The aim of the consultation process is to determine occupiers’ evolving needs so that warehouse designs are – as far as possible – future proofed. This work also lays the foundations for new product development at Hörmann, who are continuing to focus their research and development effort to deliver the right equipment to meet operational and energy efficiency demands, while improving safety.
For Prologis, a commitment to sustainable building has already developed a forward thinking culture that has resulted in a number of customer focussed initiatives. The recent introduction of the build- to-suit five year lease initiative is one of the latest examples of this approach. In exchange for a five year lease commitment, Prologis will build a high quality, sustainable distribution centre. The short-term nature of the lease means that Prologis needs to design the buildings to be flexible and adaptable. While offering real value for money to its customers and aiming to minimise the lifetime carbon footprint of each building, Prologis must also maximise its investment.
Working with 3PLs to predict not only the most likely future developments but also the speed of change is already making design changes that will add value to new developments. The adoption of a “standard” dock height of 1300mm with a 3.5m dock leveller means that new builds can readily handle a wider range of vehicle types. This instant flexibility also has a benefit in the construction phase, as standard size dock shelters and dock houses can be installed, without modification, speeding up the build process.
Before the introduction of the new build-to-suit five year lease initiative, Hörmann and Prologis have collaborated over delivering more flexible solutions on a number of developments as can be seen at both Bradford and Pineham. The new warehouse for BMW parts distribution at Prologis Park Pineham includes “knock through” pre-cast concrete door panels that have been placed between the current loading bays so that additional bays could be easily installed should BMW’s needs change. This also adds to the long term use of the building which could readily be modified for any future tenants. At Prologis Park Bradford, an alternative solution was employed where manual, insulated, sectional doors where fitted instead of “knock through” panels to a section of a building that was designed to accommodate additional bays should they be required. In both these examples the flexibility to expand with minimal environmental impact was a key factor in reaching a solution.
Prologis’ build-to-suit programme can meet a wide range of requirements from the need to accommodate double deck trailers to specific designs to incorporate automated loading equipment. The key to these new developments is how they can be adapted in the future. As an example, using pedestal loading houses that can simply be unbolted and exchanged for an alternative design are a possible option to resolve the potential conflict between a bespoke design developed to meet very specific needs while offering the ability to adapt as the loading needs evolve.
By understanding customer needs and meeting them with innovative solutions, Prologis and Hörmann are set to retain their positions as market leaders.
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