue (million USD)
Worldwide 2022 revenue (million USD)
Percent change 2021 - 2022
|1||1||Daifuku Co., Ltd.||4390||4549||3.60%||0%||Osaka, Japan|
|2||2||Dematic (KION Group) **||4299||4063||-5.50%||26%||Atlanta|
|3||4||Honeywell Intelligrated||2940||2336||-20.50%||16%||Charlotte, N.C.|
|4||5||Vanderlande (*TALG)||2600||2200||-15.40%||5%||Veghel, The Netherlands|
|5||6||Knapp AG||1840||2139||16.30%||48%||Hart bei Graz, Austria|
|7||7||Murata Machinery, Ltd.||1780||1970||10.70%||32%||Kyoto, Japan|
|8||3||SSI Schaefer Group **||3732||1932||-48.20%||-38%||Neunkirchen, Germany|
|9||10||Interlake Mecalux (MECALUX)||1177||1576||33.90%||106%||Barcelona, Spain|
|10||9||WITRON Integrated Logistics||1242||1200||-3.40%||40%||Parkstein, Germany|
|11||11||Beumer Group GmbH||1120||1070||-4.50%||-24%||Beckum, Germany|
|12||N/A||stow Group||N/A||1043||N/A||N/A||Spiere-Helkijn, Belgium|
|13||13||TGW Logistics Group GmbH||924.5||991||7.20%||-1%||Marchtrenk, Austria|
|14||14||Swisslog AG||737||827||12.20%||28%||Buchs/Aarau, Switzerland|
|15||17||Bastian Solutions (*TALG)||426||775||81.90%||91%||Carmel, Ind.|
|16||15||Fives Intralogistics (Fives Group)||664||692.4||4.30%||26%||Paris, France|
|17||16||Kardex AG||514||606.7||18.00%||30%||Zurich, Switzerland|
|19||19||AutoStore AS||327.6||583.5||78.10%||N/A||Nedre Vats, Norway|
|20||N/A||Element Logic AS||N/A||527.1||N/A||N/A||Kløfta, Norway|
|Source: Modern Materials Handling
* A Toyota Advanced Logistics Group company
** Converted from official public number
|Total $28713.1||Total $31774||10.70%|
Daifuku remains No. 1 on the list with $4.54 billion in annual sales, up from $4.39 billion in revenue for 2021. Daifuku credits its ongoing growth to an extensive order backlog from the previous year, strong sales to semiconductor manufacturers, expansion of systems for retail and e-commerce sectors, and improved service revenue.
Dematic, part of KION Group under its Supply Chain Solution segment, retains the No. 2 spot, with lower revenue versus the previous year. Its 2022 fiscal year revenue for the Supply Chain Solutions segment, converted from Euros, came in $4.06 billion, down from $4.29 billion (2021 fiscal year) the year previous.
“Covid-19 drove historic investments in the market, which we recognized as unsustainable,” comments Hasan Dandashly, Dematic’s president and a KION executive board member. “Throughout this period, Dematic grew above the market. This year, we’ve faced both external and organic challenges, as global geopolitical and macroeconomic developments accelerated volatility in our supply chains, which led to dramatic inflation in our material, energy and logistics costs. Despite this volatility, we remained focused on delivering to our customers, investing in our people and strategic initiatives.”
Honeywell Intelligrated moved up to No. 3 on our list, with 2022 revenue of $2.33 billion, down from 2021’s $2.94 billion, but still enough to move up. Honeywell leadership also sees long-term growth for automation solutions.
“The global supply chain has been forced to adapt to seismic changes in recent years,” says George Koutsaftes, president and CEO, Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions. “The pandemic and the rapid rise of online shopping placed an enormous strain on e-commerce infrastructure and logistics. Now, industries are shifting to automation and digitization to build safer, more productive operations and boost their ability to respond to rapid changes in demand.”
At No. 4 this year is Vanderlande, part of Toyota Advanced Logistics Group (TALG), with $2.2 billion in revenue. That is down from $2.6 billion reported last year, but enough to move it up one spot.
Coming in fifth with another strong growth year is KNAPP with $2.13 billion in 2022 revenue, up from $1.84 billion. Kevin Reader, vice president of marketing for KNAPP North America, says KNAPP enjoyed growth in all major sectors including healthcare, retail, food, fashion and warehouse and manufacturing.
Reader adds that KNAPP’s R&D investment for the year of nearly $70 million has continued to improve its solutions in areas like shuttle systems that can be deployed in six months, a fully automated pocket system called Zero Touch, and an automation master data platform called KiSoft Genomix that scans and manages data needed for automation deployments.
Coming in at No. 6, and in a sense new to our list, is FORTNA with $2.1 billion in revenue. In April 2022, FORTNA was formed from the combination of MHS Global (No. 8 on our Top 20 last year) and Fortna, a leading systems integrator, software and solutions provider. Both MHS and FORTNA are part of the investment portfolio of Thomas H. Lee Partners, which remains the majority owner of the combined company.
