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Warehouse in South Jersey, a U.S. East Coast epicenter for logistics and warehouse construction, outside Philadelphia, where trucks deliver slabs of granite. Warehouse in New Jersey where trucks deliver granite slabs.jpg
Warehouse in South Jersey, a U.S. East Coast epicenter for logistics and warehouse construction, outside Philadelphia, where trucks deliver slabs of granite.

A warehouse is a building for storing goods. [2] [3] Warehouses are used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport businesses, customs, etc. They are usually large plain buildings in industrial parks on the outskirts of cities, towns, or villages.


Warehouses usually have loading docks to load and unload goods from trucks. Sometimes warehouses are designed for the loading and unloading of goods directly from railways, airports, or seaports. They often have cranes and forklifts for moving goods, which are usually placed on ISO standard pallets and then loaded into pallet racks. Stored goods can include any raw materials, packing materials, spare parts, components, or finished goods associated with agriculture, manufacturing, and production. In India and Hong Kong, a warehouse may be referred to as a "godown". [4] There are also godowns in the Shanghai Bund.


Prehistory and ancient history

A warehouse can be defined functionally as a building in which to store bulk produce or goods (wares) for commercial purposes. The built form of warehouse structures throughout time depends on many contexts: materials, technologies, sites, and cultures.

The entrance to a warehouse (the Horrea Epagathiana) in Ostia, an ancient Roman city Ostia antica-17.jpg
The entrance to a warehouse (the Horrea Epagathiana) in Ostia, an ancient Roman city

In this sense, the warehouse postdates the need for communal or state-based mass storage of surplus food. Prehistoric civilizations relied on family- or community-owned storage pits, or 'palace' storerooms, such as at Knossos, to protect surplus food. The archaeologist Colin Renfrew argued that gathering and storing agricultural surpluses in Bronze Age Minoan 'palaces' was a critical ingredient in the formation of proto-state power. [5]

The need for warehouses developed in societies in which trade reached a critical mass requiring storage at some point in the exchange process. This was highly evident in ancient Rome, where the horreum (pl. horrea) became a standard building form. [6] The most studied examples are in Ostia, the port city that served Rome. The Horrea Galbae, a warehouse complex on the road towards Ostia, demonstrates that these buildings could be substantial, even by modern standards. Galba's horrea complex contained 140 rooms on the ground floor alone, covering an area of some 225,000 square feet (21,000 m2). As a point of reference, less than half of U.S. warehouses today are larger than 100,000 square feet (9290 m2). [7] [ unreliable source? ]

Medieval Europe

A Sust, a Middle Ages type of warehouse, in Horgen, Switzerland Horgen - Sust-Ortsmuseum - Zurichsee IMG 3829.JPG
A Sust, a Middle Ages type of warehouse, in Horgen, Switzerland

The need for a warehouse implies having quantities of goods too big to be stored in a domestic storeroom. But as attested by legislation concerning the levy of duties, some medieval merchants across Europe commonly kept goods in their large household storerooms, often on the ground floor or cellars. [8] [9] An example is the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the substantial quarters of German traders in Venice, which combined a dwelling, warehouse, market and quarters for travellers. [10]

From the Middle Ages on, dedicated warehouses were constructed around ports and other commercial hubs to facilitate large-scale trade. The warehouses of the trading port Bryggen in Bergen, Norway (now a World Heritage site), demonstrate characteristic European gabled timber forms dating from the late Middle Ages, though what remains today was largely rebuilt in the same traditional style following great fires in 1702 and 1955.

Industrial revolution

Historic Atlantic Dock warehouse in Brooklyn in the 1800s Atlantic Dock, Brooklyn, ca. 1872-1887. (5833485842).jpg
Historic Atlantic Dock warehouse in Brooklyn in the 1800s

During the industrial revolution of the mid 18th century, the function of warehouses evolved and became more specialised. The mass production of goods launched by the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries fuelled the development of larger and more specialised warehouses, usually located close to transport hubs on canals, at railways and portside. Specialisation of tasks is characteristic of the factory system, which developed in British textile mills and potteries in the mid-late 1700s. Factory processes speeded up work and deskilled labour, bringing new profits to capital investment.

Warehouses also fulfill a range of commercial functions besides simple storage, exemplified by Manchester's cotton warehouses and Australian wool stores: receiving, stockpiling and despatching goods; displaying goods for commercial buyers; packing, checking and labelling orders, and dispatching them.

The utilitarian architecture of warehouses responded fast to emerging technologies. Before and into the nineteenth century, the basic European warehouse was built of load-bearing masonry walls or heavy-framed timber with a suitable external cladding. Inside, heavy timber posts supported timber beams and joists for the upper levels, rarely more than four to five stories high.

19th-century warehouses in Gloucester docks in the United Kingdom, originally used to store imported corn GlosDocks.jpg
19th-century warehouses in Gloucester docks in the United Kingdom, originally used to store imported corn

A gabled roof was conventional, with a gate in the gable facing the street, rail lines or port for a crane to hoist goods into the window-gates on each floor below. Convenient access for road transport was built-in via very large doors on the ground floor. If not in a separate building, office and display spaces were located on the ground or first floor.

Technological innovations of the early 19th century changed the shape of warehouses and the work performed inside them: cast iron columns and later, moulded steel posts; saw-tooth roofs; and steam power. All (except steel) were adopted quickly and were in common use by the middle of the 19th century.

