The idea of getting future-ready is sweeping the logistics sector. In industrial real estate, change and innovation are hot topics, with blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics unmissable subjects at any real estate gathering today. A lot is happening in terms of industry modernisation, and anticipating how these changes will ripple through, or even disrupt the sector is useful. While the importance of innovation is debated by the industry, Prologis has gone further in anticipating directly how changes on the horizon can affect its own business and that of their customers.
Prologis’ vice president of architecture and emerging technologies, Robbert Heekelaar recently spoke about how Prologis has been anticipating, and leading this.
The three key things to know are:
Industrywide innovation is happening fast
It’s about being ahead of what’s next
Success is when change is culturally driven (and a real mindset)
Just how serious Prologis is about changing with a changing industry can be measured by what we’re doing, not just talking about. “We’re not innovating for the sake of innovation and we’re not doing this as a marketing tool, we’re starting from the core. We’re willing to change our organization and make sure that we’re ready for that big next step,” says Robbert Heekelaar.
For instance, Prologis Labs has just launched in November, a 1,300 sqm physical space in San Leandro offering the freedom to test and experiment warehouse innovation. According to Robbert, “The lab can be used to do experiments with, or without tenants in a special test environment where we can truly put vendor solutions to the test and see if they work or not.”
With the physical also comes a virtual lab, since some experiments just can’t be done in a warehouse – things like blockchain, where space isn’t necessarily needed. “It’s the same for BIM, or creating a digital twin of a warehouse. Tests like these don’t need a physical environment, so we put them in our virtual lab space. But the two are totally aligned and driven by the same team.”
For some time, Prologis has steadily been making organizational changes, to be ready for the future. Innovation is an important focus item to lead and stay ahead of what’s next. The physical lab in San Leandro and the Global Virtual lab allows for experiments to be internally initiated on- and offsite, with tenants and vendors – providing the means to investigate all the interesting opportunities available, what will fuel future growth and continue to help increase our tenants competitive position.
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