First a driver shortage, now storage? “Not at all” says Gunnar Gburek, Company Spokesman at TimoCom
Those seeking storage space are starting to complain that it is hard to find. However, according to the German Federal Statistical Office, the number of newly built logistics facilities continues to rise. Why then is there a discrepancy between “more logistics property” and “fewer available warehouse spaces?” And why is the available warehouse space not being used to its full potential? Gunnar Gburek, TimoCom's Company Spokesman provides the answers, suggesting ways that all parties can better utilise the available space.
1. No recognition of the advantages of short-term warehouse rental
Of course, logistics service providers and their customers need long-term warehouse rentals in order to keep their fixed costs down and aid planning. But customers can also make good use of short-term storage spaces. After all, market fluctuations and the associated product peaks, which are harder to plan for, require more and more flexibility. It may be the case, for example, that the customer actually needs fewer goods than planned for, and the goods need to be delivered to another location or at a later date. Short-term warehouse rental is a good intermediate solution,
but many warehouse operators remain reluctant. Short-term rentals are often associated with high conversion costs that are not financially viable, for example because the space between shelves is not perfectly optimised. However, for short-term rentals, it is not really very important that the available shelf space be put to optimal use. Block storage may even be an option, if the rental is only for a few weeks. The market for short-term storage space is particularly attractive because, as with additional loads in the transport industry, businesses can achieve greater profit margins. Not only that, logistics service providers can use a warehouse exchange to establish new contacts and expand their own field of business.
2. Decentralised storage is not on the table
Manufacturing and trade companies generally prefer to distribute their goods from one large central warehouse in order to keep administrative work to a minimum. However, this is a recipe for lost time and flexibility. In this case, decentralised storage offers additional options: by using a warehouse exchange, products to be stored, for example chocolate Santa Clauses, can be held in their specific distribution regions. This saves on longer transports, which are becoming increasingly more expensive and hard to find considering the current lack of fvehicle space. Companies can react much faster and more flexibly at the beginning of the season, as the goods are already located close to where they will be sold.
3. Almost no one makes use of intermediate storage
Road hauliers often get stuck with their goods, and never even consider using a short-term warehouse rental to store them. That means they wait for hours, or sometimes days until the goods can be delivered. This takes up valuable time in which they make no money, and may put their next job at risk. But the problem can be used to their advantage - with a warehouse exchange. Use the exchange to find matching storage options with a logistics service provider in the area to store the goods on short notice. In the best case scenario, the service provider will even deliver the goods to the customer at the next possible delivery date, so the haulier can immediately take on a new job. After all, the driver shortage means it is simply bad business to put a driver ‘on hold’ for an indeterminate amount of time.
4. Internal information flows are inadequate
If existing storage capacity within an organisation is not advertised at short notice, it cannot be found. When it comes to larger logistics companies or networks, closed user groups can immediately solve this problem. Free space is instantly visible, and partners can pool resources to offer more or different storage options than they themselves have available. This improves competitiveness and reduces costs. Automate the whole process by using an interface to connect the warehouse administration and the warehouse exchange, and suddenly one click is enough to provide a summary of all available warehouse space across Europe. Sales employees need only look online to see where and how many spaces are available, and can thus market them quickly and without complications.
Future storage: free space on a digital map
In the future, it is possible that data on available warehouse storage spaces could be used to create a sort of map which can in turn be used in real time to find free spaces. In order to ensure that future business with logistic real estate is more efficient, storage capacities must be updated to include the latest status in regards to number, time and conditions (e.g. dry or cold storage, block storage, automated or with forklift). It is only then that customers will have a clear overview of the available space and can, just like on a freight exchange, filter for exactly the type of storage space they need.