Online shopping creating a shedload of opportunities

David Brown, sales director of purlins at voestalpine Metsec plc, looks ahead to Black Friday and what it means for companies like Metsec, which play a key role in the construction of distribution centres

The logistics sector is a vital component of the UK’s economic health, with the industry worth a staggering £91bn, employing one in 12 of the nation’s workforce.

The biggest catalyst for the growth of this sector is online shopping; nowhere is this online boom most clearly seen than Black Friday (which this year falls on November 23), the US sales phenomenon now adopted by all major UK retailers. The amount spent on UK online retail sites on Black Friday 2017 was up 11.7% to a staggering £1.39bn, according to data from online retail trade body IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group).


Fuelled by the likes of Amazon, Next and Argos, this has driven an unlikely property boom, with big distribution centres popping up along  many of the UK’s principal motorways; this growth has a direct impact on companies, like Metsec, that play a key role in building warehouses. The first six months of 2018 were incredibly busy for the purlins division; at Metsec we use light gauge cold-formed steel roof purlins on a wide range of building types including warehouses and distribution depots.

By using MetSPEC 14 or market leading design software we’re able to calculate the most efficient purlin and side rail design that optimises the use of steel on a project, as well as saving the engineer time.


Due to our bespoke manufacturing software and flexible rolling mills, we’re able to offer short lead times for our products, which helps us deliver to projects with tight lead times. The purlins are supplied in the specified lengths, pre-pierced and marked according to the client’s requirements, making them easy to identify and install once on site. All of this, coupled with being able to schedule deliveries to meet our customers’ needs, means that we’re able to provide the best products, on time and in full.

According to Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index, if UK parcel volumes continue to grow at their current rate, the UK could be sending 3.9bn parcels by 2021. That’s a shed load of opportunity.