While warehouses and distribution centers may appear similar from the outside, and the terms are frequently used interchangeably when discussing logistics and supply chain management, they operate very differently on the inside. Each is intended to handle distinct objectives, tasks, and responsibilities. It is critical to understand the differences between warehouses and distribution centers to select the best logistics and supply chain solution for your company’s needs and achieve your inventory turnover goals.
What is a Warehouse?
A warehouse is a large commercial building used to keep goods for extended periods of time. It’s important to note that warehouses are often designed solely for storage. As a result, warehouse technology focuses on loading the facility with as many products as possible without putting too much emphasis on moving through it quickly. Sorting things, shipping them out, and replenishing them are all parts of a warehouse’s everyday operations.
A typical warehouse has docks where products are loaded or unloaded from huge vehicles such as trucks, trains, planes, or ships using cranes and forklifts. As a result, warehouses are often located near key transportation corridors such as airports, docks, highways, and railroads.
Manufacturers, importers, exporters, and transportation companies are the most common users of warehousing facilities. Warehouses are frequently used by large and globally-oriented enterprises to hold finished goods and ship batches or container loads to distribution centers for distribution. Although a warehouse doesn’t really have much activity daily, it is nevertheless very useful for holding a significant quantity of products for a long time and shipping them to distribution centers.
What is the Difference Between a Warehouse and a Distribution Center?
While warehouses are primarily used to store goods, distribution centers also provide value-added services such as product mixing, order fulfillment, cross-docking, kitting, and packaging. Furthermore, unlike warehouses, distribution centers only store the required number of products for a shorter period of time. As a result, the pace of procedures in a distribution center is substantially faster than in a warehouse.
Distribution centers are more customer-centric because they primarily serve B2B businesses as a link between suppliers and customers. While warehouses are responsible for properly storing products, distribution centers are responsible for efficiently meeting consumer needs and expectations. As a result, distribution center operations are more complex than warehouse operations. For order processing, inventory management, warehouse management, and transportation management, distribution centers are outfitted with cutting-edge technology.
Today’s supply chain and logistics increasingly rely on warehouses and distribution centers. Although many logistics experts use the terms interchangeably, their internal operations and primary functions are vastly different. Are you still undecided about which option is best for your company? Contact us today to see how NewStream Enterprises, LLC’s warehousing, and distribution services may fulfill your current demands while also allowing for future expansion.