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Get set for Tomorrow’s Warehouse

20 November 2019

We’re launching a new event designed for operations professionals who see the waves of the future building, to give them a space to learn from each other, and from expert speakers.

Running a warehouse is a lot like surfing. You’re on the board and all appears quiet, but you look out to sea and there are tiny swells in the distance. These waves grow and sometimes fade but before long, some loom large and could come crashing down on top of you. The trick is, like a good surfer, to be able to judge the approaching wave and get on at the right time.

And by waves, of course, we mean the trends and challenges faced by warehouse and operations managers.

Following two influential reader survey-led Special Reports, Handling & Storage Solutions has announced a one day event at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on September 30, 2020 to further explore the key issues that will challenge the warehouse of tomorrow.

We asked our readers how they anticipated trends changing in the future and the results from the surveys, completed in July 2018 and May 2019 make fascinating reading.

Save the date and get involved!

The Tomorrow’s Warehouse Event will take place at the Ricoh Arena on September 30th 2020.

The Event will run from 9am- 4.30pm, with 4 scheduled content-packed sessions, frequent coffee breaks and a free of charge lunch for attendees and exhibitors alike, to maximise Networking opportunities.

There will be allocation for up to 30 Exhibitors, this will be “table top” format, with participating companies having the opportunity to engage with attendees from floor space allowing for; a pop up visual, table and couple of chairs.

There will be a limited number of sponsorship opportunities available for those wishing to align their company with this topic + event. 

  • Headline Sponsor
  • Event partners (max of 4)
  • Registration sponsor

All will benefit from pre and post Event marketing exposure as well as from LIVE event coverage to attendees via our print, online & social media channels. Packages will also include speaker opportunities.

For more information, contact Angela Lyus on 01342 836275 / 07818574304 / alyus@western-bp.co.uk

These findings detail the concerns of logistics professionals as they face the future in an exciting, dynamic and fast-changing industry. It was astounding how many respondents face similar challenges such as restricted warehouse space, and are exploring new technology, such as robotics and automation. This event is designed for operations professionals who see these waves building, and gathering them together to learn from each other, and from expert speakers. 

Looking at the survey results in more detail, we saw strong consensus in some areas, with respondents looking expectantly towards new technology such as automation and lithium-ion powered forklifts. 74% of respondents saw Automation as an important future technology. Furthermore, 56% of those surveyed are actively considering lithium-ion powered forklifts in their investment plans.

In our Tomorrows’s Warehouse survey, 42% of respondents see insufficient warehouse space as the single most important issue to address in their warehousing or logistics operation. This is quite remarkable. No doubt stockpiling for Brexit has been an aggravating factor, but this is a longstanding issue that is likely to persist, even with the recent upturn in Spec build warehousing. It is no surprise that operators are seeking to maximise the warehouse cube. Identifying tools and products that can help will be a key priority at the event.


At the one-day event, our survey findings will form the basis of our panel-led discussions and presentations throughout the day. Each session will look at key topics of interest.

Automation: The pressures of eComm are felt throughout operations, from the growth of single Picking to a huge surge in Returns. Automation promises to bring speed and accuracy to operations but must be specified and managed correctly to save money. Automation can lower reliance on labour and make warehouse work less of a chore, boosting staff retention.

Robotics: A special focus on robotics, which promise to bring automation benefits to picking and other processes with relatively low footprint and at price ranges suitable for SMEs (as well as larger companies), that can be scaled up to support growth.

The future of storage: It’s all about optimising space as warehouse property increases in price. The need for slicker, more efficient operations within an existing  footprint, using high bay racking systems, automated storage solutions, mezzanines, OR simply ensuring best use of indoor space through design and outdoor space with the installation of bespoke structures & canopies.

The future of the forklift: The industry workhorse is not standing still, and there is increasing demand for lift trucks that are more reliable, greener, safer, and more connected. In addition, lithium-based batteries promise dramatically lower downtime and more predictable and efficient operation.


5G is another trend worth keeping an eye on. The first 5G services will were launched earlier in the year, facilitating much faster internet connectivity.

There has been a certain amount of press on how this will enable better connectivity within the warehouse, bolstering Industry 4.0 type tools and data mapping the facility more thoroughly. This will be important but the real impact might come down the line.

The last time there was a significant shift in consumer tech, and this is not exactly analogous, was the shift from desktop PCs and laptops to smartphones and tablets, which led to a big jump in online shopping and a commensurate rise in demands placed on operations. 

Personalisation has been identified as a key trend in eCommerce for a few years now, and 5G may just be the accelerant it has been ‘waiting for’. 

If 5G allows retailers to engage and excite consumers all over again, it may lead to a similar rise in orders, more impulse buys, and greater expectation of faster deliveries. This will place greater pressure on logistics capability. Operators should keep an eye on it.

We will be carrying out our third reader-survey led Tomorrow’s Warehouse Special Report in 2020, which will be sent out with the July / August issue of the magazine, and we look forward to the launch of the one-day event in September. It would be great to see you there!