The warehouse of the future to look at labour wellbeing
The change in warehouses, brought by new technologies, retail transformation, and the current COVID-19 situation, will see facilities catering for labour wellbeing. Sally Duggleby, Chris Earle and George Unwin from the Industrial and Logistics team at Savills share their thoughts on the way the industry is transforming and what workers could expect to see.
As logistics is experiencing a labour shortage much needs to be done to retain and attract new talent. ‘Before now, warehouses provided very little amenity for their staff’
explains George Unwin, he states that buildings will have to fully transform to respond to what other industries are doing for their employees.
The experts believe distribution centres are changing in an attempt to shift perceptions.
Facilities focusing on staff-retention are on the rise and this includes places where people can relax, exercise and have access to healthy food options. Essentially, landlords want to take the best practices from other industries who are known for keeping their employees happy. Unwin also addresses the need for buildings to change in order to serve a more diverse workforce, as gender equality becomes another important topic for the sector.
Built-to-suit projects are on the rise, explains Sally Duggleby. More and more firms are looking for land where they can build their own facilities, in order to cater to more unique requirements. Duggleby continues by explaining that this is a move away from occupiers taking recently constructed speculative units, that are typically built to institutional standards with limited flexibility. ‘We are still receiving enquiries and for now companies have not been stopped because of COVID-19,’ she says.
Additionally, new buildings are focused on sustainability providing solar panels and water harvesting technologies, adds Chris Earle. The Logistics Industry is becoming more aware of its impact on the environment and wants to find the best solution.
The developments around Brexit were a tremendous relief for the sector. The experts worry that the level of uncertainty will reoccur towards the end of the year, depending on what happens with the transition period. Another relief was the budget, presented in March.
The changes on the High Street could transform both retail and logistics. As customers move online there will be a need for more space near residential areas.
This could lead to high-density storage behind large city centre shops. Duggleby admits it is still too early to say with certainty how logistics will work in the future as large 3PLs are constantly trying out new ways to deliver.
However, the three experts agree that we are likely to see some degree of supply chain consolidation in order to ease pressure on last mile delivery. City planners are also looking into how they can incorporate different usage into one building.
You can read more about how the warehouse of the future will look like in the third edition of The Logistics Point Magazine, April 2020 HERE!