Monday, 20 May 2019
Goodman Netherlands poised to meet new challenges
In recent years, the logistics industry has been facing a completely new set of challenges. Technological innovation, the demand for next-day deliveries and increased sustainability, imminent Brexit… According to Goodman, these developments bring with them a whole host of opportunities. “Whatever developments there may yet be in store for us, the main thing is to always ensure quality and to stand out from the rest.”
The logistics industry is in a constant state of flux. In this particular industry, a warehouse is of course a vital asset that can make all the difference. This may be because of its location, but also because of the added value that you yourself create. The Goodman business model is based on investment, development and management. Regardless of any trends or developments the logistics industry may undergo, these are areas in which we are constantly trying to make improvements.
Creating long-term value
With this philosophy in mind, Goodman is very much focusing on brownfields. These are plots of land situated in excellent locations, but whose background history may be somewhat complicated. “In the Netherlands, there is enormous pressure on available land. That is why it is much more lucrative to continue to develop existing ageing locations into ultra-modern logistics centres. That does require a significant effort, of course, but in this area Goodman can make a success of it where others cannot.”
The very last step in the delivery process is now of critical importance, and that also applies to logistics real estate companies.
One of the factors that has an enormous impact on the choice of location for logistics companies, is the strong growth of the e-commerce industry. The last step in the delivery process or last-mile delivery has become a major factor, and this also applies to logistics real estate companies. People now expect their parcels to be delivered the very next day, and in order to be able to meet this demand, there are quite a few developments taking place in the logistics industry. “Companies need hubs close to towns in order to enable them to deliver their products with the use of innovative means of transport. Our main focus is to find those ideal locations. We offer a platform to this innovative and fast-growing market.”
The labour supply factor makes all the difference
“We note that the strongest economic activity is still located within the so-called Blue Banana or the Manchester-Milan axis. In the Netherlands, this traditional economic corridor translates into the Rotterdam-Venlo axis, so that is what we continue to focus upon. What is changing, however, is the balance between economic activity and the supply of labour. The more successful a region becomes, the trickier it becomes to find suitable personnel. Due to this labour shortage, extra attention must be paid to the provision of public transport and cycling facilities. This also fits in with our brownfield strategy as we are developing locations that are closer to towns. These locations are often already well served by public transport in contrast to greenfield locations where there is still insufficient critical mass.”
“It is up to us to design the chosen location in such a way to also attract digital specialists.”
Finding the right location is still the most important issue for Goodman customers, but the demand for suitable personnel is becoming increasingly important. “Those times when our customers were only on the lookout for drivers and order pickers are long gone. Due to the growing digitalisation and robotisation, there is now a much greater demand for a broader range of profiles. Nowadays, companies are also on the lookout for educated planners and IT experts, to mention just a few. It is up to us to design the chosen location in such a way to also attract digital specialists.”
Putting our heads together
The identity of a company is largely determined by the identity of its workforce. Goodman is only too aware that when building a warehouse, the needs of these (potential) employees also play a major part.
“We must try to understand and respond to the needs of the future workforce. This also includes paying attention to sustainability and well-being. We are already using as many innovative technologies as possible to ensure that our warehouses are as sustainable as possible. So, what immediately springs to mind is solar panels, striving for optimum BREEAM rating, energy-saving LED lighting, movement sensors, smart energy meters and charging points for electric vehicles. However, we also put our heads together with our customers. How can we restrict the use of cars? How can we attract local people who cycle or who use public transport? Our aim is to offer a product that ticks all the boxes and also holds its value over the long term.”
Striving for zero emissions
Moving towards a fleet of electric-powered vehicles seems to be one of the main trends for the years to come. Charging points for passenger cars are already fitted as standard at the Goodman warehouses, but for the time being this facility is not yet available for electric-powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Zero-emission HGVs are on the way. “We are trying our very best to anticipate the choice of transformer, for example. For our industry, the switch to electric-powered HGVs will be one of the main challenges in the years to come.”