Are you ready to build the warehouse of the future?
The already robust warehouse construction market is showing no signs of slowing down. But to meet clients’ needs, contractors will have to be ready to deliver new models of distribution centers, uncommon property conversions and the designs and infrastructure needed to support robotics, autonomous vehicles and other advanced technologies.
Those are some of the findings of “The Evolution of the Warehouse: Trends in Technology, Design, Development and Delivery” by the NAIOP Research Foundation.
Despite any thoughts that e-commerce has already arrived, the report stresses that industry is just getting rolling. “JLL estimates that the U.S. alone may need another 1 billion square feet of warehouse space by 2025 to meet expanding demand from e-commerce.”
That growth will include spaces with distinct, diverse and currently uncommon characteristics. Here’s a few cited in the report:
New Warehouse Types: The need to provide last-mile distribution in urban areas (with little available land) is prompting some companies to create mini, micro or nano distribution centers that range from 12,000 square feet down to as little as 600 square feet. Those industrial spaces are being creating by transforming a variety of existing, underutilized space – flex space, empty retail pads, portions of malls, Class B office space, even underground parking garages.
Robots, Autonomous Vehicles and Big Data: The rapid growth of e-commerce is challenging companies to find sufficient workers and fulfill ever-increasing numbers of orders. To boost efficiency, companies are turning increasingly to technology – robotic picker systems, automated forklifts, autonomous yard trucks (to move containers to and from loading docks) and big data systems to optimize inventory management, order fulfillment and shipping. That is requiring construction teams to deliver bigger electrical and data service to buildings, install rooftop solar and support the installation of high-tech warehouse systems.