Warehousing Trend: Use Trailers

Warehousing Trend: Use Trailers

February 26, 2019

Trailers seem to be the next trend in warehousing. It costs 50% less than brick-and-mortar to use trailers as storage space.  The issue is that trailers are only able to help with pallet inventory.

They’re not feasible for some businesses. E-commerce operations require larger brick-and-mortar footprints for picking operations.

Trailers do offer several benefits:  temporary storage to expand capacity, mobile operations as trailers can support inventory surges wherever needed, and utility in reverse logistics.

This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Are trailers the next big warehousing trend?, by Gary Wollenhaupt, February 12, 2019. Image source: Prasit photo/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How could a company determine the optimum number of trailers to own?

Guidance: Review the capacity cushion concept; this question can help to stimulate discussion about capacity cushion planning.  Students should recognize that the trailers are supplementary to brick-and-mortar operations.  Trailers could represent storage capacity cushion for a company.

2. What are the limitations to using trailers for reverse logistics?

Guidance: Possible limitations could include lack of space for a trailer at a retail location such as a mall, items that may require special handling for safety, Continue reading

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Drones in the Warehouse

Drones in the Warehouse

September 7, 2018

Digital inventory management in warehouses is made possible by “plug-and-play aerial robots”.  Warehouse drones can be trained to scan and track inventory much faster than humans.

The resulting inventory information is uploaded to the cloud for warehouse/inventory management synchronization.  With better inventory tracking at warehouses, inventory moves faster throughout the supply chain, adding values to companies that invest in digital inventory management technology.


Video Spotlight: Digital Inventory – PINC


Businesses are exploring drone use throughout the supply chain. Check out previous OM in the News posts about last-mile delivery and medical deliveries to geographically isolated regions.

This post is based on the Supply Chain 24/7 article, Can Warehouse Robots Help You Manage Inventory Better?, by Matt Yearling, July 14, 2018; and the YouTube video, Digital Inventory – PINC, by PINC, May 16, 2018. Image sources: Getty Images/iStockphoto, ©DreamPictures/Blend Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the operational benefits of digital inventory management?

Guidance: A list of benefits are included in the article, including 24/7 operation, faster scanning, higher accuracy, reduction of operational expenses, improvement on employee safety, better understanding of inventory levels, and faster inventory movement throughout the supply chain. Students may identify other Continue reading

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