Today’s warehouses are bigger not only in terms of the basic floor plans but also the levels across which they operate. Most spaces now hold multiple levels of mezzanine floors, with various lifts and external access points to maximize the amount of open area for entry or exit.
FREMONT, CA: Warehouse storage and logistics appear like a staid and submissive industry, performing much of the same role it ever has. The people, trucks, and products they house, nothing ever stops moving and the design of modern warehouses is no exception.
The ascend of ecommerce has created an unparalleled demand for storage and logistics services, with people ordering all kinds of products at all hours, and expecting faster and more competent service than ever. Unavoidably, the warehouse spaces had to change to accommodate the items, both in terms of physical construction and utility.
Below are two examples of how modern warehouse design has changed to meet the requirements of modern society.
As technology has allowed one to better register and place items, and ecommerce has amplified the simple demand for storage space, the size of warehouses has naturally augmented. Today’s warehouses are bigger not only in terms of the basic floor plans but also the levels across which they operate. Most spaces now hold multiple levels of mezzanine floors, with various lifts and external access points to maximize the amount of open area for way in and way out.
Multipart inventory management software can combine with other systems to track how the spaces are used, ensuring that items can be located immediately even in a million square feet of storage space, and shipped to exactly where they need to go. Contemporary warehouses are also optimized, cramming more storage into the same floor plan and using specialized vehicles to pick from constricted or ultra-dense shelving.
The continuous tracking of deliveries and products implies there are thousands of different data points trailed by a centralized system. From the Internet of Things sensors to barcodes to wireless RFID chips, a collection of new technologies ensure total competence and accuracy from increasingly complex operations.
The idea of a warehouse is a place where goods are piled on available shelves or in clear floor space by forklifts—the concept is seen dying. The case is particularly true for businesses that can afford to optimize. The modern warehouse now relies on prudent inventory management, the simultaneous control of internal and external resources, tracking the intricate whereabouts of an item through the supply chain, from arrival to storage to departure.
As the demand for last-mile, instant delivery intensifies; warehouses are starting to collide with cities and towns. There is already a competition for space on the outskirts of primary population centers due to the need for same-day deliveries, and this will only step up as other businesses looking to compete.
4. Sprawling Sites
While the warehouses themselves have enlarged vastly in size, so have the sites that enclose them. The need for multiple points of entry and egress, onsite security and firefighting services, innumerable loading bays, technical support teams, fleet and warehouse management services, refueling areas, and more has increased as operations have become more multifarious.
The restricted available space and the increasing cost of land may appear to limit the potential, but it is likely to create further ingenuity with the design of contemporary warehouses. New spaces are already building upward as well as outward, and this could lead to further expansions in warehouse design soon.
All these services need more space than that occupied by the warehouse, also, not to cite recreational areas for the employees, whose wellbeing is increasingly seen as fundamental to the successful functioning of the company. And all of the occurrences often have to run at all times of day, with the demands of online shopping not always sticking to the strict, regular deadlines of 9-to-5 retail shopping. Warehouse design will probably change, even more, considering the promises of automation and other technologies. No matter what happens, there is no doubt that the industry is one that is rapidly moving forward and has never been more decisive to people’s daily lives.
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