If you thought the idea of portable, scalable micro-warehouses was a thing of the future, then you are in for a pleasant surprise. Shotput, a San Francisco based startup is seeking to change the warehouse storage space industry for good.
Seeking to fulfill a need in fast-growing e-commerce companies that would appreciate a less investment-heavy alternative to the traditional industrial storage model, Shotput is one such company whose ambition is to change warehouse shelving process in its entirety.
Coming in the form of large shipping containers, these micro-warehouses have pressure-sensitive shelves with radio frequency identification that helps monitor inventory in real time. When coupled with a high-end automated “auto-bagger” system that fills orders in on the spot, these micro-warehouses promise to usher in a new manner of warehouse shelving.
The premise is that a company, usually a smaller firm, installs one of these as a portable distribution center, allowing for a more flexible and mutable approach to logistical supply. Cutting costs both through automation as well as the portable nature of these devices allow a more flexible delivery strategy at a fraction of the cost. The ambition is that this innovation in the warehouse storage space world can give smaller companies a distribution system that rivals giants such as Amazon Prime.
Shotput plans to ship these containers directly to manufacturers, who then stock the shelves straight out of their factories, sending the containers out to the desired location via truck or rail.
Instead of having one large warehouse and an accompanying fleet of trucks, companies can instead mobilize 20-30 mobile warehouses that decentralize the distribution process.
Once in place, the retailers contract local carriers to pick up parcels from the portable unit.
Amazon Prime may indeed have a future competitor in the form of this small startup, as this new development could completely alter the world of industrial storage, shelving, mezzanines and platforms.
As promising as these developments can be for both vendors as well as consumers, we shall have to see if such ambitions will take root in the real world.