7 Facts About Warehouses That Might Surprise You

Posted By  |  May 10, 2016


The logistics industry is one that’s sometime filled with mystery to the public since it’s such a behind-the-scenes environment. Even businesses contracting with warehouses occasionally lose communication out of assumption that logistics works on automatic pilot.

While proper communication between businesses and warehouses is another story, your own distribution center may not realize many facts about what the logistics industry entails. You’ll find some surprising things you perhaps haven’t paid attention to, only because you never asked.

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Here are 7 facts about warehouses that might surprise you.

1. The Growing Size of Warehouse Space

Many years ago, most warehouses were less than 10,000 square feet, but today’s more complex demands required bigger facilities. Currently, statistics show around 64% of all U.S. warehouses are over 25,000 square feet – with some going as large as 100,000 square feet or more – while only 37% of all warehouses have space less than 25,000 square feet.

A good portion of new warehouses sprang up in the last 20 years, which makes sense considering customer demand for faster product delivery is increasing. This collective growth now makes up 3 billion square feet of warehouse space across the entire country.

2. Value-Added Services Are Now More Mainstream

Another example of how fast warehouses keep evolving are services expectations. What many considered special services a decade ago are now more common and are often expected. Reducing customer order times, simplifying return processes and increasing shipment accuracy are examples of things customers demand.

In many cases, increasing these aspects by just a few percentage points can add more value to the customer. The value of goods in warehouses ultimately gets based on customer perception and subtle services bettering a competitor. Using an integrated warehouse management, customer relationship and financial system can give you real-time data on orders and inventory levels that will allow your business to deliver on these expectations.

3. Reusable Packaging Brings More Benefits

Statistics show 4% of all produce shipped in dispensable containers sustain damage. In contrast, reusable containers only sustain damage 0.1% of the time. This statistic might surprise you, though it shouldn’t since green technology is already a priority for many companies and warehouses.

We still haven’t seen reusable containers become mainstream, though once they do, the savings for warehouses will likely become exponential. Currently disposable containers cost $87 million in waste. Reusable containers could reduce this to a mere $2.5 million.

4. Same-Day Delivery is a Growing Demand

Evidence shows customer willingness to wait a week for a delivery is dipping steadily. In 2012 it was 50%, and two years later it went down to 35%. As a result, same-day delivery is a growing prospect in all warehouses. It’s already a reality through Amazon, and this sets off the path toward using drones for delivering products.

Your own warehouse perhaps doesn’t do same-day deliveries yet for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, demand is going to force many warehouses to consider local same-day deliveries, and continue to expand in the future.

5. Outsourced Logistics Provides More Competitive Advantages

Many in the industry say outsourcing logistics is the best way to gain the most competitive advantage. They show evidence of this in how much it can save in time, money and strategic focus.

In the past, many companies attempted to take on the supply chain on their own. Now with competition being more intense, outsourcing supply chain weaknesses to experts has become a critical piece to a more competitive company. With the correct business software in place, you can utilize outsourced logistics and ensure complete visibility at every stage of the supply chain.

6. Truck Drivers Are the Most Depended On for Shipping Goods

Delivery methods are a vital part of warehouse success. Statistics show trucks deliver 70% of all freight annually, which equals $671 billion of manufactured or retailed goods. It’s worth reminding ourselves to give some respect to truckers on our roadways considering they’re likely delivering things we’ll consume days or weeks later.

7. Safety in Warehouses

It’s shocking how many accidents occur in warehouses. Many statistics call out various situations that should never happen, yet still do because of lax safety measures. For instance, 15% of all accidents in warehouses are due to slipping or falling, equaling 95 million lost work days. Forklift accidents are some of the most common accidents as well, as well as general lifting and stretching that often cause severe physical injuries.

With just a minor infraction from OSHA costing $7,000, it’s surprising more strict procedures aren’t put in place. As such, it’s a reminder to work out a comprehensive safety plan in your own warehouse based on a thorough audit.

There are a lot of parts that must work together in a warehouse to ensure efficient operations and safety. Aplicor’s embedded cloud-based system provides WMS, ERP, CRM, and e-commerce functionality in a single platform to handle your core processes, allowing your company to focus on more strategic initiatives. Contact us today to learn more.