Feb 8, 2021

US Faces Warehouse Capacity Issues, Technology is the Answer

Automation
distribution
Ecommerce
Warehousing
Laura V. Garcia
2 min
warehouse
As the U.S. faces warehouse capacity constraints issues, Melinda McLaughlin of Prologis suggests automation and technology can help...

As warehouses in North America reach and exceed their capacity, more and more firms are needing to turn away business. A report published by Reuters Events showed that out of the 273 warehouse operators they surveyed, 50% were operating at 90% or higher capacity, and 13% were over 100% level of nominal capacity. 

As there is no sign demand will ease, the situation is becoming critical. 

Labour shortage issues and increased rent and facility costs also add to the challenges warehouses are facing. Out of those surveyed by Reuters, 41% were in search of new space with 27% saying finding new space was the biggest challenge they were facing.

The massive shift to ecommerce and rapid growth (64% of firms surveyed by Reuters reported double-digit growth last year) has fulfilment centres looking to establish locations in residential neighbourhoods. However, they face resistance from communities who raise pollution, noise and strain on road infrastructure as concerns. 

As the pandemic continues to cause spikes in demand, retailers are looking to mitigate risks of shortages by increasing their stocks on key items.

The trend is expected to last throughout the year and beyond, and a shortfall on capacity is expected. According to Prologis, the US could fall short by up to 140 million sq ft. To help fight the challenges, Melinda McLaughlin, vice-president of research at Prologis suggested warehouses should leverage automation. 

“Many users of logistics space are grappling with several forces at the same time: rising e-commerce volumes; the need to hold more inventory; and shortages of available space and labour. This will drive up competition for limited space, and those that act first will secure a competitive advantage.

McLaughlin points out the high growth rates of automation in the areas geared towards labour productivity and improving e-fulfilment operations. “The ability to incorporate automation and other technology into operations can also aid in the transformation of supply chains and offers additional flexibility in location and labour,” she says.

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May 10, 2021

Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility

ElectricVehicles
SmartManufacturing
Sustainability
Technology
Georgia Wilson
3 min
Lion Electric |Smart Manufacturing | Sustainable Manufacturing | Electric Vehicles | Electric School Buses | Electric Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles | Sustainability | Technology | Freight | Transportation
Lion Electric announces its selection of Illinois to construct its all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicle manufacturing facility...

Who is Lion Electric?

Founded in 2008, Lion Electric is an innovative manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Lion Electric designs, manufactures, and assembles all components for its vehicles that have unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs. “We believe that transitioning to all-electric vehicles will lead to major improvements in our society, environment and overall quality of life,” believes Lion Electric. 

Lion Electric’s new Illinois Manufacturing Facility

Just two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is expanding its locations further, selecting Joliet, Illinois for its new manufacturing facility in the US.

The new facility is said to “represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US,” as well as being the company’s biggest footprint in the market. The new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles and bring production closer to customers. 

It is expected that the first vehicles off the production line will be in the second half of 2022.

“Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

“The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”

Lion Electric’s Agreement with the Government of Illinois

Over the next three years, Lion Electric will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois. The new facility - totalling 900,000 square feet - is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.

Scaling electric bus production and decarbonising freight and transportation

As the US moves to electrifying its school buses, the additional production capacity at the facility will help Lion Electric to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US further the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.

“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion.

“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.” 

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