What’s in store for 2024?

From warehousing to logistics, supermarkets to robotics, 2024 promises to be a year of change and challenges.

It should also be the year that smart businesses take the forward-thinking option of installing a mezzanine to support their future growth – because mezzanines allow companies to make full use of their existing space without the cost and inconvenience of moving to new premises.

That’s the message from Hi-Level Mezzanines Sales Director Chris Baxter.

Chris says: “We’re expecting another exciting year for Hi-Level Mezzanines at the forefront of expanding industries. Our pipeline is strong and we’re starting the year with a confident outlook. We are looking at sizeable interesting projects and we will be welcoming new staff. We’re also delighted that our unique Hi-Tile robot-ready flooring is continuing to pull in the accolades.”

But what do other experts think?

According to the logistic and warehousing trade press, priorities are likely to include data optimisation, the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), more growth in e-commerce and the need to reduce emissions. Challenges will include economic predictability, skilled labour shortages persisting, supply chain disruptions and targets required to hit net-zero goals.

Predictions include:

“Businesses that are able to simplify, consolidate, share, remove and introduce new technologies and automation will be the ones that can create value.” – DHL

“There will be a rise in office refurbishment work as premises are remodelled to accommodate a shift in post-pandemic working practices, while an increased growth in online retailing will provide a catalyst for renewed investment in logistics facilities from 2024.”– Glenigan

“Supply chain disruptions, from global events to geopolitical shifts and natural disasters to public health crises, could impact the flow of goods leading to disruptions. The UK continues to have strong demand for high-quality warehouse space.” – Iron Mountain.

Mezzanines have a role to play in addressing all these points. They allow scope for companies to introduce robotics, they create space to remodel offices, and they give a business extra storage capacity to mitigate supply chain disruption through a Just in Case strategy.

Supply chain resilience will continue to be vital but predictions indicate limited corporate investment potential in inventory management and multi sourcing, according to Logistics Manager. Mezzanines are a cost-effective way to ease the burden.

What’s more, warehouse construction is forecast to fuel demand for automation solutions during 2024 and into 2025. A fascinating innovation is Amazon’s human-like logistics robot, currently undergoing trials. It is able to move, grasp and handle items and has particular value in carrying out highly repetitive processes that are mind-numbing for staff.

Read about mezzanines for automation here.

Let’s take a look at trends for 2024 in several sectors where mezzanines can have most impact:

conveyor system in warehouse

Construction: the hope of UK interest rate cuts in 2024 could spur investment in capital projects and the construction industry is forecast for a strong bounce back thanks to growth in warehousing and logistics, office, and retail refurbishment, fit out, and the repurposing of redundant commercial premises. Two predictions are that the private sector will generate more opportunities, and that the value of construction starts will grow by 20%.

A prime example of expansion comes at Magna Park in the Midlands, Europe’s biggest dedicated logistics hub. More major warehousing and logistics schemes identified in the construction pipeline by Glenigan’s industry analysis include a £500m railhead and logistics hub at Ravenscraig in Scotland and the £410 million Humber International Enterprise Park in Hull.

Warehousing: the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) has dubbed 2024 “The Year of Warehousing” and has launched a high-profile, year-long campaign to highlight the critical role of warehousing in supply chains, the sector’s major contribution to the UK economy, its employment of one million people, and its key role in embracing solar power to achieve the UK’s net-zero goals. The campaign coincides with UKWA’s 80th anniversary.

It highlights how: “Warehouse buildings are becoming larger and higher to accommodate this additional activity: 1% of the 4000 largest warehouses in the UK are so-called ‘mega-sheds’ of over 1 million sq. ft. and this trend is set to continue. Automation and robotics are being adopted increasingly, improving productivity and supporting workforce wellbeing, while sustainability is baked into new buildings to reduce emissions and control costs.”

Mezzanines are tailor-made for larger and higher warehouses.

Logistics: urban logistics is a concept that is forecast to hit the big time in 2024. Demand for fast fulfilment is now embedded in the consumer mindset and there is a growing need for micro hubs able to service final-mile distribution, with facilities closer to where people live. One parcel delivery firm’s survey found that 58% of online shoppers believe same-day delivery options are important.

However, the amount of urban land available for potential development is diminishing – London has lost 25% of its industrial land over the past 15 years, according to British Land, developers need to take innovative approaches to create logistics facilities in the city.

This is where mezzanines come in, allowing businesses to turn unused headspace into productive capacity.

Supermarkets: M&S is investing in technology to “increase retail efficiency and reduce energy costs” in a programme stretching over several years, including investment in automation at its Bradford warehouse. Aldi UK is expanding its store and distribution networks, revamping existing stores and improving technology. It has increased its previous investment pledge to end-2024 by £100 million.

Retail, including e-commerce: retail warehouses are predicted to generate the highest returns in the sector with 7.8% in 2024 and 8.4% in 2025, according to a commercial property survey. Meanwhile Harrods is investing “several millions” in new warehousing technology to significantly upgrade its facilities in time for Christmas 2024, as is luxury group LVMH. Hugo Boss plans to double the automated shuttle and robotics systems at its European central distribution centre, according to Vogue Business.

Hi-Level Mezzanines

Hi-Level Mezzanines provides mezzanine floors of the highest quality in the industry, yet remaining competitively priced thanks to the expertise of our team of qualified structural engineers, innovative digital design process and advanced solutions.

For 30 years we have been creating space for amazing things to happen. Contact us today for more information at sales@hi-level.co.uk or call 01730 237 190.

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