Evolution in Warehouse Construction

August 31, 2019
Evolution in Warehouse Construction

Supply Chain Dive’s “8 ways warehouse construction has evolved” is the second article in a series looking at the major changes that continue to revolutionize warehouse facilities.

Modern warehouses tend to be larger, located in urban areas to decrease fulfillment time, offer more amenities to the staff to attract and retain workers, and handle cold storage. Online retailers are a key factor in warehouse transformation.

Video Spotlight: Behind the scenes of an Amazon warehouse

This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, 8 ways warehouse construction has evolved, by Jenn Goodman, August 8, 2019, and the YouTube video Behind the scenes of an Amazon warehouse, by Fox 13 News – Tampa Bay, November 26, 2015. Image source: PKM1/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Ask students to read both the Supply Chain Dive article, and this additional source about warehouse construction. How are the cold storage capabilities of modern warehouse design important to companies that mail prepared fresh meals to a residence?  Could those meal retailers grow without this cold storage capability on such a large scale?

Guidance: This is an easy question to get students to review the two articles and consider how cold storage plays a role in e-tailing.  Answers will vary but could lead to an interesting follow up question.  How does cold storage work for grocery store chains?  Students could conduct an internet search to see how major chains such as Safeway and Publix handle cold storage distribution.

2. What did you think about the increase in labor in modern warehouses? Will this continue to be the case for the next decade?

Guidance: Students will likely be surprised that automation has not decreased the need for more labor.  The issue is whether this is likely to remain viable as technology increases.  There are multiple possible answers.  Robot and AI development may play a role, but it could be the same issue as trying to use robots/AI to handle HVAC or plumbing work.  It may be theoretically possible, but unlikely in the next generation or longer.  This could lead to a discussion of the careers available in operating a modern warehouse for new graduates.


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