Having the right distribution warehouse is essential for retailers in the digital age, as online shopping continues to grow. For developers and investors, flexibility to accommodate the needs of most occupiers is fundamental.

Luke Buchholtz, Director in Major & Capital Projects considers typical specification standards and explains that operators are looking for the potential to accommodate well-planned internal fit-outs to promote increased efficiency.

The rise of online shopping and home delivery has stimulated a growth in the warehousing sector as well as highlighting the complex economics and logistics – getting the right products to the right place at the right time for the lowest price.

On the face of it, big sheds, which form an essential part of any distribution network are one of the simplest forms of building, a means of enclosing a maximum volume at a low cost.

The reality is more complex and can mean the difference between a warehouse with continued appeal to the widest range of operators in the distribution industry and one that won’t work for occupiers without compromise.

For operators, location relative to the transportation corridors, staff and multimodal infrastructure is an essential consideration.

The common qualities which these buildings share may give the impression that all warehouses are identical with the only difference is size. This is far from the truth as the majority of modern warehousing facilities reflect a precisely planned internal fit-out. This would see the space fully customised to suit a tenant’s particular operational needs. The main objective is to optimise the efficiency of the logistics process in the facility. Improved efficiency can reduce logistic costs and speed up the delivery time to the customer, which in turn means revenue will be received sooner.

Different operators have different requirements depending on their use of the warehouse. A smaller warehouse would normally operate on a basis that stock is hand-picked and sorted, or a forklift/pallet jack would be used to move stock around. Larger facilities would sometimes require extremely dense racking based on a very narrow aisle configuration. With this arrangement much larger specialised order picker machines are required. These racking configurations demand specific performance qualities from a warehouse’s concrete floor. Many high volume warehouses can also be mechanised and make use of conveyor systems to speed up product turnaround.

To create the ideal environment to accommodate the majority of operators, developers and investors look for the most flexible warehouse. A building that has a high specification concrete floor; large span column spacing; good clear heights to allow for high narrow aisle racking; decent yard sizes to allow for truck flow and a central location to the target market. With these basic requirements, distribution warehouses remain attractive to most potential occupiers looking for a facility that once fitted out will optimise process efficiency in their supply chain.

 

Developers, Fit-out, Industrial, Investors, Logistics, Occupiers, Project Management, Retail,