Most companies operate under the corporate belief that inventory sitting in a warehouse and not on a retailer’s shelf is bad for business. This is pretty much Rule No. 1 in business school. But there are some companies out there that make warehousing industry seem evil. Wal-Mart, for example, attempts to cut out the warehousing sector altogether by expediting the entire supply chain process. Wal-Mart wants a product to go from raw materials are to a buyable item on a shelf in a matter of days. They don’t want products sitting in a distribution center in some far away location, which again makes complete sense in terms of economics.
There are lots of companies, though, that don’t have the same luxury that Wal-Mart does. They need massive warehousing and storage capabilities. These are the companies that are supported by the logistics providers that we see operating around the world. Consolidation in the logistics industry has forced companies to come up with a new solution to provide supply chain services. It seems that more and more, those answers come by way of giant and mega warehouses. It’s still about speed, delivery and automation, but it’s on a much larger scale. We went on a mission to find a few of those warehousing sites that can stake claim as one of the largest in the world. What we found is that even though they are some of massive in size and volume, the companies that built these warehouses had to apply a certain degrees of innovation to remain competitive and drive out costs for its customers. Without further ado, here are the world’s largest warehousing sites that we came across:
Avonmouth (Bristol, England)
What they store:
Constellation Europe is one of the world’s largest drink companies that produce a host of wine brands including Kumala, Hardys, Banrock Station, Echo Falls and Robert Mondavi. The warehouse can hold 57 million bottles of wine and it’s been said that 15 percent of the alcohol drunk in the United Kingdom is supplied by Constellation Europe.
858,000 square feet.
Just to give you an idea of the enormity of warehouse and floor plan, it’s estimated that 4,000 cars could be parked on the roof and that the internal volume of the inside is equivalent to the volume of 14,000 double decker buses. It took three years to finish building the warehouse, which is dubbed ‘Constellation Park’.
Constellation Europe improves costs with the giant warehouse because they do on-site bottling, which allows wine to be shipped in bulk to Avonmouth. This cuts down on the transportation costs and the carbon emissions that would come from moving the thousands of tons of glass that would be required to fill Constellation Park normally.
Wisbech (Cambridgeshire, England)
What they store:
The warehouse was developed for potato processing giant Lamb Weston Meijer, which holds a lion’s share of the storage at 20,500 square meters, but it is also being used by Birds Eye and Pinguin. The storage facility, which is the third and largest of its kind in England helps enhance Fenland’s status as the center of excellence in agri-food processing and logistics.
554,000 square meters
The floor plan is 1.5 times the size of a football pitch, and at 36 meters high, the warehouse can store up to 77,000 pallets at temperatures of -27 degrees Celsius. It took over 5,000 tons of steel to complete the warehouse, which opened in July 2010.
Partner Logistics ensured that the super cold store was fully automated, integrated, optimized and deployed state-of-the-art equipment. The automation has driven the risk out of business, which allows companies to focus its resources in the core areas of business.
Camp Carroll (South Korea)
What they store:
You might think the US Army is out of place on this list, but military needs storage just as much as anyone else. The Camp Carroll warehouse isn’t complete just yet, but it is being designed to harbor a variety of vehicles for what the US military likes to call a Heavy Brigade Combat team. Vehicles in the combat team are Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, among other and they will all be held under a single roof in South Korea starting in 2012.
350,000 square feet.
The warehouse is a two-story humidity controlled environment that will support the $6 million Abram tanks and the almost-as-expensive Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The Abram tanks weigh over 67 tons and the Bradleys tip scales somewhere above 27 tons.
These tanks are investments for the US Army and they wish to protect them like anyone would. Normally these vehicles are stored outside, which leads to nearly $2 million in repairs annually, so the move into a humidified and controlled environment will reduce costs. It won’t be long before the US Army sees a massive return on its investment.
These warehouses looking infinitely more bad ass in our digital magazine. Check it out! WAREHOUSES