Amazon and the Growth of E-commerce Warehouse Development
Throughout the pandemic, thousands of shuttered commercial locations suddenly found new life as warehouses for e-commerce. The race to quickly purchase and build on suitable real estate led to a lack of available building sites in the Lehigh Valley and New Jersey, bringing many developers to Delaware, where new ordinances made warehouse development easier thanks to shorter rezoning processes.
Amazon is the poster child for this rapid expansion and sudden evolutionary change in warehouse development. As online retail exploded over the last few years and companies like Amazon expanded their capabilities, the need for warehouses for e-commerce increased substantially along with the use of advanced warehouse technology. Amazon may have slowed its growth recently, but the changes it helped bring about are still significant and have set a precedent for future warehouse projects.
This article will look at the latest shifts in warehouse development and what is driving these changes, including the following:
- Larger Sites
- Expanding Footprints
- The Need for Experienced Developers
It’s easy to see why companies like Amazon have thrived over the last few years. The e-commerce industry grew substantially as online retail grew in popularity. That growth in popularity has led to robust operations. More demand means more products shipped, more trucks to deliver them, more people on-site, and more space needed to support a warehouse facility. So, the size of a building site goes far beyond the actual facilities – which are also growing – and includes massive parking lots to accommodate trucks, support vehicles and technology, outbuildings, employee vehicles, and more. With larger fleets of trucks on the road needed to deliver products, warehouse sites have become massive to provide adequate space for expanded operations.
The footprints of warehouses themselves have also grown with the industry. As e-commerce services have expanded, warehouses have become more than just shipping and receiving facilities. Amazon warehouses now accommodate automated, high-tech processing equipment that can handle sorting, packing, and shipping hundreds of thousands of items per day! Installing all this new equipment can mean both outward and upward expansion to make room for multi-level sorting and retrieval equipment, miles of conveyors, and mezzanines to enable multi-story operations. These expanded warehouse footprints lead to more extensive facilities that require more materials, faster builds, and experienced teams to construct.
The Need for Experienced Warehouse Developers
Warehouses have become more in-demand, substantially higher-tech, and larger than they’ve ever been, resulting in serious changes to the usual building practices and timelines that developers would have relied on years ago. Not just any developer can handle these extremes. Experienced contractors and subcontractors with seasoned staff are becoming the go-to option in the industry, if not becoming an actual necessity. From high-tech advancements to rushed projects, every team involved in warehouse construction must be able to handle the work required. Only qualified and experienced teams can work at the rigorous pace necessary while delivering reliable results that allow companies like Amazon to begin installing equipment and using their facilities as soon as possible. In other words, it’s no longer about the best price; it’s about which contractors are best qualified for the job.
Working with Experienced Independent Contractors
The good news about all of this is that the growth of the e-commerce industry, the demand for warehouse space, and policy shifts that make for easier development all mean more jobs in warehouse development. Amazon facilities alone can create tons of part-time and full-time jobs and provide small businesses and local independent contractors with plenty of opportunities. But those independent contractors need to be able to handle the workload.
Working with an experienced independent contractor who understands the needs of the modern facility can make a significant difference in your warehouse development plan. From the ground up (and even below), knowledgeable independent contractors and subcontractors who have worked with Amazon and similar-sized facilities are better capable of handling every aspect of a warehouse project. It’s best to trust a partner who knows the industry and understands your specific needs. Especially for integral systems, like HVAC Systems, plumbing and gas, you need top-quality materials installed by dedicated craftsmen to ensure a reliable backbone for your facility.
APEX has been integral in developing numerous warehouse facilities throughout the Delaware area for a wide range of businesses, including Amazon. Our experience has made us a leader in modern warehouse construction, and our integrated team combines craftsman, construction, and expert engineering capable of delivering advanced products and superior installation. Contact our team today to discuss your warehouse development project.