Difference Between Warehouses And Distribution Centers

Supply chains in the older times used to be much simpler than it is today. You could be walking up to the aisles of a warehouse or distribution center as both places were storing and giving products away. In this blog, we will talk about the conventional differences of warehouse and distribution centers.

What is a Warehouse?

A warehouse is a place where goods are stored. Warehouses are not facilities where goods are manufactured or produced. They are received as finished products to be sold to the customer directly. In order for goods to be stored at a warehouse, others need to be placed or scheduled. Goods are then received, stored, picked and packed when it is their time for delivery.

Warehouses are often found on seaports, airports and railways. Many equipment such as cranes or forklifts are used to move containers to the warehouse where items are checked, scanned, cataloged and shelved.

There are various types of warehouses which support the storage of various product types. Depending on the type, the interior might be temperature controlled so that perishable goods don’t go bad. Other types of warehousing include bulk storage,electronic storage, public warehousing and medical grade storage.

What is a Distribution Center?

A distribution center is often defined as a warehouse which has been stocked with products which will be redistributed among wholesalers, retailers or direct customers. Distribution centers play a vital role in the order fulfillment process which begins the moment a person places an order.

A distribution center is also referred to as warehouse, cross dock facility, package handling center, fulfillment center or bulk break center. While distribution center can be called a warehouse, it is not the case vice versa.

Differences Between Warehouse And Distribution Center

  • Warehouses are used for storing products until they are needed. While distribution centers are used to store products as well as order fulfillment, packaging and arranging shipping.
  • Warehouses store products over a longer time period. Distribution centers have a faster flow rate depending on the number of orders on the store.
  • Distribution centers act as a mediator between suppliers and consumers while warehouses mainly emphasize on storing items with much less focus on customers.
  • Operations at a warehouse are much more simplified than at a distribution center. Warehouses have fewer functions of receiving and storing, distribution centers handle order processing, transportation management, inventory and warehousing management, packaging, labels and shipping overall.

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