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September 29, 2022


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  With the pandemic and lockdown situation warehousing sector have witnessed long-lasting reforms. Buffer stock, automation, 3PL services and more yet to come. 

Do you remember how the pandemic turned the world upside down?

Every industry bore the brunt of its effects, including the warehouse industry. As we are still on the path of recovery, reeling from the aftermath of the impact COVID left on the world, we face new challenges and opportunities to deal with.

The warehouse industry is also witnessing recent changes, learning from mistakes, facing new challenges, and embracing new opportunities. 

Emerging Trends in the Warehousing Industry Post-Pandemic

The effect of COVID has made all business owners rethink their business strategies. The warehousing sector has witnessed drastic changes during the pandemic and is still adjusting to today’s “normal.”

Rise Of E-Commerce

The COVID situation has affected people enormously. Even though online shopping was a familiar concept, the pandemic escalated its surge.

As the government was implementing continuous lockdowns, social distancing, and strict preventive measures for the safety of the public, it also affected their shopping habits (i.e., their behavioral habits). People tend to use the internet to buy their everyday necessities like groceries. 

As per the reports, the Indian e-commerce market during the year 2018 was approximately 22 billion US dollars, which escalated to 30 billion in the financial year 2020 and doubled by 2021 when the calculations were closed at 84 billion US dollars. 

This epic graph has influenced many merchants to makeshift their business online. This makeshift has developed more demand for warehouses to rent. Many established e-commerce firms are setting up warehouses in the city to enhance the customer experience and reduce the delivery time for perishable items.  

The Technology Boom. 

While technology is making a strong foothold in every business, it surely has left a great impact on the warehousing sector. Though digitization was making its way to the industry’s warehousing at a slow pace, COVID gave it a push. Those who had already adapted the digitization before COVID benefited during the lockdown because: 

  • Integrating technology into the logistics business cuts half the hassle for warehouse managers and makes logistic operations smoother and faster. 
  • Moreover, it increases workers’ efficiency and productivity and helps to solve labor challenges. 
  • From ordering to delivery, all the warehouse operations are done within clicks. 

Automation is not limited to warehouse or inventory management software. It also includes AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robots). Incorporating AMRs in warehouses ensures fast, secure, and error-free delivery. Moreover, warehouses are becoming advanced and embracing IoT (Internet of Things). They are using drones to enable warehouse managers to keep an eye on inventories and draft reports at the end of the day. Increasingly, warehouses are becoming advanced to increase warehouse efficiency and productivity.

Stocking Inventory

Stocking inventory may not be a good option for everyone, mainly because of the space required. Before the world pandemic, manufacturers were habitually adapted to just-in-time practice. [Just-in-time (JIT) is a practice where manufacturers contact various suppliers to get the raw materials just before the scheduled production, saving up inventory costs and solving space issues.] 

But then COVID happened, and many manufacturers ran out of raw materials to continue their production. Such a crisis opened the door to the idea of stocking up inventory. Even after the recovery, this trend is likely to stay with us forever. 

No doubt that JIT is still in use. But now, manufacturers have started stocking the buffer stocks to prevent the same scenario as what happened in 2020. Of course, this comes with the challenge of issues requiring more space.

Smaller Decentralized Warehouse Locations

The pandemic situation has greatly affected businesses. It was a nuisance before to even transfer a parcel from one place to another. Keeping this situation in mind, occupiers are changing their business strategies. 

Instead of consolidating one big warehouse at one prominent location, occupiers are now preferring to rent a warehouse at different locations. The main reason to start this was to reach customers in any tough situations and deliver same-day or next-day delivery. The benefits of owning multiple warehouses at the right locations include faster delivery, less risk for supply-chain disruptions, reduced transportation costs and space optimization.

Increased Reliance on 3PLs

When the world stopped suddenly, people locked in their own houses wanted their deliveries as quickly as possible and with safety precautions; this increased the surge of last-mile delivery services. [Last-mile delivery is the final stage where a parcel from the distribution center proceeds to the customers.] 

While some companies are doing it independently, others seek help from 3PL service providers for better, more efficient, and seamless logistic operations. 

A 3PL partnership can benefit a business in better infrastructure and storage facilities, having an expert on the board, better storage and shipping solutions, and cost savings. 

A Major Shift from Globalization to Regionalization

The year 2020 was a nightmare for any businessman. The pandemic has greatly disturbed the global supply chains, including important markets like India, Europe, South-East Asia, and North America. The disruption resulted in piled-up inventory and slower transportation, which led to late deliveries, impacted global trade flow, and limited access to inventory. 

The pandemic showed how much the world can get affected by a crisis in one country. After experiencing such a crisis, many manufacturers are contemplating their business strategy and thinking of shifting to regional areas/ reshoring and using regional sources. Reshoring will help cut down various freight costs, create a controlled supply chain, and increase efficiency. This initiative will boost the warehousing industry and increase labor requirements. 

Increased Demand for Temperature-Controlled Warehouses 

During COVID, the grocery sector also found it had to implement new practices. People started buying groceries online, and even after a year, they prefer the groceries delivered to their doorsteps or their cars. During the initial stage of the pandemic, many experienced delays in deliveries due to the limited amount of cold storage facilities. This increased the demand to store dairy products, meat, and groceries. Since then, cold storage warehouses (largely used by pharmaceutical companies, hospitality, food and beverage industries, and chemical industries) have become a trend. But cold storage warehouses have high maintenance costs, and the solution will be to adopt automated small cold storage warehouses. 


COVID has drastically affected many business areas, including the warehousing sector, but as the dust starts to settle, that sector has witnessed new reforms—reforms that are here to stay. Today’s companies manage space more efficiently and create different backups in case something unexpected happens. Moreover, these warehousing trends have attracted many investors at the global level. 


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