Warehouse owners face shortages of staff and space

Cushman & Wakefield, a property agent, has warned that the UK could run out of warehouse space within the next 12 months. Another issue warehouse owners are dealing with is a shortage of workers.

Demand for warehouse space is driven by the growth of eCommerce retailers, manufacturing and logistics companies. According to the Office for National Statistics, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, online sales were 19.1% of the total retail expenditure. By September 2021, it had risen to 25.9%.

There are many new warehouses being constructed, but supply chain issues have caused delays due to the shortage of building materials. According to the Financial Times, Emmanuel Van de Stichele, an industry expert, said:

“Availability will get worse before it gets better.”

Another serious issue for warehouse owners is the lack of warehouse workers. Amazon and other high-profile companies use robots, but most warehouses rely on human workers, along with storage trolleys, warehouse packing tables and other manual storage and handling equipment.

The CEO of the UK Warehousing Association, Clare Bottle, said that there are around 200,000 workers employed in UK warehouses, but there are tens of thousands of vacancies. To recruit and retain more employees, some employers have increased the wages of warehouse workers by 25%. Advanced warehouse management software can help improve the efficiency and productivity of every employee.

Lord Wolfson, the CEO of fashion retailer Next, has suggested that more visas should be issued for foreign workers who want to work in warehouses.

Posted by Derek
1st November 2021
Retail & Warehousing

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