In an era of unprecedented global trade and technological disruption, supply chain logistics has become ever more important to the functioning of the world economy. Yet few often stop to think about the complexity and scale of the industry that supports the storage and movement of goods from factory floor to consumer hands.
In Taiwan, the logistics industry has traditionally been quite fragmented, dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises. Seeing a particularly valuable industry niche to fill, Ally Logistic Property, Taiwan’s first and largest logistics real estate developer and a provider of holistic logistics solutions and services, has made an extraordinary rise over its eight years of existence.
Founded in 2014, ALP manages an eye-popping US$800 million in assets, including over 570,000 square meters of warehouse space spread out over six logistics parks and 14 hubs in Taiwan. With a network spanning the north and central parts of Taiwan, and a client roster including some of the world’s biggest multinationals across the entire spectrum of industries, the company has plans to further expand south and has acquired land in Malaysia and established a Vietnam office.
A big part of ALP’s formula for rapid success, says CEO Charlie Chang, is its forward-thinking nature as an asset-light startup enterprise. That mindset has helped it transform in a short period from mainly a developer of logistics real estate into a comprehensive logistics solutions provider, including systems integration and logistics services. Its adoption in recent years of warehouse automation and robotics has made it even more competitive, as it is now able to build customized, technology-driven solutions from the ground up.
For Chang, whose background includes engineering, business, and design degrees from some of America’s top universities, as well as experience in his family’s business – the well-known Sansin Builder’s Co. construction company – such a business model simply makes more sense in an era of rapid technological and digital transformation. “What we are really doing is building Smart Logistics Infrastructure (SLI) for Taiwan – offering our clients Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS),” he says.
Part of that infrastructure is KryptOS, an integrated operating system developed by the company that helps its clients transform their business via a data application. ALP also developed an app that allows its clients to monitor everything from shipment schedules to inventory all at the touch of a finger. The app is built to be integrated with advanced automated equipment and is easy to learn and use, reducing the amount of time clients must spend on manually keeping track of their warehouse space.
The properties under ALP’s management are sleek and modern in design – some look more like art museums than warehouses – and most are powered in part by roof-mounted solar panels. In addition to its general warehouse space, the company offers temperature-controlled and cold chain facilities, as well as storage areas that adhere to Good Distribution Practice (GDP) for medical products. It has also developed industry-specific logistics hubs, including Taiwan’s first automated wine hub, completed in 2017, as well as hubs for e-commerce and many others.
Not content to stop while it’s ahead, ALP unveiled its most recent project, OMega, a type of smart mega-warehouse that, by consolidating supply chain components in one place and reducing building area by 80%, decreases its ecological footprint and helps contribute to ALP’s and its client’s ESG goals. The US$240 million investment is expected to make logistics three times more efficient than traditional warehouse designs, which generally involve labor-intensive processes and see supply chain partners dispersed across several locations.
The first OMega in Yangmei is scheduled to be completed by Q4 2023, and Chang and his team have plans to construct several more in subsequent years, not only in Taiwan, but in other countries across the region.
Chang, for his part, sees Taiwan as something of an “incubator space” for the young but dynamic company. “If you look at Taiwan in this way, it’s a really good, holistic market to start out in – not too big that you don’t know what to do with it,” he says. “That’s why a lot of e-commerce companies come here – they want to get that foothold, and from there, they branch out to the rest of the region. They find out what works in Taiwan, also works in Malaysia or Thailand.”
Fundamentally, though, Chang says that the company’s aim is to spur change in the logistics industry. “We are not just trying to provide a better service,” he says. “We are a new startup using a big capital investment, as well as technology and talent innovation, to break the mold of logistics in Taiwan.”