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From crisis to opportunity: an interview with CEO Joost Uwents about WDP’s post-corona approach

written by Norbert Padt
Published on:
Future logisticsImpact by responsibility
Build-to-suitWell-beingE-commerceLogistics & Supply Chain

In addition to global health, COVID-19 has also hit the economy quite hard. It gave WDP many reasons to be worried as well. Rent collection, delays in property development, bankruptcies, leasing, higher vacancy, and more. Still, CEO Joost Uwents knows how to spot the opportunities hidden within a crisis.

How did COVID-19 challenge WDP?

Our focus changed during the crisis. At the beginning, the challenge was to help our clients by keeping the buildings fully operational, since they were so crucial to our clients. We kept track of our clients during the crisis: who was hurting, who needed our help… We’re currently preparing ourselves for the tsunami this autumn. Let’s be realistic, there will be some (near) bankruptcies, so we will be coping with extra vacancies. Luckily, this is our core business. So our challenge will be to puzzle out a way to help our clients so we can keep our portfolio fully occupied.”

Do you think this crisis came with some opportunities?

Sure, the corona crisis emphasised the opportunities for e‑commerce and the importance of the supply chain, which is the connection between production and the B2B or B2C client. Every company has had to invest more in its supply chain because you need product availability and a flexible, omnichannel strategy in order to help clients. Unlike our expectations, companies didn’t wait until the end of the summer to grow and change. Despite the crisis, they called us to think about their future logistics. Companies want to work more efficiently and are also considering automation in order to provide better, faster e‑commerce service.”

Is e‑commerce in food retail the next big thing?

Interest in e‑commerce is growing. The challenging part for the food and pharma sectors is the combination of cooled, frozen, temperature-controlled, and ambient units. However, this requires some understanding of the sectors. Luckily, WDP has many years of experience in cold warehouses for food & pharma. So, we’re ready to support our clients in their next step.”

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