The warehouse of the future: looking ahead to 2025

In January, 2014 the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics published its most recent report, in which they analysed the latest trends in material handling and logistics which will determine what warehouses will be like in 2025.

E-commerce

E-commerce, growing every year despite the crisis, is one of the main factors that have already changed modern logistics and will continue doing so for the next few years. The logistics sector, which in recent years has made a great effort to achieve guaranteed delivery times of just one or two days for the end user, now finds itself in a situation where it has to go after even more demanding objectives, with delivery times on the same day and even some hours after the order has been placed. A scenario which barely a few years ago would have been unthinkable is now expected to be the norm within the next ten years.

This will make it essential to have more warehouse space or resort to metal racking designed to provide more space, such as mezzanines and multi-tier racking. And there will be even greater demands on material handling efficiency through warehouse automation, the optimisation of picking tasks and the implementation of new technologies applied to warehouse systems.

The Physical Internet

The Physical Internet (PI) is an initiative which is now being researched in Europe, The United States and Canada. Using the Internet network that we all know and in which digital information is handled as a model, the aim is to transfer the same concept to a network of physical goods. The same as on the Internet, an open platform based on standards and protocols will be developed which will enable the resources and logistics costs to be optimised. This, for example, will introduce a standard for containers which enables them to be used like Physical Internet packets (similar to the Internet data packets), supported by the new traceability technologies, such as Smart Tags.

With this approach, it is calculated that global logistics costs can be reduced by about 30% and greenhouse effect emissions by about 60%.

The economic potential of the logistics sector

The logistics sector, including the whole supply chain from transport to internal logistics and the metal racking systems for warehouses, is one of the sectors which has most impact on a country’s economy. It is calculated that in the United States alone 10% of all new jobs created in the next few years will be related to logistics and material handling.

This growth potential is being taken into account by all the countries which are looking towards the future. And in Spain we are trying to go in the same direction with initiatives such as the Logistics Sector Law.

ATOX Storage Systems, market leader in manufacturing top quality metal racking, has a wide range of solutions for industrial shelving which enables internal logistics operations to be optimised, both in palletizing tasks by means of automated warehouses, dynamic pallet racking and push back pallet racking and in picking tasks by means of dynamic picking racking and miniload picking and the research and development of new systems to speed up the material handling tasks, which enable warehouses to get adapted to the new trends and demands of the market with a view to the future.