Do you hate those long, dark, maze-like cooridors in self storage facilities that require you to lug your belongings between the car and the unit? Asia's largest self storage operator, Storefriendly, has developed a way for your storage unit to come to you.
A quick scan of a QR code on your mobile device will trigger a "Go-Bot" to lift up your storage unit and deliver it straight to you. Yes it looks like a large Rumba, but it appears to be more efficient than that.
Storefriendly claims that this practice saves 30% of the building space by not having hallways dedicated for people-walking.
"Consumer gets a greater product, safer, faster, ultra modern, for less" says Jes Johansen, CEO of Storefriendly.
Storefriendly's model services businesses as well as customers. Tan Boon Leong, Executive Director and Head, Industrial, notes that Singapore has a significant volume of buinesses that operate seaonally such as Chinese New Year and Christmas. Those businesses are able to allot their funds into storage facilities during off-seasons in order to houss physical goods that may only be used once per year.
With regards to Storefriendly's B2C side, Leong comments that Singapore is seeing a growing middle-class and a rise in spending affluence. This has produced a greater deal of household goods that are now finding their way into storage facilities across the Singapore nation. Even items such as wine which require climate controls are on the rise in many areas.
Johansen notes that "[self storage] penetration is 20 times more in America than it is in Singapore," infering that overdevelopment is far from the minds of a country that is seeing an increased need for storage.
Experts add that with smaller homes, the rising affluence of Singaporians, and the growth of e-commerce, means self storage will continue to flourish.
Meanwhile back in the United States, numerous markets are often labeled as over-satured and cluttered with storage facilities. Industry-wide use has hovered fairly consistently around 1 in every 10 Americans for quite some time. Storefriendly's automated technology clearly offers a convenience for Singaporian customers, but could it be practically applied in the United States?
Link below for news coverage from ChannelNewsAsia: