As the landscape for warehouse construction across America changes, it’s time to pay attention to what’s happening in the supply chain locally as well. From bigger warehouses becoming the norm in Southern California to automation being intrinsic on the latest warehouse designs, there’s a lot to consider as you make plans.
The base idea of warehouse construction has remained largely the same for the last few decades, but the details are becoming more critical. By ensuring that your firm and designs take the latest trends into account, you can secure your place as a key warehouse holder in your region.
1- Renovation and Repurposing
As available land in desirable areas becomes more and more limited, there is less space for the large warehouses that many require. Larger footprints near major population areas can be hard to find, but there is another option: repurposing.
Times have changed and left behind many old, defunct retail centers, office buildings, and shopping centers. While these buildings cannot be designed from the ground up without first investing in their demolition, they can be renovated into ideal warehouse space. This trend of repurposing has spread across the nation and can frequently be seen in California as well.
Repurposing vs. Demolition
Why is it beneficial to repurpose and renovate rather than knockdown and replace in some situations?
When coming to an outdated commercial space, the outer structure, resources, and land necessary for the building are already prepared. It is possible to save a lot of money by simply upgrading the space into the perfect warehouse, and there will be a lot less waste. This can be a time and money saver, depending on the end goal.
Of course, demolishing and replacing is also an option if the original structure cannot be reasonably renovated. There are cases where the foundation of the building or the layout would need to go through so many changes that demolishing is the more efficient and effective option.
Regardless, considering the location of old retail buildings when getting ready for new warehouse construction gives opportunities where others might overlook the potential.
2- Sensor-Based Innovation
Another trend to pay attention to in the world of warehouse construction is the heavy incorporation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology into the design. In the past, only tech-forward companies used to implement IoT and artificial intelligence technology. However, this has been changing for more than a decade.
Now, distribution centers and warehouses often rely on these sensors- and technology-based systems to keep up with demand, manage inventory, and decrease overhead costs. A warehouse with highly optimized IoT can ensure additional productivity while also having worker safety in mind.
Smart-capture devices that manage data at every point from loading docks to the warehouse racking ensure that things can be organized, safe, and efficiently retrieved. There is a heavy upfront investment when committing to IoT technology. However, the advanced data you receive is well worth it.
Alongside the integrated use of IoT sensor technology in warehouse design comes an increase in automation. From adding new types of automated pallet retrievers to robots that pack shipments, there are many ways that automation is increasing in the warehouse.
Warehouse designers know this, and their focus is finding ways to make automated storage and retrieval technology a safe and effective part of their designs. Increased automation requires a huge increase in safety parameters as well. A lot of safety protocols can be built into the design of the building instead of being added later to streamline the business.
Designing warehouses with IoT and AI tech in mind can get complicated. Therefore, it’s key to have the right mindset if you plan to incorporate technology. The warehouse can only be safe and efficient if designed properly; invest in ensuring the plans are solid from the ground up.
3- Warehouses Get Bigger
You can always find large warehouse areas on the edges of every one of California’s metropolitan areas. Interestingly, there’s one big commonality to be found between them. Online sellers, manufacturers, and other distributors are looking towards larger warehouses than ever before.
From big expansions to new builds, space is the name of the game.
Industry leaders are seeking huge warehouses with high ceilings and the latest technology to keep up with national demand for their products. Worrying that they will fall behind, e-commerce companies are seeking new ways to expand their warehouses.
One trend that has had mixed feedback within the industry is building vertically rather than expanding horizontally. Most companies prefer to spreading out by purchasing additional warehouse space or adding more locations. Still, some companies have found that higher ceilings and additional levels can work for their business goals.
For example, warehouses typically built with 20-ft ceilings are now subject to renovation to have 40-ft ceilings. This additional space allows for taller storage but also requires new tech to store and move inventory safely.
Building up is especially popular in areas with highly confined space, such as cities around shipping ports. Others still prefer to build out into neighboring spaces or new land parcels. The bottom line remains the same in either case: larger warehouses are in.
4- Green Design
State and national laws continue to encourage the use and benefits of green design, and warehouse developers are taking notice. Some aspects of green design are a requirement in California, while others have simply become the norm.
Companies are seeking a variety of energy-saving designs as they create new warehouses. Engineers use innovation to include many green ideas:
- Solar energy
- Energy-efficient roofing
- Green lighting (i.e., LED bulbs, lights-out warehouses)
- Earth-conscious building materials
All of these green building practices, as well as many more, are huge in warehouse construction. They continue to be adopted at increasing rates for a variety of reasons.
First, the generations taking over positions of authority grew up more familiar with the idea of a green business. They are now taking steps to implement changes. Second, green companies are gaining loyalty among shoppers. Therefore, focusing on building a green supply chain can have major financial returns.
Emila is a freelance journalist with a love for real estate, property trends, and construction. Her inclination towards nature has made her take up a lot of challenging assignments in the subject of “landscape” and also has made her initiate writing blogs. She has published on sites such as Alure, RealtyExecutives, and Bigger Pockets.