Comment | 31 October 2019
Flexibility, visibility and pace are all important factors in the modern, digitised supply chain. We explore how virtual warehouses like oneVASTwarehouse.com are working to offer UK industry the storage options it needs.
Consumers are thinking differently. Access is now more important than ownership for many, with subscription services that grant us use of shared resources more and more popular.
This desire for choice and autonomy makes sense in a world where the convergence of technologies has opened new ways of doing things. For example, high-speed mobile internet connections allow us all to access the services we want whenever and, to an extent, wherever we need them; something that was not widely possible ten years ago.
Given that infrastructure is in place, why pay to own an item when we can tap into shared resources and use exactly what we need?
The logistics industry doesn’t exist separately to society, which has led to the rise of virtual warehousing.
oneVASTwarehouse (Virtual Access to Storage and Transport) is one platform offering customers access to this new kind of warehouse. An online facility, it is made up of different warehouse sites across the UK that form a web of storage. This web consists of space within Wincanton’s portfolio of properties and those of its partners, as well as third-party businesses advertising their underutilised space.
Businesses can access the platform, search for the space they need and purchase it for as long as they need it. This approach makes it possible to better respond to surges in demand and store goods more strategically to take full advantage of opportunities.
Shared-user warehousing is by no means a revolution – it’s a process that’s been in place for some time – but virtual warehousing is different. Instead of relying on previous relationships and lengthy contracts, virtual warehousing is built around quick access and up-to-the-minute visibility; both of available space and the goods within this space.
oneVASTwarehouse manages this process through its Inventory Management System (IMS). Users register online, which gives them the ability to search the IMS for the space they need, or advertise their own excess capacity directly to those that need it.
Collaboration is an important component of the virtual warehouse. There’s an increasing awareness within UK industry that working together makes sense, both in terms of cost to serve and cost to the planet.
Optimising resources is key; especially around warehousing, with the country’s storage space running at close to capacity. By working together, we can take full advantage of the capacity that is out there. The benefits to doing so are plentiful, which is why the oneVASTwarehouse platform is working to unlock the space needed.
Third-party businesses can list their own available storage space on the platform, generating new streams of revenue for themselves. Given that every business goes through peaks and troughs in demand across the course of a year, there will always be times in which space is not being used to its full potential. This is where oneVASTwarehouse can contribute, by marketing this directly to those that need it, for as long as it’s available.
By working together and taking advantage of the systems that exist, the entire process of finding, buying and even selling storage space can be streamlined; saving time, effort and, crucially, money.
With the race for space likely to become even more competitive, the virtual warehouse can help UK industry optimise the way it stores.