What your logistics centre should look like today to be ready for tomorrow
As experts in the creation of durable, removable logistic centres, at VALL, we like to keep up to date with trends in this sector, that is increasingly booming.
In fact, it has been the pandemic that has accelerated the development of this sector, which is strongly emerging on the national and international economic scene. COVID-19 has unleashed a voracious increase in online orders. A trend that has come to stay.
Working from home begins to consolidate timidly and homing has been unleashed (everything has to be done at home and everything must be able to get home). Home orders have increased in an unstoppable way and same-day delivery has become an unstoppable trend.
Many small companies have closed in recent months due to the slowdown in face-to-face purchases. But many other physical stores have simply turned into small warehouses (dark stores) that make up an agile and close logistics structure.
In the coming months, surely, microhubs (mini-distribution warehouses integrated into city neighborhoods) and ticket offices for collecting orders will proliferate in the urban environment.
But, in addition, by working from home, many people decide to leave the city to move to rural areas and improve their lifestyle. And in that step, the logistics sector is the protagonist. Only a good logistics sector can give access to all the products and services available in large urban centres within the reach of low population density areas.
This is, for example, the purpose of the latest facilities that Amazon has built in Spain, all of them in the form of a removable industrial warehouse. To facilitate access to fast services in «forgotten» Spain, with a type of warehouse much cheaper than traditional construction. And thus cover a growing market niche.
This type of removable and transformable building also shows great advantages when it comes to overcoming the great environmental challenge posed by its growth in the logistics sector: being able to provide the best service with the least possible pollution.
If you are thinking of creating, updating or replacing your own fulfillment centre, we detail what you must take into account if you do not want to become obsolete before your time.
Get familiar with new technologies and automation
People will continue to be protagonists in the work that takes place in logistics centres. However, to be truly agile and efficient, you must have technology adapted to your specific needs, be it Artificial Intelligence, robotics, digitisation or even magnetic repulsion for the floating transfer of large loads.
An example of this trend would be the case of Amazon and its Amazon Robotics stations. Buildings that integrate an interconnected network of robots (or drives) that move along the ground through the reading of QR codes. They know exactly where each shelf (or pod) is and the products it contains. And they are capable of lifting an entire rack weighing more than 1,000 kg and taking it to the employee at its own station.
But we also have national benchmarks in technology applied to logistics. The household appliance manufacturer Taurus Group, for example, is introducing, in its facilities in Lleida, an AI self-management system capable of radio-frequency monitoring of all references and online control systems to improve its distribution chain.
And Seur, in its new centre in Illescas, has integrated Pick to light and Put lo light technology, with a dynamic shelving system that minimises movements in the warehouse and eliminates delivery notes.
However, of all the technological advances that are taking place at this time, surely the most consolidated is the digitisation of systems and processes.
The main objective of this is to minimise the exchange of physical documents. Or at least this has been the great objective in the digitisation processes during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which any contact or exchange could pose a health risk. But the truth is that this digitisation creates an environment of great transparency between all the members and agents involved in the supply chain, including the customer. A system that provides greater visibility to the entire process, in real time, improving the management of agents and customer experience.
Get up to speed with Big Data
But removable industrial warehouses not only do not generate debris during their production and assembly, when they are no longer needed, they don’t turn into rubble either as all its parts are reusable.
It is precisely the relevance of Big Data and Data Analysis that was discussed at the II Port Logistics Technology Forum, held this January in the Port of Alicante. The assisting experts assure that Big Data is the great boost that logistic activity needs to improve management processes and service quality.
By collecting the Big Data of all merchandise and information flows, both inbound and outbound, many patterns relating to the supply chain, tax management, international market flows and many other areas can be modeled to improve the business’ efficiency and performance.
Companies such as the rice brand Nomen, the manufacturer of baby food and jams Hero España and Cerealto Siro take advantage of the analysis of their data to improve their demand’s forecasting and planning.
Coca-Cola European Partners has gone one step further, by integrating the analysis into its digitised TMS system, so that it can make decisions in the event of possible service incidents.
But Big Data will not only allow us to improve service and processes. According to Gabino Diego, Founding CEO of Logytalent.com, it will also help us in the detection of Talent to fill jobs in the logistics sector, which will be increasingly specialised and technological.
Always watch over the environment
It is one of the most growing social values. And the European Community is pushing hard to take the right steps towards a sustainable industry. For this reason, we will hear more and more about “Green Logistics”.
Here in Spain, Illescas Green Park is the best reference for this trend. An industrial estate that is integrated into the environment and that aspires to become the first in Spain with 0 emissions.
In fact, reducing emissions is the most relevant step that is being taken in this regard. And for this, the main step companies take is to change to electric vehicles or that use alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, to minimise their carbon footprint. Energy performance is also substantially improved by planning routes, grouping orders and reducing routes. These are measures that companies such as Ñaming, Diquesí, Vicky Foods o KH Lloreda. have already adopted. This last company also combines its new fleet of sustainable vehicles with the management of its waste.
It is the other area that is being given great relevance: the management and reduction of polluting waste. A good example of this would be Golden Foods, whose head of logistics is, neither more nor less, than its own environmental director. The food company optimises its supply chain continuously to reduce its own waste.
The third great step towards a sustainable industry can be found in the logistic buildings themselves. Like the new Seur facilities in Illescas Green Park. A building that has, among other details, clean photovoltaic energy and its own cistern that supplies its own fire-fighting system.
This is surely the strong point that in VALL we offer to our clients: removable industrial buildings that reduce pollution in the manufacturing and assembly processes. With levels of environmental impact much lower than those of conventional construction. Buildings that also favor the use of natural light and allow highly insulating finishes for the preservation of optimal temperatures.
The possibilities of our industrial buildings allow us to optimise the installation of all kinds of robotics and technology in a wide and completely open space, without obstacles. A state-of-the-art logistics centre, which you can move, expand or reduce without generating a relevant impact on the environment. This ensures the comfort of the employees, the safety of the equipment, the evolution of the market and the protection of the environment.