One of the most important things in eCommerce is deciding how you will get orders to your customers in a timely manner. When your business is growing it can be difficult to know which services are appropriate for you and supporting continued growth. There are a few options to choose from but if you are outsourcing some of the terminology can be confusing. Here we clarify the differences between warehousing and fulfilment distribution solutions.
Both of these options offer the opportunity to store and ship your products, meaning that the terms are often used interchangeably when discussing logistics and supply chain management services. Although they do differ, both are large buildings which hold inventory for businesses as a third party service provider so in order to know which suits your business it is important to know their differences.
What are Warehousing Solutions?
Ordinarily warehousing solutions refer to the storage of products for an extended period of time. A warehouse serves as a large storage space designed specifically for housing inventory and stock in bulk quantities.
There are differing types of warehouse provision, including those designed for wholesale storage and B2B commerce in large quantities. There is also warehousing space which allows for multiple businesses to rent space, and those which are used by one business only. Leasing warehousing space can be very cost effective for small and medium sized businesses.
What are Fulfilment Distribution Solutions?
Fulfilment centres are otherwise known as third party logistics (3PL) warehouses or centres which will receive, store, pick and pack and process orders ready for distribution on behalf of retailers. These centres serve as a hub for all logistics processes and make up a key part in the supply chain, ensuring online orders reach customers within an expected time frame, laid out by the retailer.
In summary a warehouse solution is generally seen as a long term storage solution for stock or inventory, whereas a distribution centre is very much a high turnover operation where stock is only meant to be stored for short time periods until it is bought and shipped to customers.
Fulfilment centre services may be an ideal option for a small business that doesn’t have the capacity to store large volumes of stock and needs assistance in delivering products directly to customers. Conversely if you are a larger business looking to store inventory for long periods of time then warehouse solutions may be more suitable to your needs as larger volumes of stock can be moved or shipped directly from the warehouse space.