Anyone who has watched “Tiny House Hunters” knows that going small is one of the hottest trends in the real estate market. Whether it’s baby boomers downsizing for retirement or young couples simplifying their lives, people are foregoing McMansions for spaces not much bigger than a New York City studio apartment. But that doesn’t mean they’re giving up on McMansion amenities: These little places can be chock full of granite, tile and hardwood.
A similar trend is taking place in the distribution market, especially around e-fulfillment. While the typical DC featured in Modern Materials Handling is 500,000 square feet or more, retailers and e-tailers are looking at smaller footprints to get nearer to their customers. But, like tricked out tiny houses, that doesn’t mean they’re giving up on automation. The truth is, regardless of the size of the space or company, e-commerce fulfillment operates at a different pace than store replenishment. Even a small, fast-growing e-tailer has to design processes and systems that meet today’s customer service level expectations if it’s going to do its own distribution.
Case in point: Adore Me Services, the Secaucus, N.J.,-based distribution arm of Adore Me, a fast-growing e-commerce retailer selling women’s lingerie, sleepwear, swimwear and activewear. In 2017, the then five-year-old startup set out to build its first distribution center to control the customer experience. The result was a 130,000-square-foot facility across the Hudson River from the company’s New York headquarters that packs a lot of order fulfillment automation in a comparatively small space.
Read more in Modern Materials Handling