How technology is transforming warehouse and logistics spaces

Know the 9 attributes that are redefining industrial properties today

March 12, 2020

Industrial vacancies continue to fall alongside rising operating cost sand shrinking availabilities of prime land parcels. The continued growth of e-commerce, last mile delivery, and warehousing are driving significant demand for industrial properties, and spurring innovation in how the assets are built and utilized.

Optimization is the prime focus of newer facility attributes today, with leading warehouses concentrated on improving storage, speed of picking and room for growth. Here we detail the nine most promising amenities standing to make the largest impact:

1.       Wireless technology and real time tracking

Warehouse operators are utilizing remote information tech to aid in all aspects of modern warehousing, from radios to automated guided vehicles. Real time data allows users to keep track of inventory in terms of receiving, layout, picking, loading, and shipping. Using wireless and radio frequencies, real-time data is even transmitted directly to tablets and mobile devices.

2.       A hyper-connected facility

In a hyper-connected warehouse, the matrix of operating systems is laid out in a highly advanced system to accommodate higher levels of technology, allowing for a variety of plug-ins and advances. Today, there’s bandwidth for technologies like barcoding, Internet of Things, RFID scanning, GPS, load optimization and additional modernization as it evolves. With this tech in place logistical decisions can be more quickly deployed, controlled and analyzed.

3.       The new forklift

Forklifts, a key aspect of the industrial industry, are modernizing too. Alternative fuel systems, increased energy efficiency, automation and mobility are all redefining how we look at the machines.

4.      Growing clear heights

In efforts to optimize warehouse utilization, demand for higher building clear heights is growing. As picking tech continues to become more prevalent, clear heights are steadily increasing due to automation, advances in fire suppression technology and lighting capacity, among others. 7 to 8 meters clear heights in the 1990s has grown to 10 to 12 meters today.

5.      Picking tech, picking up speed

Revolutionary picking trends are changing how employees experience warehouses, from multi-lingual voice picking and augmented reality to specialized robots. Automated ‘goods to person’ technology stands to make the largest impact today. Automated robots or shuttles handle the bulk horizontal travel, and leave the complex picking and sorting bit to humans. These new picking technologies not only increase productivity but also span across language barriers and skillsets, enabling a diverse workforce to participate.

6.       Sustainability, making strides

Carbon neutral, net zero, green, ‘off-grid’, whichever term you prefer – the trend is sweeping across the world. Industrial buildings are making strides in energy efficiency not only planet Earth, but also their bottom lines. Solar panels, LED lighting, cool roof systems, thermal glass, clerestory windows, packing efficiencies and many more techniques are leading the industry into a new age of green tech. These new systems require atypical power requirements that developers have never seen.

7.       Human centric design

Modern warehouses are placing a growing importance on workers’ quality of life by implementing new measures – proper lighting, air quality sensors and temperature control are a few examples. Improving the working environment, facilities and employee health not only reduce labor turn over but facility issues as well

8.       When it comes to land-flexibility is the name game

Warehousing is a dynamic environment – industrial tenants, especially larger ones, are demanding the ability to leverage additional land if the business need arises, seasonally or otherwise. Use the flex land can vary from additional truck storage up to physical building expansions to complement the tenant’s business needs.

9.       Super flat to sloped

Warehouses today are turning toward specialized flooring to achieve greater efficiencies. To enable highly precise robotized picking and racking tech to operate properly, warehouse floors need to be exceptionally flat. Alternatively, facilities are installing purposefully sloped floors to assist in moving goods inbound and outbound.