In November of last year, the company announced that MHS and FORTNA would go forward as a single company, FORTNA. Rob McKeel, FORTNA’s CEO, explained at the time it made sense to leverage market recognition for the FORTNA name. “We chose the name FORTNA not only for the great reputation the name already has in the market, but because of the strength and resilience embedded within it,” he said.
In seventh position this year is Murata Machinery, reporting revenue for 2022 of $1.97 billion, up from $1.78 billion. Takenori Yanai, a managing director for Murata, commented that growth was aided by the semiconductor industry and increasing demand for warehouse automation among pharmaceutical wholesale and retail industries, accelerated during due to Covid-19. On the minus side, he noted, the component shortages, freight cost inflation, and U.S. dollar value had some negative impacts on the business.
Slotting in eighth place is SSI SCHAEFER Group, which reported 2022 fiscal year revenues of €1.81 billion, or $1.93 billion. According to a company press release, a key focus in fiscal year 2022 was placed on strengthening the group’s innovation capability. The group also recently signed an agreement to acquire DS Automotion GmbH, provider of mobile robotics.
At No. 9 is MECALUX, reporting $1.57 billion in revenue, up from $1.17 billion. The global vendor is known for its storage solutions and also offers warehouse management software.
WITRON Integrated Logistics comes in No. 10, with 2022 revenue of $1.2 billion, down from its 2021 revenue of $1.24 billion. The company credits its performance to continued strength for DC automation in the food retail industry, both in dry goods, fresh and frozen product segments.
Several changes can be seen in the second half of our list, including new entrants with substantial revenue figures that bumped off some notable suppliers (see story, page 34).
Grabbing the No. 11 spot is BEUMER Group with 2022 revenue of $1.07 billion, down from $1.12 billion. In May 2022, the group acquired FAM GmbH, a move that expands BEUMER’s portfolio for its minerals and mining division.
At No. 12 and new to the list is stow Robotics with $1.04 billion in revenue. The company’s offerings include unit-load autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), racking, automated pallet shuttle, semi-automated pallet shuttle and bin/tote shuttle. Last May, stow acquired a majority stake in iFollow SAS, a Paris-based AMR provider.
No. 13 is TGW Logistics, with $991 million in revenue, up from $924.5 million, enough to keep spot 13.
Swisslog is No. 14, with $827 million total revenue, up from $737 million. According to Antonio Trioschi, Swisslog CEO, despite the economic and supply chain challenges across the industry, Swisslog achieved a strong performance for the year, exceeding its three main financial KPIs and delivering a record-breaking order backlog.
“We refined our go-to-market approach, strengthening our market position in strategic markets, especially in e-grocery. As part of this strategic focus, we deployed specific solutions into the food and beverage market (which includes grocery) that helped achieve company growth results in 2022,” says Trioschi.
Bastian Solutions, which is part of Toyota Advanced Logistics North America, had a strong growth year, with $775 million in 2022 revenue, up from $426 million—enough to move the company to No. 15.
“In 2022 we continued to see pressure on supply chain leaders to implement technological responses to disruptions, supply shortages and security incidents,” says Greg Conner, senior vice president of corporate development and marketing. “At Bastian Solutions technology and innovation are at the core of our business, but it was our incredibly talented workforce that made this year successful.”
Fives Intralogistics, part of Fives Group, comes in at No. 16 with $692.4 million in revenue, up from $664 million.
“In a year with a significantly impacted supply chain, particularly for electrical and controls components, we were compelled to dig deeper and change our thinking regarding how we supply our systems, products and services,” says Don Keel, president and CEO, Fives Intralogistics Corp. “Not only did this shift enable us to deliver the required results and grow our business, but it has also set the stage for long-term benefits for our customers and the markets we serve.”
Kardex AG came in at No. 17 with revenue of $606.7 million, up from last year’s $514 million. “Global net revenues of 606.7 million were 24.2% higher than the previous year due to a continuing increase in demand for automation, an expanded solution portfolio from Kardex and a high commitment from our distributor partners in North America,” says Mark Dunaway, president of North America at Kardex Remstar.
In the No. 18 position is a new entrant, Symbotic, which went public in 2022. The company offers an AI-based robotics automation solution for retail, wholesale, and food and beverage companies. The solution set features high-density storage and smart robotic cells on the inbound and outbound sides of the storage to speed up receiving and shipping processes for efficient fulfillment that generates store-ready pallets.
AutoStore, known for its robotic, cube-based storage solution, comes in at No. 19, with revenue of $583.5 million, up from $327.6 million. “The AutoStore team had another outstanding year, generating revenue of $584 million USD, up 78% from 2021, and thereby achieving our ambitious growth goal for the year,” says Mats Hovland Vikse, CEO.
Rounding out our Top 20 is Element Logic AS, known as a major global AutoStore integrator, but from its March 2022 acquisition of U.S.-based SDI Systems, expanded into being a supplier of automation products of its own in areas like sortation. Last December, the company acquired Germany software company S&P Computersysteme, which expands on Element Logic’s software and capabilities.