The Flexible Distribution Facilities of the Future - Global Trade Magazine
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  April 18th, 2018 | Written by

The Flexible Distribution Facilities of the Future

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  • Hybrid distribution facilities are the future.
  • Future distribution facilities have ecommerce distribution center, customer pick up, and service center capabilities.
  • Maintaining modern distribution facilities is a top concern for companies and economic and real estate developers.

In today’s digital economy where same-day shipping has become the norm, modern distribution technology stresses on quick production in the fastest and most efficient way possible, and new innovative engineering solutions and automated processes can put distribution facilities years ahead of the competition. It’s becoming more apparent than ever that hybrid distribution facilities are the future, complete with ecommerce distribution center, customer pick up, and service center capabilities.

Maintaining modern distribution facilities continues to be a top concern for companies, economic developers and real estate developers as increased freight traffic and urban blight continue to pose challenges for communities. To keep up with industry and community changes, there is a growing need to shift from the current model of building a single-purpose facility to one that is dynamic and can easily adapt to market condition changes. The DesignFlex2030 initiative sought out to make these flexible distribution facilities a reality.

The Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) has released, “Roadmap for Change: The Flexible Distribution Facilities of the Future,” the fourth whitepaper in the DesignFlex2030 initiative. The new white paper outlines creative and practical suggestions on how to create a more connected, productive, and flexible network of distribution facilities as disruptive trends permanently alter supply chains in the future. These facilities can be repurposed quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively for rapid scale-up and scale-down, technological change, scientific breakthroughs, and process innovation.

Some of the top facility recommendations include creating a of hyperlocal urban resource center and mixed-use development with the warehouse component situated beneath residential and office space. Other key aspects of next-generation design and best practices for future distribution facilities include:

>Global manufacturing centers with multi-modal freight shipping and receiving options.

>Regional intermodal facilities with high-efficiency container movement, all-electric vehicles and intelligent automation.

>Multifunctional sites featuring showroom, repair center, assembly, and 3-D printing capabilities for additive manufacturing.

>New network connection to a web of multiple fixed and mobile facilities, varying in size, shape, function, and scope, strategically located at various points along the logistics journey between OEM.

>Emphasis in optimizing routes and modes to get product from manufacturer to end user quicker, faster, and cheaper than anyone else.