In the warehousing industry, we’re all still reeling from the one-two punch of COVID-19 and the global supply chain disruption. Yet, with every great shake-up comes great innovation. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.
With that said, what are the inventions born out of the recent necessity to evolve the way we think about warehousing solutions? We thought we’d dive into the emerging trends in warehouse design and show you how to apply them to your own business needs.
Smaller, On-Demand Warehousing in Urban Centers
“If you build it, they will come.” No, we’re not talking about a baseball field in the middle of nowhere. Instead, we’re speaking of “leasing” your unused warehousing space to business owners in need of a piecemeal storage solution. Think of on-demand warehousing as an Airbnb business model applied to warehouse space. This space can be located anywhere, but we see a prevalence of this leasable space in urban centers, which could change the way small businesses in cities get their goods.
Automation Increases Productivity & Accuracy
Warehousing is no stranger to automation; it’s something that Amazon has been long in perfecting. At this point, a robot can do pretty much everything that a human does, but do it around the clock, and do it cheaper and more accurately.
Does this mean warehouse workers are out of jobs? Not entirely, there will always be a need for a specialized human element in a warehouse. While the hard, menial work might go away, we’ll still need people running the show. Even forklifts can be automated these days. Think about it from the perspective of a warehouse manager; fewer feet on the floor mean fewer accidents, especially around material handling equipment.
Innovators Are Raising the Ceiling on Warehousing (Literally)
Building up rather than out can save space, especially if you want to build a warehouse in an urban center where square footage comes at a premium. As we begin to automate and innovate the way we receive, process, and pick goods, vertical warehousing becomes much more achievable. A future warehouse may be centralized amid a city center where it’s needed most but built tall and narrow to use the least amount of space possible.
Sustainable, Green Warehousing Has Never Been More Popular
Green building standards have improved immensely in the last decade. In states like California, you’re required to follow some of those standards by law. Things like rooftop solar panels and LED lighting seem like small steps toward more sustainable warehousing, but they’re huge. Let’s be honest; warehouses are big. Their sheer size makes them power-hungry buildings. When you use energy-efficient LED lighting and source your power from the sun, then you’re doing a lot to lower the carbon footprint of your building.
Air Handling is a Huge Priority
Temperature and humidity have always been a priority with warehousing. Leaving those things to chance can spoil the goods you’re storing, or at the very least reduce their shelf life. However, with COVID-19 changing the way we think about indoor air, air handling has never been more on our minds.
HVAC systems that keep your warehouse workers healthy will be a priority. Any warehouse that can tout this feature will undoubtedly find better productivity and morale, more contracts from clients, and have an easier time hiring and retaining employees.