Urban logistics is one of the ten trends that supply chain managers and material handling engineers are going to have to grapple with over the next few decades. Can we put warehouses inside our cities?
We do today. There is a major apparel distribution center occupying an entire city block in Brooklyn, New York. The Bronx has another. You would not recognize either of these facilities for what they are because from the street they look like retail shops. If you walked around the block, however, you might notice that there is only one very large building taking up the entire block. There may be an office entry along one of the side streets, and loading dock doors in the back, but there are no other indications of what is inside the brick building that takes up an entire city block.
This use of the Brooklyn facility is not new. The building was always a distribution center hidden behind a retail facade. It was built in the 1960s for an auto parts factory and warehouse, and at some point it became the home office and sole distribution point for one of the largest closeout retail womenswear chains in the US. This operation processes flat pack and GOH every day, shipping a steady stream of garments to over 1,000 stores daily.
If you did not know any better, you would not have a clue.
Walk through any major city and you might notice how challenging it is to get around things that get chained to street signs and lamp posts (things like bicycles, for example). Drive into a major city and attempt to park your car. While some cities have ample curbside parking or have converted older buildings into parking garages, it can still be difficult or expensive to park your car. Parking a car in London or in Manhattan? Be ready to hand over a large sum of money for the privilege.
Those who ride bicycles know that parking a bike out on the street is more than risky. In some places, you might have a better chance of recovering a $100 dollar bill taped to a lamp post than of recovering a bicycle chained to the same post.
Why is it that other countries develop such clever solutions?
Like this way to store bicycles in Japan
Or Parking the Car in Japan
How about this nifty way to store new cars waiting for pickup at the dealer in Germany?