Travelling on many major roads, you will have seen storage and distribution centres – large buildings without windows, bearing the name of our largest companies in Britain. What happens inside those buildings?

They store goods and often distribute them so that they can be sold later. An RDC (regional distribution centre) has complex shelving systems for storage and access, equipment to move, load and unload goods, like forklift trucks, and high-tech, automated systems, such as conveyor or hanging systems.

High street retailers, food retailers and manufacturers are all large users of RDC space. Each sector requires its RDCs to have a range of features that allow goods to reach customers quickly and in the best condition. For example, processing fruit and vegetables must be done in temperature controlled distribution centres, safely and quickly, into temperature controlled lorries, ready to go to our shops and restaurants. Food distribution centres currently account for around 62 million square feet of space in the UK [1] (a medium-sized living room is 18 square feet!).

Check out this video from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to see how milk gets from cow to consumer:

Digital skills are very important in RDC management. Inventory control, controlling how much stock and where the stock is, is done using warehouse management software. Conveyor and hanging systems require skilled workers to support their use and maintenance. As the future of logistics involves more digital operations management and hyper-modern distribution centres, ever-evolving and innovative jobs for future logisticians are constantly being created.

[1] Savills.pdf