Polish warehouses are not the same as they were a few years ago

“Just 5 years ago, the interior of every warehouse looked exactly the same, the biggest craze being various arrangements of shelves. Over the years, however, the situation has changed dramatically. At the moment 100 percent of large facilities—buildings over 25 thousand sqm—are custom-built, which means each of them is different,” says Tomasz Olszewski, Regional Director, JLL. So what are Polish warehouse facilities like now, and what will they be in the future? Analysis by Tomasz Olszewski, JLL.


Currently, companies expect the buildings to be designed from scratch and come with solutions tailored to specific needs. This is also due to the growing market demands. In addition, the growth of e-commerce has an impact on the warehouse market and the development of warehouses for tenants who plan significant investments in automation and modern technologies. The warehouses of the future are usually taller, with floors inside the building and an increasing degree of automation.

Increasing surface areas

While only a few years ago transactions for around 20,000 sqm were rare, today they have become an everyday reality. The number of inquiries for surfaces ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 sqm has increased drastically. For example, a warehouse development for the Leroy Merlin hypermarket chain will be one of the largest logistics facilities on the market. The area of the building will amount to more than 123,600 sqm in its base, which is a record on the Polish warehouse market. The warehouse will be developed in Piątek near Łódź, known as the geographical centre of Poland.

The buildings are getting taller

Tenants are increasingly looking for buildings taller than the standard 10 metres. At present, 25-metre buildings are no longer a rarity, and many of them reach even greater heights. One example is Amica’s High Storage Warehouse in Wronki, which was put into service in 2017. The 47-metre building is the tallest building of this type in Poland, and the largest such facility in the household appliance industry in Europe.

Dedicated technical specifications

More and more tenants decide not to settle for the standard technical specifications used by most developers. The facilities ordered by clients often have reinforced floors—like the recent development for Smyk in Łódź—as well as an increased flow of daylight. The interiors of many buildings look different compared to a few years ago. Now companies decide to build additional floors, which helps to organise more efficient manual sorting systems.

Widespread automation

Automation in warehouses has become an increasingly pronounced phenomenon in recent years, and in the future it is set to become the default. Automation solutions are being implemented in all those industries where it is desirable to accelerate and optimise logistics processes. They can be seen as an obvious step in the development of every company. Efforts in this area are spearheaded by companies such as Amazon. The centre in Kołbaskowo “employs” three thousand robots which help with placing products on shelves and completing shipping orders. The word “help” needs to be emphasised here, as it is often implied that robots are going to replace human employees. Amazon, however, assumes that using robots will allow to decrease the order processing time from several hours to a couple of minutes, and increase the amount of goods on the shelves by up to a half, which should translate into a higher demand for human employees. In fact, as many as 600 engineers are employed in the operation and maintenance of robots in Europe alone.

This example highlights that automation makes it possible for companies to better use their warehouse space, as well as maximise its capacity. It is of enormous importance as prices of land increase and development conditions become more restrictive, especially in urban areas.

Ecology is becoming more and more important

Adopting an environmental approach in both the construction and operation of warehouse facilities is an increasingly important trend in the Polish warehouse and industrial space market. Sustainable construction has attained immense significance, largely thanks to its potential in creating user-friendly work environments and optimising the costs of facility maintenance. This is especially true for commercial property, in which there is a strong trend to adopt solutions enabling sustainability certification within systems such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), which is particularly popular in the warehouse and industrial market.

Recently, the courier company GLS Poland has put emphasis on ecology in the construction of a building in Wypędy near Warsaw, where it launched its largest shipment distribution centre. The facility has been equipped with modern environment-friendly solutions. The solar panels installed on its roof will heat up water in social rooms. GLS Poland has decided to implement a non-standard arrangement of office space, where it left reinforced concrete pillars and ordered the developer to finish the walls of several rooms with precast concrete slabs. The developer has also installed exterior blinds, which are integrated with the facility’s weather centre, making them capable of reacting to adverse weather conditions.

Conclusion

The use of all these solutions in modern warehouses provides the tenants with unprecedented benefits. Automation streamlines the processes of receiving, storing, assembling and dispatching goods, while taller buildings allow for better use of space. Thanks to the modern, future-oriented approach to facility development, clients can save storage space, improve work efficiency, and—most importantly— reduce warehousing costs. All this means that the new developments in the construction and management of warehouse space are here to stay.


Tomasz Olszewski