On-demand warehousing is not exactly a new idea. It’s been widely discussed for at least the past five years – and all the more so as supply chains have been through the challenges of the past year.
But what is on-demand warehousing, and how do you turn the concept into reality when demand for warehouse capacity far exceeds supply? What’s more, how do you overcome the fact that so few effective digital resources exist for shippers to find the capacity they need?
This was a recent topic of the podcast GearDown, in which hosts Benny and Grace asked pop.capacity co-founder and CEO Matt Fain how he developed innovations to deliver true on-demand warehousing options to shippers.
“pop.capacity is the first true digital marketplace for warehousing and fulfillment space,” Matt explained. “We’re using AI data and virtual touring to enhance the way shippers are finding this important capacity right now.”
Matt expressed that he developed the idea for pop.capacity during a previous stint as a driver, where he recognized just how many shippers and carriers were constantly asking about available warehouse space.
“This is how I started, asking, if the requests keep going this way, how can we digitize the experience?” Matt said. “It really was the perfect timing and the perfect storm.”
One recent example of pop.capacity’s impact involved a large number of Dallas-area truckload carriers who found themselves stuck – unable to unload their cargo and, thus, unable to take on new loads and continue generating revenue.
They turned to pop.capacity, which has already done the work of building a vast warehouse network, with prices, amenities, availability and many other details easy to search via the platform.
“We got 12 to 15 carriers an opportunity just by tapping into the marketplace,” Matt said.
Part of what makes the pop.capacity system so different is that warehouse operators are rewarded for being more active on the platform. That leads to higher search rankings, along with careful work by the pop.capacity team to identify amenities at each warehouse that match up with the needs of the shippers looking for warehouse space.
The pop.capacity platform also facilitates more effective use of micro-fulfillment by giving shippers more access to warehouse facilities that are closer to their last-mile delivery stops. That has become especially important as shippers see the growing importance of having more product categories available in inventory, unlike before when many product categories were only procured on a just-in-time basis.
“Certain SKUs have to go here and here and here,” Matt said. “More people are bringing product than ever before, and it’s gone from just-in-time to just-in-case. Certain SKUs we didn’t want to hang onto. Now we need them.”
Matt also explained to Benny and Grace that pop.capacity has created a digital marketplace in which shippers and warehouses can deal with each other directly – without pop.capacity trying to play the role of broker. Instead, pop.capacity is a subscription-based platform – for both warehouses and shippers – and it lets all participants work out their own deals independently.
“We’re the most frictionless marketplace out there,” Matt said. “We enhance and accelerate. We do not stick ourselves in the middle. Our whole goal is to identify every bit of capacity in North America right now.”
And with this, a true on-demand warehouse marketplace is born.