E-commerce and logistics: AKNO’s new business parks’ answer
The e-commerce revolution
Among the many innovations that the Internet has brought to our lives, digital commerce has been the slowest to take hold. Buying a product you can’t physically see and especially paying through a credit card, entrusting the network with your details, has long discouraged most consumers.
The situation, however, has now changed for good and in 2018, according to the observatory dedicated to this phenomenon by the Politecnico di Milano, e-commerce in Italy reached a record turnover of over €27 billion, an increase of 16% compared to the previous year.
But what does the success of digital commerce mean for the world of logistics? In this article, we will briefly try to provide some answers, starting with the experience of AKNO, which is a leader in the field of logistics and industrial facilities with its business parks.
While the effects of e-commerce have been enormous in terms of work organisation and digital infrastructures, they cannot be said to be negligible in terms of existing structures and, above all, the design of future ones.
On the other hand, it is certainly unthinkable that a flow of orders that has increased in number and reduced in size, such as that generated by digital commerce, has not also led to changes in the design and construction of logistics structures.
This is why AKNO, always attentive to the quality of its work, is monitoring the phenomenon and listening to the requests of operators in the sector to understand how to meet the new market requirements.
What people buy and sell in digital commerce
The sectors in which e-commerce has gradually developed in Italy have also determined the type of influence it has had on general logistics.
For some products, in fact, the impact has been zero: think of the use of e-commerce for the purchase of air, train or show tickets, for booking hotels or holiday homes or for streaming services for TV series or football matches.
In other sectors, however, logistics has been heavily involved both for the actual warehouse management and the organisation of shipments. Unlike standard shipping to a retail outlet, which is characterised by a large number of goods being sent to only one recipient on a regular basis, e-commerce requires deliveries of individual products to many customers at random over time.
This typical characteristic of digital commerce also requires very flexible warehouses to reduce as far as possible the time needed to find the product and its packaging, immediately signalling to the system the variation in the quantity of stored goods.
The computerisation of warehousing and transport is undoubtedly the infrastructure that makes it possible for many companies to sell their products online and then manage transport themselves or rely on specialised operators in the sector.
Whether it be clothes or furniture, books or electronic products, all large companies now offer their goods on the Internet and also provide the options of home delivery and collection from the point of sale or other designated locations.
Own warehouses or business parks?
About the management of storage and shipping facilities, we can say that the companies that sell their goods on the Internet are divided into two large categories: those that design and build their own warehouses and those that rely on existing structures, renting space in logistics parks.
In the first group, we can only include the very big names of digital commerce, those companies, such as Amazon or IKEA, that have based their success on e-commerce or, in any case, on streamlined and automated warehouse management already in previous years.
All the others, in different ways, are looking for logistics space in existing structures that must, however, be able to efficiently support the new rhythms and methods in both shipping and storage.
Spacious and modular spaces, professional security management, high quality and cost-effective equipment, and strategic locations are just some of the aspects that are considered as most relevant when choosing a space to rent for logistics management, including digital logistics.
To meet the challenge of e-commerce in logistics, therefore, it does not seem that we need entirely different structures from the previous ones, but rather that it is the quality of the design, materials and construction techniques that are being rewarded, if possible, even more than in the past.
AKNO’s logistics parks
With its forty years of experience in logistics construction, AKNO knows what it takes to make a business park an attractive place for companies to do business.
First and foremost, buildings constructed using high-quality materials and designed according to the best state-of-the-art technical criteria to achieve broad, modular spaces capable of adapting to different company needs.
In addition, security must be a priority: this is why the AKNO business parks are completely fenced off and have only one access gate, which is operated 24 hours a day to guarantee an impeccable surveillance service, which our AKNO Management Services division can in any case manage.
The entire facility comprises several different spaces, offering a wide range of services: commercial premises, swimming pools, green areas and distribution centres all organised within a single complex in an integrated manner.
Finally, attention to the environment and eco-sustainability is another key feature for the success of a modern logistics park. Thanks to our AKNO Energy division, in fact, we install photovoltaic panels and biogas energy production systems to reduce the structure’s dependence on external energy sources, while through careful design and the use of thermally broken windows, the consumption of electricity and heat is considerably reduced.
Even with the new challenges brought by e-commerce, AKNO continues to be a reference point for anyone who wants a modern place to manage their company logistics.