What Is a Distribution Center?

Unlike a warehouse, a distribution center is designed for retailers and wholesalers to store, pick, pack and ship products directly to customers. A distribution center represents an all-in-one storage and shipping solution that’s essential to both online retailers and e-commerce companies.

With a distribution center, goods are typically delivered to the storage facility, offloaded and stored until an item is purchased. At that time, the order is picked, packed and shipped directly to the customer.

Distribution centers are usually located near main roadways and highways, which makes it easy for trucks to unload or pick up products for final delivery. Whereas a company might use only one warehouse to store inventory, it is not uncommon for several distribution centers to be part of a company’s broad network. With this type of setup, a business can more reliably ensure that delivery times are quick, even when serving customers located across the country.

What Distinguishes a Warehouse From a Distribution Center?

In most cases, a warehouse tends to be best suited for long-term storage of products or materials. A distribution center, on the other hand, is usually the best option to handle the movement of goods in and out of a facility quickly on an individual order basis. The type of facility you need ultimately depends on the specific undertakings of your business.

Are you an e-commerce company looking for an all-in-one storage and shipping solution, or are you looking for long-term storage for your products? Understanding the differences between warehouses and distribution centers will help you decide which facility will serve your needs best.

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