UKWA announces 2024 as the 'Year of Warehousing'
The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has announced that 2024 will see the launch of a high-profile, year-long campaign to highlight how critical the role of warehousing plays in supply chains, contribution to the UK economy, and essential employment of 1m people. The key role of this is set to play in embracing solar power to help achieve UK's net zero goals.
The Year of the Warehouse will coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Association's inception in 1944. To highlight this there will be an ambitious program to include about 80 site visits across the UK by CEO Clare Bottle, whose aim is to highlight the high tech, fast-moving working environments inside UK warehouses and raise public awareness of just how important this sector really is. Clare commenting on the initiative says "Warehousing remains one of the fastest growing, yet least understood sectors in the UK". In normal day to day life the pubic are not likely to see what goes on in these vast buildings, where millions of products are processed daily. Warehouses are always 'behind the scenes' and therefore under appreciated. However, the year of the warehouse is hopeful to bring forward the recognition of the important work that this sector does to the government, media and the public.
How we use the warehouse is changing rapidly, as traditional High Street tasks are being forced back up the supply chain by ecommerce, whilst quasi-manufacturing activities such as the assembly of gift-packs or printing t-shirts are pushed downstream. These warehouses have become a hub for other activities such as returns management, recycling, upcycling and repairs which helps to reduce waste.
What does this mean for the warehousing industry? They are becoming larger and higher to try to accommodate this additional activity. Around 1% of the 4000 largest warehouses are so-called 'mega-sheds' of over 1 million sq ft. and this trend is going to continue. Inside the warehouse processes need to become more automated to compensate for these changes, this even includes Automation and Robotics.
Warehouse rooftops offer great potential for generating clean, affordable solar power, as the UKWA's landmark report confirmed. This places intense focus on the sector as the government looks towards industrial rooftop installations that will contribute to a third of the 2035 target to increase the amount of solar capacity by nearly fivefold. A lot of warehouse operators have already looked at implementing this as a way to move forward with their business.