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What’s trending in warehouse design?

June 2019
A warehouse design needs to maximise the utility of space and equipment, so that warehousing operations can be optimised, thus achieving maximum efficiency. “The dimensions and characteristics of warehouse infrastructure play a huge role in deciding the layout structure inside a warehouse,” says Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Chairman & Managing Director, Hiranandani Communities & GreenBase. “These features impact the design of shelves, capacity of the installations and the distribution of the goods inside the warehouse.” He adds that a leakproof roofing system with insulation material, well-designed ventilation system, super-flat floors, internal docking and a robust fire-protection system provide a proper environment for the purpose of storing goods and materials that require protection from unavoidable elements. Wider truck docking aprons to cater to larger truck sizes, more truck dock positions for faster throughput, integrated logistics parks with shared infrastructure and amenities, designated truck parking areas and restrooms for drivers are other aspects that need consideration.

There is a huge demand for large-format, modern, Grade-A warehousing spaces with ample clear heights, optimised column spacing, flat and super-flat floors designed to support high cube racking, high dock-door ratios and extensive concrete truck courts. In the view of Rajesh Jaggi, Managing Partner, Real Estate, Everstone Group, this allows for abundant creativity in laying out the plant and equipment. It also provides for easier movement within buildings. “We have also observed a growing interest for built-to-suit warehouses for companies that want their facilities to be completely customised as per global specifications, including warehouses with refrigeration rooms or automation,” he adds.

Clients now generally ask for 12 m of clear height for warehouses at eaves (below services), observes Aditya Virwani, COO, Embassy Group. “With more automation, FM2 flooring requirements have increased. Last is better lighting. Sustainability in lighting has always been one of the most popular requirements as the percentage of energy attributed to lighting a facility is quite high.”

The smart warehouse model
In warehousing, Amazon is known for pioneering the smart warehouse model; therefore, this concept is at times referred to as the Amazon Effect. According to a Knight Frank report, a smart warehouse is one where all gadgets and devices are connected to each other via the Internet (Internet of Things). They are also referred to as intelligent warehouses or warehouses that think. Robotics and automation are widely used in such setups. Amazon Kiva is a mobile robotic fulfilment system that tremendously increases efficiency in warehousing operations.

Around 15,000 such robots have been deployed in Amazon’s latest Fulfilment Centres across the US. Amazon remains the torchbearer in the contemporary logistics space and continues to redefine and push the limits of the online selling business.

SERAPHINA D’SOUZA

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