Kevin Jones, Sales Director for Metsec’s Purlins Division

The impact of online shopping on the UK’s warehouses

  • 7 Jan 2016

Kevin Jones, Sales Director for Metsec’s Purlins Division, discusses how the continued growth of online shopping is impacting the development of UK warehouses.

A recent report in the Financial Times showed that as customers switch from visiting the high street to online shopping, the warehouses that businesses use to store products are now increasingly in demand, driving the amount of logistics space available to its lowest level since records began.

Online retail sales are now growing at a rate of 12 percent a year, accounting for more than 12 percent of total spending in the UK according to the ONS

Last year’s Black Friday saw shoppers spend in excess of 1.1 billion, a 36 percent increase on the previous year. To accommodate this, operations must be fully equipped from back-end to front-end, so that the spike in sales can be effectively managed.

Black Friday creates additional pressures across the board, from website performance to ordering systems in addition to the strain on logistics.

As the economy continues to recover and consumers begin to spend more money, retail chains invest more in warehouses to meet this demand from online shoppers. As part of this, retailers such as Next and Amazon Prime Now are offering flexible delivery services which can be generated within a day or hour, in order to meet customers demands.

Increase in UK distribution centres

In the UK there has been an unlikely property boom of distribution centres being constructed along motorways, further highlighting the growing demand for retailers to have more distribution depots.

As online shopping becomes more and more popular, companies will be looking to further expand upon their warehouse presence. This development has a direct impact on companies such as Metsec which play a vital role in the construction of new warehouses.

Metsec’s develops light gauge cold-formed steel roof purlings on a wide range of building types, including warehouses and distribution depots.

By utilising its MetSPEC design software, the company is able to calculate the most efficient purlin and side rail design to save time and optimise the use of steel on a project.

It’s bespoke manufacturing software and flexible rolling mills mean that Metsec can offer short lead times on its products and deliver to tight deadlines.

The purlins are supplied in specified lengths, pre-pierced and marked according to the client’s requirements to make them easy to identify and install on site. All of its products are CE marked and its processes are certified to Execution Class 4.

The company has recently supported the construction of the new Next distribution centre in Doncaster through supplying its specialised, cold rolled, steel purlins and side rails.

The 1 million square foot centre will mean that Next can increase the amount of stock it can hold remotely, ready to distribute to online shoppers.

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