Differences Between Warehouse vs Distribution Center

Differences Between Warehouse vs Distribution Center

While the difference between a warehouse vs distribution center may not be apparent to some; they have very different meanings and duties in the logistics industry. To be able to distinguish warehouses vs distribution centers, you must first understand what each is.

A lot of logistics professionals use the terms warehouse and distribution center interchangeably. Some of them even say that there is effectively no difference between the two. So, how different is a distribution center from a warehouse?

Differences Between Warehouse vs Distribution Center

Once you know the specific roles each play in the supply chain, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which would be best suited for your business.

What is warehouse?

A warehouse typically refers to a place where goods are stored for an extended period of time. Warehouses are a little less high-energy than distribution centers since there’s not as much activity going on. Sorting items, shipping them out, and replenishing stock are all a part of the daily functions. Distribution centers can act as warehouses too, but warehouses can’t double as a distribution center.

Warehouses can be designed to receive goods directly from railways, airports, or seaports, and are usually equipped with cranes and forklifts for moving and organizing goods. Some warehouses are temperature controlled, making them well-suited for storing groceries, other perishables, and other materials including raw materials, packing foods, spare parts, and more.

What is a distribution center?

A distribution center is a little more complex than a warehouse in that it’s often described as a high-velocity operation as opposed to a static warehouse. This basically means that a distribution center offers more services to clients, whether they’re internal or external.

Usually housing products for short periods of time before they’re shipped out. Distribution centers can also offer services like:

  • transportation
  • cross-docking
  • order fulfillment
  • labeling and packaging

As well as any operations necessary to complete the order cycle—this includes

  • order processing
  • order preparation
  • shipping
  • receiving
  • returned goods processing
  • performance measurement

Warehouse vs Distribution Center

When it comes to pitting warehouses vs. distribution centers against each other and deciding which would be best for your company, there’s no universal answer. It depends on the specific needs of your company—thinking about whether you need long- or short-term storage is one of the key factors you’ll need to consider. You’ll only be able to decide which is right for you after weighing the pros and cons of each.

Nebraska Warehouse

Nebraska Warehouse Company in Omaha provides a variety of different and quality services. No matter what you are looking for, long-term customer satisfaction is our primary goal.

Our warehouse operation uses a world-class warehouse receipt and inventory control system E-Technology software. This empowers us and our customers with complete and accurate vision and control into the goods in our warehouse in real-time.