How Robots are changing warehouse design?
More machines and fewer human workers will mean car parking requirements, currently a major use of space for warehouse, will decrease.
The potential for autonomous cars among the future workforce, dropping off workers at the start of their shift and picking them up at the end, could reduce the need for car parking further. Likewise, fewer human workers would cut the amount of space needed for staff amenities such as canteens or break areas.
Better connections to energy grids
A major challenge off the back of increased automation will be energy, with more electricity needed, both inside and outside the warehouse. “Power is potentially a major factor,” says Sleeman. “Access to sufficient power will be a more central issue in a highly-automated logistics world.”
Yet while warehouse design may be in for an overhaul, location remains a key influence, especially when it comes to access to transport networks. “Warehouses cluster around major centres of population and industry, gateway locations – large ports and airports and strategic transport infrastructure. These centres, gateways and infrastructure are fixed, and are not likely to change significantly,” says Sleeman.
However, smaller warehouses with higher density storage opens up the prospect of new locations. “Warehouses that would have only previously been able to exist in areas further out of town could become more urban as space requirements decrease,” says Sleeman. “That will of course need to be balanced against the cost of being in a more urban area.”
Stephen Wyatt, Country Head of JLL Vietnam commented: ‘The ecommerce boom in recent years has led to greater demand for high-tech production plants. The connection between factories will be optimised, blurs out the physical boundaries thus shaping the future of production in the future as small scope factories with well-connected information system.
Stephen also shared ‘The biggest challenge Vietnam will face over the next few years is the result of the inevitable disruption and changes brought about by technology and automation. How radical these changes will be will depend on how quickly automation is adopted. Automation does not mean today’s buildings will simply become obsolete but occupiers, developers and investors need to be ready for change.