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.
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, security risks of trailer theft or break-ins, staffing the trailer, etc.