When the pandemic hit, companies started relying heavily on e-commerce to sell products. Statista project sales to rise to $563B within the next few year (compared to 2017’s $285B). To stay competitive and meet customer demand, businesses are expanding their footprint by adding new warehouses.
We tend to think of warehouses as vast buildings with large amounts of square feet (SF). A million SF building has become more prevalent over the past decade. Large spaces have their drawbacks, however, such as longer travel which lowers cycle times. An alternative solution is vertical expansion which increases storage in smaller spaces. Businesses are finding that vertical storage warehouses can increase profitability and save on long term operating costs.
Good Design Affects Productivity
SEA Studios understands that an efficient design results in easier access to products; resulting in higher productivity and faster cycle times. The layout of a vertical storage warehouse is the most crucial component of the design. To design the layout, the team will need a clear understanding of the business. This includes the amount of employees working within the facility, their roles, the racking system, the level of automation, and all components of the automated system. This will ensure the equipment is laid out in a continuous flow to maximize productivity.
There are additional features to boost productivity. Centrally located toilets within the warehouse lessens travel time for employees. Studies suggest natural light heightens concentration. Installing skylights allows light to penetrate deeper into the warehouse. This also lowers energy consumption. Adding extra insulation helps control year-round temperature, and reduces moisture and energy bills.
When it comes to height, vertical warehouses can be up to 100FT tall (approximately 7 stories). Exterior wall options are tilt-up, precast concrete, steel with metal panels or prefabricated walls.
If location is important for your business. existing warehouses have the potential for vertical expansion. A structural engineer will need to assess the building prior to the design.
Automated Vertical Storage Warehouse
There are different levels of automation in a vertical storage warehouse. From fully automated to limited optimization. Equipment will be needed to retrieve products from high heights.
This all sounds great, but there are initial investment costs. The largest cost being the level of automation. The good news? Vertical storage warehouses can be built on an array of budgets. Owners can choose to have limited automation and still benefit from vertical storage. The racking system alone, optimizes storage space, in turn increasing product availability.
Would Expanding Vertically Be Right For Your Business?
With e-commerce sales on the rise. Vertical storage warehouses are one solution to staying competitive. Palatable products, such as CPG (consumer product goods) are a good fit for vertical storage.
These warehouses can fit into an array of budgets, depending on the level of automation. A fully automated warehouse will have a higher budget than having a racking system with minimal equipment.
As mentioned above, existing warehouses can be vertically expanded. There is an extensive amount of work to be completed and the cost reflects this. At minimum the warehouse’s structure will need to be braced and roof removed. With the addition of interior support and steel beams to increase the height.
If you’re interested in speaking to us about vertical storage warehouses, let’s connect.