Welcome to the Warehouse & Logistics News Annual 2022, an in-depth look at some of the top firms and trade associations in the warehousing and logistics industry. We extend our thanks to all the supporters of The Annual and in particular our Headline Sponsor, Kite Packaging.
The eleventh edition of The Annual includes a detailed study of all the key businesses having an impact on the industry. We interview some of the most prominent individuals and companies in the sector, with trade associations providing annual reports on what has happened over the last year and looking ahead to 2022.
The warehousing sector is growing! Savills’ 2021 report into the size and make-up of the UK warehousing market showed 32% growth in the last six years, with buildings getting taller and bigger in footprint to meet massively increased demand for units of 1m+ sq ft. There has also been a seismic shift in occupier profile, from traditional High Street retailers to 3PLs and online traders. At the start of 2021, the Office of National Statistics was reporting ecommerce at over 37% of retail sales and despite falling back since then, it seems unlikely ever to contract to pre-pandemic levels.
The industry’s ongoing skills shortage reached a critical level during 2021 for a number of roles such as HGV drivers, vehicles technicians and warehouse staff. The government has announced a wide number of proposals ranging from improving driver parking facilities; additional funds for training; streamlining of the licence acquisition system and doubling of DVSA driver testing capacity.
The well-publicised labour shortages across UK warehouses have been pushing wages up, shifting the ROI on automation projects. In fact, labour availability is such a pressing issue that many companies believe automation to be the way forward at almost any cost. With much of the shift to e-commerce during the pandemic proving to be permanent, firms are restructuring their logistics around the new normal. The labour-intensive e-com order profile, coupled with ever-increasing consumer expectations for fast and flexible delivery, make automation the ideal solution.
By handling the demanding order profile and higher return rate of e-commerce orders more quickly and easily than manual processes, automation can increase efficiency, reduce costs and enhance customer service. No doubt 2022 will bring its own surprises and unique challenges but rest assured Warehouse & Logistics News, the industry’s only fortnightly title, will keep you up to date with all the news and features.