What does smart mean for a warehouse? A question as intricate as easy it sounds. I had the privilege to discuss about this with an august panel of fellow supply chain enthusiasts at Indian Chamber of Commerce this month and I learnt this:
- Smart doesn’t necessarily mean more tech, it means innovative. The head of supply chain at a major F&B company shared that in his experience lean and small warehouse service providers tend to be more innovative – not surprising considering the freedom and speed with which they can experiment and execute.
- Baseline standards – The warehousing development and regulatory authority of India (WDRA) has set up a warehouse registration and certification process. Certified warehouses meet baseline warehousing standards. It is foundational work by GOI for organizing the warehousing industry and in future this may become mandatory.
- Indian warehousing industry is pacing up well in terms of quality of warehousing infrastructure compared with developed nations. Even though the per capita warehousing footprint of USA is 200 times that of India outlining the huge potential for growth, the quality of warehousing services and infrastructure are competitive.
- Data and visibility remain fundamental to building smart warehouses and targeted initiatives with clear end goal and integrated visibility can help improve efficiency of the warehouses in turn making them smarter.