Investment into a New Build Warehouse is always going to be a substantial one, regardless of the prevailing economic climate. It is the longevity of the facility design and the return on investment over time that is important; so how do you know whether you are building the right size facility for your business needs now and in the future?
To achieve the goal of continuity and longevity, any business should question whether the investments that they make today, will still remain relevant by the standards of future progression.
It is equally undesirable to build a facility that is either too big for current requirements and/or too small for future ones and a “fear of the unknown” in some cases, is the reason companies do not progress with their freehold purchase, or even commit to longer terms on leased premises, despite the benefits. The “risk” factor can be mitigated if you have a clear business vision and can rely on your growth projections over the 5 – 10 year planning horizon.
As times change, and technology develops ever more, it is best practice, and paramount to business survival, that fundamental new trends in technology are adopted, and not brushed off simply as a disruption to the way things have always been done.
The warehouse, is the perfect example of an environment which requires early adoption of new and growing technologies and warehouse improvements, in order to maintain and improve upon existing processes, and embrace new ones; very much encouraged by ecommerce and the need created for increased automation in Distribution Centre facilities.
To ensure that your warehouse is future-proofed, the Warehouse Specialists at The Supply Chain Consulting Group offer their top tips for ensuring that your warehouse layout, design and processes are fit for purpose, not only in the present, but also for the future:
Design for the times
Don’t just plan for the present, plan for the future. Sales are migrating further away from traditional retail, and more towards e-commerce and omnichannel buyer behaviours. When designing your warehouse, it is important to consider the functionality you readily require, whilst simultaneously preparing to add functionality and business intelligence tools as and when needed.
As more and more businesses venture into selling online, to successfully plan for the future ensure that your business can use its data to an advantage. Understanding your data will better enable your business to maintain optimum stock levels, conducive to achieving long-term sales strategies. This visibility, when paired with traceability of stock (an awareness of where every individual product is at any given time), allows businesses to stay compliant and reduce waste in the event of product recall, and reverse logistics.
The future is here, the future is virtual and augmented reality. Enabling real-time monitoring of the flow of product and materials, virtual and augmented reality is now, and still stand to grow further established, as powerful tools in improving availability and productivity within the warehouse environment.
Time for Technology
Technology develops and at an exponential rate, and you need to make sure that your business can adapt to new innovations as and when they arrive. Whilst automation processes and WMS are normally present in warehouse facilities, there will always be a new piece of software or technology which your business needs to be able to adapt to, to successfully adhere to the continuity and the longevity of the business.
With the development of technology for the future of warehouses, no one person can accurately predict what the future holds; but one thing that is for certain, is by ensuring your warehouse adheres to the continual adoption of modern technologies and software, your business will be ready to adapt to new developments and changes as and when they arise.