Mezzanines, e-commerce and the “last mile”

E-commerce is still showing important growth figures every year, despite the crisis. Proof of this is that, in many European countries, up to 40% of surface area devoted to warehouses and logistics centres is due to the needs generated by e-commerce.

This is also confirmed in the United States where the logistics needs of e-commerce are one of the main driving forces in the demand for land for industrial use. For its part, Latin America, which started out from a worse position as regards percentage of Internet connections and annual turnover, is experiencing one of the fastest growths in the world and growth figures of even more than 50% are expected in some Latin America countries.

But e-commerce is also putting more and more pressure on delivery times, which means that urban logistics have a very important role to play. This means that not only is more warehouse space required but also that the warehouses are located near the urban centres where the “last mile” in the supply chain is.

The “last mile”

The “last mile” refers to the last link in the supply chain, from the last distribution centre to final delivery at the customer’s address, usually in the urban area.

In this last stretch, economies of scale cannot now be used and, despite representing a short distance, its impact on costs can be proportionally very high. The costs of customers’ returns have also to be added to this.

Therefore, the design of high density warehouses such as self-supporting warehouses with stacker cranes is becoming more and more necessary. But in warehouses focussed on urban logistics, where the location may come first, and where there are probably fewer square metres available, the possible solution to be able to increase space could be mezzanines and multi-tier racking.

The high demands of e-commerce

Warehouse need a more and more agile response faced with a demand from e-commerce which can be generating new orders at any time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This means that handling tasks have to be optimised as much as possible by introducing automated warehouses and applying new technologies to speed up the manual picking tasks with systems such as pick to light picking.

ATOX Storage Systems, manufacturing leader in metal racking, with a consolidated international presence, designs and adapts industrial racking solutions to the specific needs of its customers with experience in internationalisation which enables it to efficiently undertake the new needs for racking in warehouses, from metal pallet racking and space extension solutions such as mezzanines to picking racking and racking for special loads such as cantilever racking.