The warehousing scenario in India is going through a major period of transformation. Earlier, the warehouses were generally referred to as godowns which were only suitable for the storage and stockpiling of goods and provision of extremely primary and basic facilities associated with such storage. Nowadays, the warehousing sector is witnessing a rapid evolution with it being one of the most critical components of manufacturing, supply chain and e-commerce industries. There is a huge change in the nature of the warehousing business as well as the technological practices which are driving the change. The warehousing industry is also changing extremely fast to successfully face the regulatory and infrastructural challenges that the industry poses before it.
Changes in the Indian warehousing industry :
The warehouses have become more sophisticated and are deemed as the indispensable components in the e-retail and e-commerce sectors of India. Furthermore, with the evolution of lean manufacturing practices, sizeable portions of regular functions like packaging and labelling and scheduling of goods are being handled by third-party logistics providers.
- The average size of the warehouses are increasing at a huge rate in the country and the 20,000 odd square feet of warehousing space has already magnified to around 3 lakh square feet in 2019. By the end of 2020, the industry estimates project the expansion of warehousing space to almost 1600 million square feet.
- Establishments of multi-client warehouses with tremendous volumes in the metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru etc. These warehouses are voluminous and provide extremely high rooflines which enable vertical storage of cargo.
- The current worth of the Indian warehousing market is around 560 billion rupees. The Indian warehousing sector is encountering a massive growth rate of around 10% per annum. The warehouses dealing with agricultural and horticultural products and services account for 15% to 16% of the total warehousing space whereas the industrial and retail market controls around 55% of the total warehousing shares and it is expected to grow at an exponential rate.
- Improvement in the indigenous airports in important cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru is reducing the cargo handling time significantly; bringing down the dwell time on export services at around 30 to 40 hours and on import services to 10 hours, with 70% of the cargo being cleared within a period of 72 hours.
- Integration of technological breakthroughs like the Automated Identification and Data Capture technology, is driving the logistics and warehousing industry towards optimum utilisation of resources, efficient monitoring and real-time tracking of consignments as well as the seamless distribution of cargo.
- Adoption of Quick Code Readers, Real-time locating systems, Radio Frequency Identification and intelligent IT-driven software’s like Warehouse Management Systems or WMS are becoming extremely effective in augmenting the competitiveness of the indigenous warehousing industry and its core operations.
- Successful partnership and collaboration between manufacturers and apply chain experts, with an increasing number of manufacturers outsourcing a significant portion of essential functions to warehousing companies.
Though the Indian warehousing industry is still considered to be at a nascent stage compared to international standards and benchmarks set by the Western countries, it is implementing these changes to exploit the tremendous potential reserve in itself and meeting the challenges in the future.