• From the Wall Street Journal this morning:
"One of the nation’s largest retailers has been making big changes to its distribution network using smaller warehouses.
"Target said its move to add regional hubs with specific roles to its supply chain over the past five years has helped pare its inventories, deliver online orders faster and speed up store replenishment.
"The Minneapolis-based merchant, like competitors Amazon.com and Walmart, has been trying to hold less inventory and trim shipping costs by placing goods closer to customers. The strategy has also included fulfilling more online orders out of stores.
"The tactic marks a move away from mega-warehouses that ship e-commerce orders out nationwide from a central location, industry experts say. Using smaller warehouses to serve surrounding areas 'makes your network more complex, but it allows you shorter distances and more flexibility,' said Inna Kuznetsova, a logistics expert and chief executive of supply-chain software company ToolsGroup.
"Kuznetsova said the tactic allows retailers to speed up deliveries by cutting down the distance goods must travel, while keeping costs down by using warehouses that are more efficient at handling large volumes of orders.
• From the Puget Sound Business Journal:
"This week Amazon.com will begin deliveries from PAE2,its massive new fulfillment center in Snohomish County. The warehouse is the latest example of an important shift in the company's operations strategy.
"The Arlington facility, dubbed 'Project Roxy' when it was under development, is almost 3 million square feet and part of Amazon's next generation of warehouse sites, which are notable for their use of robotics. Unlike other fulfillment centers in Western Washington, the Arlington site is equipped with the 'Robin' system, a machine learning-powered system of robotic arms for sorting packages.
"The five-story structure also reflects Amazon's growing preference for taller warehouses, according to a recent report from international brokerage firm Colliers on multistory industrial facilities … The report also links the rise in multistory space to another Amazon strategy. The company has been shifting its logistics approach, focusing on regional hubs as it tries to fulfill its promise of fast delivery to customers amid higher demand."