With the current supply chain issues, warehouses are either empty or bursting at the seams – and for businesses to remain viable they have to be agile and able to accept deliveries as they arrive, often with little or no notice, and quantity of delivery unspecified. This requires a whole new level of flexibility. The need for storage space is fluid and unpredictable so temporary solutions are a really important part of today’s warehousing landscape.
At Smart-Space we have noticed a huge upturn in the request for loading bays and temporary canopied areas where lorries can be loaded quickly, efficiently and in weather-proof conditions. Keeping the lorry loads dry is vital, regardless of what they are, especially for long haul journeys. Having a separate canopy adjacent to the warehouse means the warehouse can be stocked to capacity whilst still retaining a safe place to load and unload. Doubtless, some loading bays will incorporate an element of temporary storage too, particularly for quick in and out deliveries.
A Smart-Space customer, Norfolk Leisure, operates a seasonal business, specialising in garden furniture. These large, bulky items demand significant storage space and are delivered on the slow boat from China. The company needed to be in a position to say yes to deliveries whenever they were offered and so this entailed additional storage space.
During lockdown, another client, Woodland Group found themselves warehousing lockdown treasures such as toilet rolls, home office furniture and in-demand food items. Again, their default position was to accept every inward delivery and fill its vast warehouses, including its temporary Smart-Space building, to capacity.
Covered places to load and unload, in the event of packed warehouses, has led to an increased demand for pop-up loading bays. Smart-Space’s flexible supply model works with the uncertainty of the demand – in that customers can off-hire as soon as they need to. They can also relocate the buildings which proved really useful for Avon Freight who have used temporary structures across its three Midlands sites.
Howdens Joinery recently added a pop-up loading bay in a tight space next to its Smart-Space interim building which it uses to store sheet metal which has a high turnaround and requires a large storage area. The image shows the loading bay (white building) situated alongside the storage space (green building) which is accessed via a tunnel, all installed by Smart-Space. “We are used to providing exactly what our customers need and sometimes that comes with an additional challenge such as working in small spaces or needing an unusually shaped building – we enjoy making it work” commented Jason Lynock, Sales Director of Smart-Space.
Creating solutions in response to market forces is nothing new but when the logistics sector continues to face supply challenges, it’s vital that UK businesses are able to be nimble and offer short-term solutions in an uncertain operating environment.