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It’s strange to imagine at this point that anything further could be done with warehouses. Through all the advancements in warehouse safety, industrial storage, forklifts/cargo carts, and more, it’s easy to sit back and think “this is it, there’s no other way we could innovate the idea of a warehouse or storage facility for modern American businesses”.


Of course, if there’s one thing we’ve learned here at Shelving Inc, it’s to always be prepared for new changes and innovations. Business and products can change all the time, and it’s a good idea to keep up with the latest trends. That said, even those trends and changes can surprise us from time to time…like the announcement of’s new floating warehouses.


Sure, we’re all used to Amazon being an innovator in how they get their products to people – just take a look at the popularity and discussion surrounding their use of drones for immediate package shipping from a few years back for a prime (no pun intended) example. However, they recently announced plans for another one of their shipping ideas that’s a little…let’s say loftier than before.

Recently, the ecommerce giant revealed a patent filing for what they call an “airborne fulfillment center” that they filed back in 2014 (when all the drone hubbub started) but were just awarded recently. And it’s exactly what it sounds like – a large warehouse, suspended by blimp, that fulfills orders via drones that leave the “mothership” with your item in tow. The mothership is manned by a rotating staff that can arrive to and from the warehouse by a fleet of even smaller airships.


Granted, this whole idea has a long way to go before it can really, er, take off, but it does make us curious – what does this mean for the idea of warehouses as a whole?


Warehouses have seen a lot of disruption and innovation over the past 10-20 years, from being converted to living spaces in urban areas to the different types of products that can be stored in them, ranging from delicate medical products to even gardens to raise fresh produce. But this makes us wonder – what kind of warehouse innovations will come on the heels of this airborne solution? Will vertical development begin to take precedence again? And what about air deliveries – with a system like this in place, will other companies find ways to innovate where they locate their warehouses or goods? Will inter-air deliveries become more common, or will the technology exist to power drone flights the same distance as bulk trucking shipments?


Of course, the retail warehouse business isn’t going to change dramatically any time soon – there’s always going to be warehouses, there’s always going to be trucks driving products, and so on. (And whenever any of those warehouses need wire shelving, Shelving, Inc will be there.) But it is interesting to think how companies like Amazon are trying to take tried-and-true methods of product storage and business-to-consumer delivery and innovate on them to keep up with the demands of the modern world.


Then again, the first time a drone buzzes over the roof of the wrong house to drop off some paper towels and laundry soap, maybe we won’t all be so excited after all.

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