Fifth Annual Industrial NJ Development Conference Examines the Supply Chain
The Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Journal presented its 5th Annual “Industrial New Jersey Development Conference” at the APA Hotel in Woodbridge in February. The conference consisted of three panels which focused on the following topics:
- Opportunities in the industrial real estate market: State of the industry
- Transportation and logistics: Trends impacting industrial real estate and warehouse development
- Industrial development: Getting a project completed, financing, and future trends
While each panel had a specific focus, there were common themes centering on changes and challenges to the industrial real estate world, along with transportation, that are driven by user demands, peoples’ needs and technology. Some of these user demands and needs are:
- Parking opportunities and ceiling heights of warehouses. The needs of the building user vary based on whether they need parking for tractor trailers or parking for employees. Some buildings are being reinforced to allow for employee parking on the roof.
- Amazon’s impact. Consumers want items shipped to them quickly and at the least cost possible. In some markets, goods may be delivered to a locker at your local Whole Foods or to the trunk of your car. The expectation of consumer shipment times and costs, whether it is from Amazon or some other online retailer, have caused changes in all aspects of good transportation—such as ports, railways and other infrastructure. New Jersey is in a favorable position as it has numerous Amazon facilities, along with ports, rails, airports and major highways throughout the state.
- Technology enhances the supply chain. For example, there’s the “uberization” of trucking. There are companies, such as Transfix, that offer on-demand trucking by matching drivers to users. This process reduces costs, fuel and movements because matches are made more efficiently and drivers are paid more quickly. Drivers and companies can also rate each other—similar to Uber and Lyft.
- Sellers of consumer goods must have an ecommerce presence. If not, their businesses will simply not survive. Ecommerce is a learning curve for many companies. Among the basics, ecommerce considerations will need to include how to handle online sales and returns, cybersecurity, and physical security.
The main takeaway is that the industry will continue to evolve along with the needs of tenants, advancements in technology and changes in transportation.