Back to the future

In business or life, we are all in danger of becoming set in our ways, ceasing to imagine other possibilities in the ever-changing present. Each moment arrives with new challenges and yesterday’s novel solutions no longer serve today.

The Alvey Group, a company specializing in industrial automation, has more than fifty years of experience behind them. With a wide portfolio of palletizers, case and pallet conveyors, order preparation systems and other material handling equipment, they have the machinery and know-how to meet the needs of every customer, but rather than becoming complacent in their success, they are always striving toward what is still to come.

In developing tailor-made automation projects, Alvey has relied on Habasit for their high-quality belts for over two decades. It only takes one malfunctioning belt to unravel an entire system, and so it has been in part due to the long-term partnership with Habasit that Alvey has been able to build a foundation for the future.


With such a strong history, one would think the Alvey Group would be eager to boast of their merits in the past, but when I speak to Group Managing Director, Maarten van Leeuwen, the focus is elsewhere; this is a company always moving forward. Alvey has locations in the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, and more recently, the U.K. With 250 employees and an annual revenue of 35 million Euro, it is a relatively small company, although they are on a rapid climb with business growing by 50% in just the last five years.

When Mr. Van Leeuwen speaks of either the company’s customers or employees, there is an obvious enthusiasm. Each employee is handpicked as part of a team that is committed to the values the company stands for, and their size hardly limits their scope. Since they serve some of the industry’s most large-scale customers, the company utilizes up-to-date technology and has even developed their own software. Consequently, regular training of employees is a priority. As reflected in the company’s commitment to the future, there is no static position, but their business consists of a dynamic interplay between experience, knowledge and innovation.

Stability in times of change

Mr. Van Leeuwen began with the Alvey Group in 2002 on a six-month long contract. More than fifteen years later, he is still there.

“You either love or hate the project business,” he says. “Things change very rapidly, and the industry is increasingly unpredictable. It can be chaotic. Either there are last-minute changes, or you begin a project and the customer encounters a delay. In this kind of environment, it is essential to have a long-term view despite the short-term fluctuations of the market. The challenge is always to provide stability in the midst of so many variables.”

Perhaps it is exactly this challenge which keeps the job interesting for Mr. Van Leeuwen. When I ask him what his favorite part of the job is, he is quick to say the time spent with customers. These longstanding relationships are built on years of dedicated service and collaboration.

“We do everything possible to make sure our customers are satisfied,” he explains, “and that is why it is very rare for a client to go elsewhere. In 99% of the cases, we are able to offer a solution they are happy with.”

Mr. Van Leeuwen does not underestimate the importance of Habasit’s role in meeting the customer’s needs.

“Our systems must run 365 days of the year, 24/7. If things are faulty, it is a huge problem. The products that Habasit supplies are critical for installation. If a part breaks, the entire production line is out.”

Both Habasit and Alvey agree, this is not an option for their customers.

Time doesn’t stand still and neither does Alvey

Adapting and even thriving within an ever-changing industry requires not only consistency, but also continual improvement. It is this commitment to progress which has been the sustaining force in the company for the last fifty years.

One of Alvey’s most exciting new developments is EvoLink Technology. Through the decentralized control of every module or peripheral of the conveyor system, it offers unprecedented flexibility for assembly, modification or extension of the line. It radically reduces on-site electrical work and can save a company up to 50% on start-up time through a convenient approach of plug and play.

Again and again, it has been modern inventions like these which have placed Alvey on the cutting edge of the industry.

“One of the most important qualities we look for in a supply partner is a company who understands our needs for the future,” says Mr. Van Leeuwen.

Working with suppliers who find innovation just as important as knowledge and experience is a priority for Alvey. Habasit shares these values and provides a base of quality products to build from. Together the companies anticipate a future unbound from the limitations of the past. (ST)

Sonja StrimitzerMarketing

Back to the future

Back to the future

Multi-line palletising system for cartons, trays and bins

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