We had a very interesting and insightful few days at the IMHX exhibition last week in Birmingham.  Rarely do we have the opportunity to speak to so many diverse organisations in the area of intra-logistics, get a better understanding of the challenges they face, learn about all the new innovations that are shaping the future of this industry, build new or strengthen existing relationships, and ultimately establish how our customised warehousing solutions can continue to be relevant to each business’ current needs. 

It’s widely documented that a lack of available warehouse space is one of the biggest headaches facing the industrial, logistics, manufacturing and distribution sectors right now.  On top of the supply chain issues, this is bringing a heightened level of complexity and pressure to their daily operations as well as their plans for future growth.  At the same time, stock shortages, labour uncertainties and rising prices mean that the options for expansion are limited.  

Flexibility is so sought after and this was confirmed to us loud and clear last week.  Everyone wanted to talk temporary.  We regularly find ourselves telling customers that our structures don’t have to be a short-term fix, they are built to last, however, at IMHX, it appeared that no-one is prepared to look that far ahead at the moment so temporary is the only feasible solution.

Many businesses were looking for somewhere to store goods as a bit of a stop-gap while they consider their next move or get ready to relocate.  Others discussed the rising rents alongside a looming recession, which means that they don’t want to commit to a lengthy rental agreement or invest in bricks and mortar.

Financial flexibility is also sought after. People we spoke to were encouraged to hear that they could have the option of renting one of our structures at a price that offers them more financial security and then have the possibility of owning it further down the line if they find that it serves more than a short-term purpose.  

Flexibility was also central to other conversations we had around configuration.  Some businesses, who had planned to move to an alternative site, are having to adapt and maximise what they already have at their disposal.  That could mean increased automation and there were plenty of very clever robotics being demonstrated or it could mean reviewing how existing premises are already being used.  We spoke to people about how we can customise all our industrial buildings to fit the space available to them, no matter how small it is, irregular in shape or if it’s on a slope.  We also explained to one warehouse manager that we are able to use concrete blocks to secure the buildings, which means that extensive groundworks are not required, which was information well received.

We weren’t the biggest attraction there and didn’t have the most eye-catching stand or even the best freebies but we had some very good conversations, made some positive connections and strong business leads so we’re looking forward to seeing where those take us in these challenging times for everyone.