Till around 6 years back the warehouses were designed to meet the operations of supply chain which were more or less very much defined. The operations in a warehouse were so much predictable that even without much knowledge about the exact operation which is going to take place in warehouse you could work out a tentative design which used to be purely on the basis of material volume supposed to be stored and despatched from the warehouse. Then the e-commerce evolution started with a fast pace in India and it had its impact on the way warehouse operations were being handled in India and the phenomenon started to grow. It grew in B2B as well as B2C and we started to witness creation of fulfilment centres. Subsequently, the continued growth in e-commerce in India necessitated creation of more fulfilment centres and return processing facilities.
In india the market has always been competitive and has now become even more competitive with e-commerce companies extending the lowest price offer for most of their products. Companies which operated through their own warehouses and distribution centres shifted their attention towards creation of warehousing facilities which would be more efficient and cost effective and it is translating into closure of buildings and operations which were not efficient.
Future Trends and Design Consideration
Future warehouses would be designed to meet the final objective of fastest and safest last mile delivery at the most competitive price.
In the run up to becoming fastest service providers, companies are looking deep into their operations and doing the data analysis to explore category of inventories which can be handled through stockless depots, transhipment centres and cross-dock operations.
Also being closer to the consumer will cut down on the response time and reach time to them. To bring manufacturing closer to consumer, more very practical approach would be creation of large warehouses attached to the largest factory of the region and which can also work as regional distribution centres. To make port-centric logistics more efficient, warehouses would be located close to the ports of entry.
Rail Network promises to be more cost competitive with substantial cut down on transport cost, transport time and damages to goods, linkages to rail and canal networks will be explored more seriously and warehouse design would be required to incorporate all such considerations.
Eco friendly operations are now fast becoming part of essential norms and future warehouses would be expected to be carbon positive and it means they would be having their own means of power generation, be it solar or wind, and may also convert waste into power and all such utilities would be part of design considerations.
On the lines of shared taxi services and car pool services, greater collaboration within the supply chain is expected to lead to an increase in shared-user operations and all such possibilities will be explored by the companies before they decide to start on investing in operations in their own warehouses.