Mobile & Wireless: Matthews Marking’s hat trick

With the acquisition of Lightning Pick, Matthews takes a new direction

By ·

In a deal that has largely flown under the radar, Matthews Marking acquired Lightning Pick in August. It was Matthews second acquisition of a picking technologies company in five months. Back in March 2011, Matthews added Innovative Picking Technologies to a portfolio of companies that already included Holjeron, a maker of control systems for conveyor and materials handling solutions. 

Paul Jensen, division president for Matthews’ marking products division, says the acquisitions are part of a new strategy for his company. “Matthews Marking is part of an old company that first transitioned from contact to ink jet marking,” Jensen says. “With the addition of picking technologies, we’re in heavy transition from where we are to where we are headed.”

Where they’re headed, he adds, is an initiative Matthews refers to as move it, mark it, track it. “Data integration is become the most important piece of a materials handling solution,” Jensen says. “The one thing the pieces we are putting together have in common is that they all involve tracking or collecting data somewhere along the way. You want to know what went into a box, where that box went, who it was shipped to and what happened to it if it gets shipped back. Virtually all of our product development going forward is oriented to capturing the data related to that box and integrating it with higher level systems like a WMS or ERP.”

According to Jensen, two key trends drove Matthews move into picking technologies.

The data collection industry has changed: Not so long ago, product marking – Matthews core business – was a fragmented market with a number of independent competitors that included Matthews, Markem, Video Jet, Imaje and others. Then, Danaher and Dover began to consolidate the industry. The result is that Matthews has had to expand its offerings to keep pace. 

The customer base is global: End users no longer buy a solution for a plant in Pennsylvania, or even just North America. “In many instance, we have to figure out how to service a customer in a lot of places around the globe,” Jensen says. In addition to divisions in Sweden, Germany and China, Matthews has distributors in countries around the world.

Where does the roll out of the move it, mark it, track it initiative stand? According to Jensen, Matthews is still integrating the new companies and products into its portfolio. “From a product integration standpoint, it’s only been a few months since the acquisition so we’re still in the planning stage,” he says. “However, we now have more to talk to our customers about than just putting a mark on their case. We’re looking forward to talking to them about an integrated solution in the next few months.” 



About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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