For a regular person, a warehouse is nothing more than a place to store goods. However, it is of great importance for eCommerce businesses who see it as a reliable hub to move goods - an essential part of the supply chain.
In this guide, we will take a look at the different types of warehouses and their uses. With so many different types of businesses, it only makes sense that there would be a variety of warehouse types to match.
Read on to learn more about the different types of warehouses and what they're used for.
What to Look for in a Warehouse
Before we explore the different types of warehouses, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when looking for one. Though they may serve different purposes, they should all share the qualities listed below:
- Security and safety: features like fences, security cameras, and alarm systems should all be in place
- Accessibility to major transportation routes: will make it easier to execute inbound and outbound shipping.
- Storage space: the warehouse should be able to accommodate your business' needs.
- Loading and unloading docks: will make getting goods in and out of the warehouse easier.
- Trained warehouse personnel: can handle your products and keep track of inventory.
- Technology: barcode scanners, inventory management system software, and the like.
The Importance of eCommerce Warehousing
As eCommerce grows in popularity, the demand for warehouses that can handle large amounts of inventory skyrockets. This is because traditional warehousing methods are not as efficient for handling smaller items.
Therefore, if you are an eCommerce business looking for a warehouse, be sure to find one that specialises in handling and storing small items. In addition, make sure that the warehouse is located in a strategic location that will allow you to quickly and easily ship items to your customers.
Types of Warehouses
Now that we know the importance of eCommerce warehousing let's look at the different types of warehouses. Here are the most common types:
The distribution centre industry has grown rapidly in recent years as online shopping has become more popular. A distribution centre is a warehouse used to store and distribute goods to retailers and consumers.
The purpose of the distribution centres is to optimise the flow of goods to shops and customers. In order to do this, the distribution centre must be strategically located relative to the retailers and consumers that it serves. The distribution centre must also be equipped with the necessary transportation infrastructure to efficiently move goods in and out.
Usually, a distribution centre stores items over the short term, and the inventory has a relatively high turnover. This is in contrast to a traditional warehouse, which stores items over the long term and has a lower turnover.
Public warehouses are government-owned facilities that are rented out to businesses. Public warehouses can also be used for long-term storage, as the government has a vested interest in ensuring that businesses have a place to store their goods. In addition, public warehouses often have lower rental rates.
A private warehouse is a warehouse that a single company owns. The purpose of privately owned warehouses is to store the company's inventory. Private storage facilities require significant capital investment and are primarily used by large companies. The primary benefit, of course, is that the business has total control over how the warehouse management is run and access to all its resources.
Bonded or customs warehouses are used to store imported goods that are subject to customs control. The primary aim of bonded warehouses is to provide a secure location where goods can be stored and cleared for release into free circulation. Bonded warehouses are also used for the storage of excise goods. The business must have an excise licence to store excise goods in a bonded warehouse.
If you regularly import goods, you should consider using a bonded warehouse. This will save you time and money, as you will not have to go through the customs process every time.
A cooperative warehouse is a type of warehouse owned and operated by a group of businesses. A cooperative warehouse allows member businesses to share resources and save money. To join a cooperative warehouse, a business must be approved by the other members. There are many benefits to this set-up as it allows businesses to share the cost of the warehouse, the staff and the use of equipment and transport.
Cold Storage Warehouses
Cold storage or climate-controlled warehouses are used to store perishable items. The primary aim of a cold storage warehouse is to keep the items in it at a low temperature. This is done to extend the shelf life of the items.
A cold storage warehouse must have the necessary equipment and insulation to maintain the correct temperature. It is also vital that the staff working in the warehouse are trained in how to handle perishable items.
A consolidation warehouse is a storage facility where shipments from multiple suppliers are gathered and then shipped out together to a single destination. This can save time and money on shipping costs.
A smart warehouse is an automated warehouse equipped with robotics and software that helps manage the inventory. The main goal of an automated warehouse is to improve the efficiency of warehouse operations. You may have seen the fulfilment centres at Amazon that are nearly entirely automated using robotics.
Smart warehouses have many benefits and will be the future of warehousing. Some of the benefits include:
- Increased efficiency: due to the use of robotics, an automated warehouse can process orders much faster than a traditional warehouse.
- Reduced labour costs: there is less need for human labour in smart storage facilities.
- Reduced inventory costs: with the use of the most up-to-date software, a smart warehouse can manage inventory more efficiently than a traditional warehouse.
- Increased warehouse capacity: robots can work around the clock without taking breaks.
- Reduced handling time: robots are able to pick and pack items quickly and more efficiently than a human.
Hazardous Storage Warehouse
This is a specialist type of warehouse that is used to store hazardous materials. A hazardous storage warehouse must meet a number of safety regulations and must have the correct infrastructure to store hazardous materials safely.
It is essential to use a specialist hazardous storage warehouse when storing hazardous materials such as flammable liquids or explosives.
When selecting a warehouse, it is essential to consider your supply chain and logistics needs. The type of warehouse you choose will depend on the type of goods you are storing, the size of your business, and the budget you have available.
Each has its own set of advantages to consider when making a choice. For example, a cooperative warehouse is a good option for businesses to share resources and save money. A cold storage warehouse is perfect for businesses that store perishable items. And a smart warehouse is perfect for businesses that want to improve their efficiency and reduce their labour costs.