Warehouses are in an exciting era where design and innovation are shaping the industry for the better. Technology, productivity, and sustainability are a few of the main driving factors.
Warehouses should embrace the wave of the future that is sweeping through the industry, rather than be bound by the chains of the past. Below are a few of the clever ways business warehouses are embracing the change through design and innovation.
Innovative warehouse design improves productivity
One of the common issues warehouses face is the risk of running out of storage space. When warehouses reach the point that they do, they will either have to place stock outside or consider moving their warehouse to another location. Warehouses can leverage pallet racking systems, such as those provided by National Storage Solutions to increase the storage and floor space for their warehouse. This includes using vertical pallet racks, as well as creating mezzanine floor levels.
Warehouses are doing their bit to become more environmentally friendly. Warehouse managers have been clever to implement environmentally friendly processes and technology at their warehouse. Some innovations include:
Design and innovation through the implementation of eco-friendly lighting solutions
Effective lighting solutions can save a warehouse up to 50% on their lighting costs. Clever uses of skylights in the warehouse’s roof can provide the illumination needs of the warehouse.
Here is an example of one of the skylight solutions that warehouses are using.
Additionally, energy efficient fluorescent lighting fixtures such as T5s have been a great solution for warehouses that require artificial lighting. A great example of a company that has adopted eco-friendly initiatives to their warehouse is Coca-Cola.
Coca Cola’s distribution warehouse is set up to bring natural light into the distribution center, reducing the need to rely on artificial lighting. In the image below, you can see how ‘daylighting’ solutions used at their distribution center.
Improved transportation routes
Distribution centers have been considering warehouse locations that will make their transportation routes more efficient. The proximity of the warehouse to its distribution points has the greatest impact on sustainability. Warehouse managers that are in charge of logistics should look at locations closer to ports and customers to save on local transportation energy consumption. Additionally, the types of vehicles that the business invests in will also have an impact on the environment.
Recycling, reusing or repurposing
These are the 3 most important R-words in warehousing when it comes to sustainability. Warehouse managers are forecasting the environmental impacts and eco-friendly initiatives to recycle, reuse or repurpose any products internally or externally to minimize the environmental impact. Items such as second-hand pallet racks, boxes, warehouse equipment and pallets are just a few of the items that can be considered.
Build a smarter warehouse with technology
Every warehouse strives to improve its operational efficiency. Technology and materials handling innovation have become important catalysts in the evolution of smarter warehouses. Warehouses need to leverage technology that can give them access to actionable information that can be used in real-time. It is the cornerstone of having an intelligent warehouse. Identify whether your staff needs to have access to mobile technology such as smartphones, tablets or other wearable technology. Additionally, software solutions that can give warehouse managers a 360-degree view of customers, orders, and inventory, as well as systemize and automate warehouse processes.
Warehouses can explore different warehouse management systems (WMS) that can keep their warehouse intricately connected and allow the warehouse to optimize accordingly.
The warehousing industry is undergoing dynamic changes. Centers that embrace and adopt the changes early should benefit from reduced costs, better operational efficiency, warehouse operational profits and a leader when it comes to minimizing their warehouse’s impact on the environment.