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sustainable ideas for distribution centres and storage.

Future-proofing warehouse space

Using sustainable environmental technology, decision makers can future-proof warehouse space to meet consumer demand and the shift in purchasing behaviours.

The events of 2020 may have been totally unprecedented but the distribution challenges of the pandemic look set to continue. So how can decision makers best equip themselves for the disruptive shift when warehousing space is at a premium?

Surge in demand

Grocery sales have rocketed during lockdown, surging by a quarter when the measures were first introduced. With panic buying emptying the shelves, backroom staff have worked overtime to ensure that the essentials are available while keeping the multi-retail offer of larger supermarkets ticking over.

But that increased quantity of stock and additional packaging waste has left warehouses with little free space even as demand continues to grow. It’s an issue that’s affecting traditional retail, too. Customer spending habits seem to have migrated online for the foreseeable future, leaving stores with fulfilment problems they never expected to have.

And the issue isn’t going away anytime soon, with 82% of shoppers saying they’ll continue to purchase online, even when lockdown measures start to ease. With retailers already forced to extend delivery and return periods, how can they plan ahead to deliver streamlined service after lockdown?

Future proofing

It’s not only logistics teams that are struggling to package and process orders as a result of increased demand. There’s also a heavy increase in the demand for warehousing space which increased by 51% in the first half of 2020. This is a sustainability issue that the sector needs to address with some haste.

There are options, however, not all of which involve purchasing more warehousing space. Forward thinking teams are using environmental technology tailored to address the needs of warehousing space to face the challenge.

For example, automatic channel baling presses can maximise space by converting waste packaging into bales that are easy to recycle. This frees up space used for storing waste and helps to improve the sustainability of processes through reduced operational costs and return on investment.

Sustainable packaging

Packaging is a problem for retailers, especially when orders are returned. Decision makers are turning to smart packaging solutions to turn waste into packing materials.

Cardboard perforators can turn offcuts into recycled packaging that improves a business’s environmental impact and reduces costs by saving thousands on new packaging. With no end in sight to the online buying revolution, this is a lifeline for smaller businesses faced with potential returns.

Planning ahead

The logistics of lockdown have introduced new pressures and opportunities for retailers large and small. With the vast majority of shoppers migrating at least some of their purchases online, decision makers can use the knowledge gained in the last year to address issues fast while keeping sustainability at the forefront of their choices.

However unpredictable the year of coronavirus has been, retailers and their backroom staff can’t afford to sit back and ignore the logistical challenge of the digital retail revolution. Planning ahead for logistics packaging and warehouse space will help businesses cope with the new normal.

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