Viewing a warehouse with the leasing team, meeting with the project management team to plan a build-to-suit logistics facility or conducting a building inspection with property managers—until recently, these were day-to-day activities for the Prologis teams in Northern Europe. Direct contact with our clients and service providers is what our work is all about, namely understanding clients’ needs through in-depth communication and finding the best solution with our facility managers onsite.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for us to maintain at least as close a dialogue with our clients and service providers as before the crisis—but in different, innovative ways. When it comes to our work here at Prologis, social distancing rules mean working from home and communicating with clients, service providers, and coworkers online and by phone. “We now need to consider virtual alternatives for many processes that we used to take for granted,” says Bram Verhoeven, senior vice president, regional head Northern Europe. “Despite the extraordinary situation, we are working hard to ensure that we continue to offer our clients the best possible service. Our colleagues in Northern Europe are finding new ways of doing this each and every day with creativity, dedication and in a well-coordinated manner.”
Virtual Facility Showings Via 360-Degree Videos
Anyone who has ever visited a logistics property knows how impressive an in-person showing can be, but this is no longer possible with social distancing rules. Taking advantage of the latest technology with 360-degree videos is a good alternative that comes close to a real visit for both our clients and brokers. Why not take a virtual tour of the Prologis Park Born DC1 or Prologis Park Eindhoven DC3 and see for yourself?
Using building information modeling (BIM), we can also offer tours of properties that aren’t yet completed or even under construction. BIM makes it possible to create a true-to-life 3D model of a planned property, allowing our clients to explore the building down to the smallest detail, just like in a video game.
It is also possible to discuss changes to properties without meeting in person. “We can implement modifications in a 3D model via remote engineering, using our Trimble Connect utility that allows us to show the changes to our clients visually,” says Sander Griffioen, project manager Benelux.
Handover Via Virtual Tour
Once a facility is completed, we can hand over the property without interacting in person. Using a 360-degree camera, one of our employees guides the client through the logistics facility. This allows people to view even the smallest details from any angle—all from the comfort of their desk.
Socially Distanced Inspections
Our property managers are the face of Prologis for many clients. In collaboration with our facility management service providers, they ensure the properties in our portfolio always meet the highest standards. But maintaining the mandatory social distance is a particular challenge during inspections, which is why our property managers use technical tools to keep physical interactions to a minimum. The roofs of our logistics facilities are inspected with drones, for example. Property managers examine them from a safe distance and can detect damage or irregularities on high-resolution videos and then initiate repairs.
Although our teams in Northern Europe work at different locations in Benelux, Sweden and Germany, collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic remains extremely close. “We are very proud of our employees, who demonstrate their resilience and resourcefulness every day,” says Bram Verhoeven. “And we are grateful for our clients’ and service providers’ continued confidence, patience, and willingness to embrace new and innovative approaches. The tremendous efforts on both sides allow us to maintain close contact with each other during this extraordinary situation.”
The COVID-19 pandemic poses major challenges in many areas of life. It is up to all of us to minimize physical contact in order to slow down the spread of the virus and thereby protect people who are at risk of infection.