Mason logistics supplier Intelligrated growing

Thanks to an e-commerce boom, more retailers — both brick-and-mortar and online sellers — are opening distribution centers to fill Internet orders, said Chris Cole, chief executive officer of Intelligrated. Sales of purchases conducted online grew 10 percent a year from 2009-2014 to $298 billion, according to industry researcher IBISWorld Inc. Those centers use conveyor systems, sorting machines, order picking technologies and other product-moving equipment made by Intelligrated.

Intelligrated also designs the software that manages the material handling systems and does installation and service.

“What’s fueling our growth more than anything else is the growth of Internet retailing,” Cole said.

Additionally, once the shirt, book or other item ordered online leaves the warehouse, and before it reaches the consumer’s doorstep, it’s touched by a package delivery company that needs sophisticated conveyor and sorting systems too.

Equipment made by Intelligrated can also be found on factory floors such as palletizers and robotics. And Intelligrated’s Cole says the company is investing more each year on research and development of new products, including automated processes that replace the most back-breaking work.

All told, Intelligrated grew from sales of $378 million in 2010 to $583 million in 2013, according to the company. Today it has 2,600 employees worldwide including about 1,350 in Butler and Warren counties.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what was a very small company five years ago grow into one of the big companies in the area over the next five years,” Cole said.

Michele Blair, Mason’s economic development director, agreed that the company is one to watch.

“We try to continuously have strategic discussions with high-growth companies like Intelligrated because we want to continue to be part of their growth plans,” Blair said.

“They put extra investment into building the facilities that they have today because the message that the facility sends… helps them to recruit the type of talent they need from across the country,” she said.

Even though the Mason company already completed two years ago this month a multi-million expansion of its Innovation Way headquarters, Cole now says it’s outgrowing the space. The headquarters property is landlocked, and doesn’t have a lot of room to add a bigger footprint, Cole said. Therefore, he said the company will be adding office space locally in 2015 to accommodate its growing administrative, engineering and research workforce.

“We will do something to add more office space in southwest Ohio in all likelihood,” he said.

In addition to the Mason headquarters, Intelligrated operates four manufacturing plants in West Chester Twp. and London, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo.; and Danville, Ky. A second West Chester Twp. warehouse facility fills orders from customers for replacement parts. Also, Intelligrated has sales and service offices throughout the country and in Canada, Brazil and Mexico.

International growth is also boosting sales, and last year, Intelligrated opened its first office in Shanghai, China.

“We have some multinational customers that have taken us over there, and we’re looking forward to developing more local customers,” Cole added.

More growth opportunities are also seen ahead for supporting customers after the sale including service parts, contract maintenance, modifications and upgrades of old systems, and control and software upgrades, he said.

“That has been a big grower this year and I think it will again be a big growing part of our business next year,” he said.