After co-working and co-living, the next big thing in the world of shared spaces is co-warehousing- collaborative workplaces for businesses with physical products and art entrepreneurs. With e-commerce witnessing unprecedented boom across the globe, many small businesses are facing logistics issues especially last-mile delivery which carries an in-proportionate cost. Having a conventional warehousing space in India means long, multi-year contracts, hiring operation staff, acquisition of expensive machinery, its maintenance, and not to mention the monthly utility bills. Thus, warehousing marketplace is experiencing a trend towards collaborative economies and greater flexibility, where different businesses can seamlessly receive, store and ship merchandise from a shared warehouse without the harshness of costly rents, maintenance or long term commitments. Such spaces also give businesses ability to customize a storage plan that matches very specific needs, regardless of company size. Other advantages of such shared warehousing marketplaces are: 1. Leveraging of equipment: Besides divvying up many direct and indirect costs like security and utility bills, co-warehousing also saves you from purchasing expensive equipments like forklifts, pallet-jacks, industrial grade racks etc, opening up the market to smaller players and start-ups. 2. Scalability: Co-warehousing lets users to adapt quickly to variable demand,allowing for an incremental rollout, which presents less risk than housing a considerably larger amount of product if the launch is less successful than desired. 3. Flexible labour: Co-warehousing brings with it the flexibility of cross-trained associates who have access to state-of-the-art warehouse and management systems and can handle a multitude of situations based on customer needs. While industrial spaces developers in India have already started building large logistics park where multiple companies with warehousing and inventory management needs can operate under one roof, some global firms are taking the idea a notch higher, trying different permutations and combination within collaborative spaces. One such combination bringing together co-working and co-warehousing. These community centres of innovation will have places to work and hold meetings, similar to what more traditional co-working spaces offer. But there will also be places for small entrepreneurs and artists to store their goods and creations, hire shared logistics services and heavy lifters as needed, all on site. For artists, there will even be gallery space to host exhibition, and event space for all to use.
Indian eCommerce landscape is undergoing a mammoth transformation. One of the most promising sunrise sectors, the industry is slated to grow from $39 billion in 2017 to $120 billion by 2020, clocking an astonishing 50% CAGR. This growth pattern bodes well for several industries, in particular to the logistics ecosystem. The emergence of eCommerce behemoths like Amazon, Flipkart has brought about an enabling environment for the establishment of an end-to-end, comprehensive logistics framework. Both eCommerce and logistics market complement each other and a synergized collaboration is for the benefit of both.
The seamless integration of logistics infrastructure with eCommerce platforms is definitely one of the critical factors contributing towards their exponential growth. Rapid adoption of digital technology presents immense scope of integration between both sectors. Building a sustainable Supply Chain , which is both efficient and customer-oriented is one of the promising avenues for the logistics industry. This presents itself as an opportunity in the economic landscape, but given the huge scale of infrastructure requirements, it is also a formidable challenge to be scaled. The convenience of online shopping has been enabled by a seamless, process-oriented, cutting edge approach and timely delivery model adopted by several logistics firms.
Businesses expect multiple services at scale with high quality of service, and it is only appropriate to structure a warehousing business' verticals according to the flexible requirements of the client's in order to stay not only relevant but ahead of the curve. This would bode well both for the business ecosystem as well as customer ensure positive customer experience in the highly competitive eCommerce Logistics sector. Now that the logistics sector has been accorded with infrastructure status recognising its importance in the entire fulcrum of ease of doing business, time is ripe for the logistics sector to leverage the huge opportunities provided by tech-enabled solutions and eCommerce boom, and bring about the next-gen revolution that could propel the entire industrial ecosystem to a seldom experienced growth trajectory.