Despite the occasional economic uncertainty faced by businesses these days, warehouse demand has been increasing over the past few years in ways many warehouse owners were unprepared for.

Thanks to the rise in e-commerce, changing expectations for shipping times, and the various changes in the way products are transported and stored, warehouse space is in constant demand for various types of goods and manufacturing concerns. Among the various types of shipping and storage options available to retailers, light industrial warehouses are an increasingly popular sight among companies looking to ship, store, and transport goods.

 

‘Light industrial spaces’ are generally defined as being used for the packaging, assembly, or in certain cases even the manufacturing of goods on the way to their final destination, be that a retail outlet or directly to the customer. Items being shipped to light industrial warehouses may simply need to be stored, or there may be an additional step in the assembly/sales process – for instance, many items that are sold as ‘assembled in the USA’ such as musical instruments and consumer electronics are shipped to light industrial warehouses for final assembly and storage before being sold to the end customer or being shipped to a retail outlet or distribution center.

 

The reason your warehouse may want to be aware of this distinction is due to how much demand there is these days for light industrial warehouses. A new report by property management company CBRE states that light-industrial properties account for over half of total U.S. warehouse inventory, with rapidly declining availability across many sectors and no signs of it slowing down.

Retailers have been increasingly seeking new warehouses in closer proximity to their customers in order to better accommodate the shipping demands of e-commerce, now that everyone expects two-day or overnight shipping from their vendors. This has led to a huge spike in demand for spaces that can fit their needs, especially as short-term warehouse rentals or the renting of unused space becomes more prevalent. If your warehouse can meet these needs, then you might be able to serve as a light industrial warehouse for a retailer that needs one.

 

What are these needs, you might ask? They’re not as strenuous as you may be expecting, and you might qualify for several of them already:

 

  • Additional storage space: Above and beyond anything else, vendors looking for a light industrial storage option will need a partner that has storage space to spare. Sure, having an unused corner of the warehouse to rent out is cool, but having it pre-stocked with pallet racking, steel shelves, and other industrial storage solutions is even cooler and can better entice potential vendors.
  • Manufacturing/assembly capability: Part of the ‘light industrial’ designation requires you to have the ability to help assemble and package products when they arrive. Provide plenty of workbenches to help your staff assemble products before storage or shipment, and to help your vendor work more effectively after the products arrive.
  • Packaging supplies: Speaking of, many products in light industrial warehouses will need to be packaged and put together before they can be sent to their final destination. Provide workspace and floorspace (using storage mezzanines as needed) to help these products get assembled and to give them somewhere to be stored before they head out into the world.

 

If these sound like roles and services your warehouse can fulfill, you might just be ready to serve as a light industrial warehouse.

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