WAREHOUSING AND DISTRIBUTION

Warehousing and distribution are used in the distribution process of supply chain management to deliver a product from the point of order all the way through the customer delivery process.

Differences Between Warehousing And Distribution

Physically there’s not much difference between the two, defined clearly however, a warehouse describes a static storage space whereas a distribution center is described as a facility from which wholesale and retail orders are filled. Warehouse by definition is static and distribution as an active operation.

A distribution center provides a variety of services such as transportation, cross-docking, order fulfillment, labeling, packaging, order preparation and processing, shipping, receiving, transportation, returned goods processing along with tracking and measurement. A warehouse is focused mostly on the practice of storing products, a distribution center concentrates on providing great customer service. Most distribution centers have state of the art order processing, transportation, and warehouse management systems to effectively manage receipt of products, scanning bar codes, locating and storing products efficiently, pick and pack services, order processing, and plan loads. The distribution center services as the primary link between suppliers and customers and its management. These centers have become crucial hubs in the supply chain management process. Many fulfillment companies serve to combine these services for their clients.

What Needs Can These Services Provide To Clients?

Goods may move between multiple warehousing and distribution systems from the time they are initially manufactured to the time they ultimately are delivered to the end-users. The managerial logistics that ensure an efficient and timely flow between these distribution points define the objectives of warehousing and distribution.

Main Elements Of A Warehousing & Distribution Center

Storage

This is where the warehousing element comes in. Every coming that sells a product needs somewhere to store it. Most distribution centers either have their own warehousing available or work with a network of warehouses that can store their client's products where they are easily accessible.

Transportation

 

This refers to being able to deliver the product to the end destination either through a fleet of trucks, typically used in wholesale applications or through effective use of carriers such as the United States Postal Service, DHL, FedEx or UPS. Transportation is among the highest costs faced by many companies in the supply chain process. They are affected by the method used, the nature of the product, distance traveled, and delivery time requirements. The objective of distribution operations is to manage these costs through effective integration of intermodal transportation methods and information technology for in-transit tracking.

We offer Full Truckload (FTL), Less-Than-Truckload (LTL), Flatbed, Intermodal, and Specialty freight shipping options to both domestic and international clients. Our transportation networks allow us to manage regional, long-haul, and international truck shipments in and out of most major global markets.

Material Handling

Material handling refers to the movement of individual, packaged, and bulk goods using labor and machines which may involve an assortment of activities between the receiving and put-away processes. There are 10 core principles of material handling according to the Material Handling Industry of America: planning, standardization, work, ergonomic, unit load, space utilization, system, automation, environment, and life cycle cost. The objective is to ensure handling is both timely and that handled goods arrive at their destination points safely.

Fulfillment

 

The fulfillment process is to receive, process and ship orders from warehouse inventory. The monitoring of operations and performance tracking is key to improving productivity and order fulfillment accuracy.  The computerizing of warehouse operations greatly increases the ability to identify information and material flow issues and allows managers to pinpoint areas for improvement such as order picking strategies. 

Many businesses prefer to work with a one-stop solution for their warehousing and distribution needs but for cost purposes, it pays to do some research because costs can vary greatly depending on the services you need. It may make sense to have your warehousing needs met by one source and various distribution needs met by others depending on your cost alternatives and specific requirements or you may just find that a one-stop establishment can match all of your needs.

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