Strong, slender cast iron columns began to replace masonry piers or timber posts to carry levels above the ground floor. As modern steel framing developed in the late 19th century, its strength and constructibility enabled the first skyscrapers. Steel girders replaced timber beams, increasing the span of internal bays in the warehouse.

The saw-tooth roof brought natural light to the top story of the warehouse. It transformed the shape of the warehouse, from the traditional peaked hip or gable to an essentially flat roof form that was often hidden behind a parapet. Warehouse buildings now became strongly horizontal. Inside the top floor, the vertical glazed pane of each saw-tooth enabled natural lighting over displayed goods, improving buyer inspection.

Hoists and cranes driven by steam power expanded the capacity of manual labour to lift and move heavy goods.

20th century

Aisle with pallets on storage racks in a modern warehouse Pallet racks.jpg
Aisle with pallets on storage racks in a modern warehouse

Two new power sources, hydraulics, and electricity, re-shaped warehouse design and practice at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century.

Public hydraulic power networks were constructed in many large industrial cities around the world in the 1870s-80s, exemplified by Manchester. They were highly effective to power cranes and lifts, whose application in warehouses served taller buildings and enabled new labour efficiencies.

Public electricity networks emerged in the 1890s. They were used at first mainly for lighting and soon to electrify lifts, making possible taller, more efficient warehouses. It took several decades for electrical power to be distributed widely throughout cities in the western world.

20th-century technologies made warehousing ever more efficient. Electricity became widely available and transformed lighting, security, lifting, and transport from the 1900s. The internal combustion engine, developed in the late 19th century, was installed in mass-produced vehicles from the 1910s. It not only reshaped transport methods but enabled many applications as a compact, portable power plant, wherever small engines were needed.

Adams & Bazemore Cotton Warehouse in Macon, GA, c. 1877 Adams & Bazemore Cotton Warehouse, 4th near Poplar, circa 1877 - DPLA - 7e9ab74033df525c16cfacddfb85955f.jpeg
Adams & Bazemore Cotton Warehouse in Macon, GA, c.1877

The forklift truck was invented in the early 20th century and came into wide use after World War II. Forklifts transformed the possibilities of multi-level pallet racking of goods in taller, single-level steel-framed buildings for higher storage density. The forklift, and its load fixed to a uniform pallet, enabled the rise of logistic approaches to storage in the later 20th century.

Always a building of function, in the late 20th century warehouses began to adapt to standardization, mechanization, technological innovation, and changes in supply chain methods. Here in the 21st century, we are currently witnessing the next major development in warehousing– automation.

Warehouse layout

A good warehouse layout consist of 5 areas:


India House, Manchester. India House 5.JPG
India House, Manchester.

Warehouses are generally considered industrial buildings [12] and are usually located in industrial districts or zones (such as the outskirts of a city). [13] LoopNet categorizes warehouses using the "industrial" property type. [14] Craftsman Book Company's 2018 National Building Cost Manual lists "Warehouses" under the "Industrial Structures Section." [15] In the UK, warehouses are classified under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as the industrial category B8 Storage and distribution. [16] [17]

Types of warehouses include storage warehouses, distribution centers (including fulfillment centers and truck terminals), retail warehouses, cold storage warehouses, and flex space. [18] [19]

Retail warehouses

The Pickles Building 101 Portland Street, Manchester 101 Portland Street, Manchester.jpg
The Pickles Building 101 Portland Street, Manchester

These displayed goods for the home trade. This would be finished goods- such as the latest cotton blouses or fashion items. Their street frontage was impressive, so they took the styles of Italianate Palazzi. Warehouses are now more technologically oriented and help in linking stocks with the retail store in an accurate way.

Richard Cobden's construction in Manchester's Mosley Street was the first palazzo warehouse. There were already seven warehouses on Portland Street when S. & J. Watts & Co. commenced building the elaborate Watts Warehouse of 1855, [20] [21] but four more were opened before it was finished.

The Main Benefits of Retail Warehouse

Challenges of Retail Warehouse

Cool warehouses and cold storage

Cold storage preserves agricultural products. Refrigerated storage helps in eliminating sprouting, rotting and insect damage. Edible products are generally not stored for more than one year. Several perishable products require a storage temperature as low as −25 °C.

Cold storage helps stabilize market prices and evenly distribute goods both on demand and timely basis. The farmers get the opportunity of producing cash crops to get remunerative prices. The consumers get the supply of perishable commodities with lower fluctuation of prices.

Ammonia and Freon compressors are commonly used in cold storage warehouses to maintain the temperature. Ammonia refrigerant is cheaper, easily available, and has a high latent heat of evaporation, but it is also highly toxic and can form an explosive mixture when mixed with fuel oil. Insulation is also important, to reduce the loss of cold and to keep different sections of the warehouse at different temperatures.

There are two main types of refrigeration system used in cold storage warehouses: vapor absorption systems (VAS) and vapor-compression systems (VCS). VAS, although comparatively costlier to install, is more economical in operation.[ citation needed ]

The temperature necessary for preservation depends on the storage time required and the type of product. In general, there are three groups of products, foods that are alive (e.g. fruits and vegetables), foods that are no longer alive and have been processed in some form (e.g. meat and fish products), and commodities that benefit from storage at controlled temperature (e.g. beer, tobacco).

Location is important for the success of a cold storage facility. It should be in close proximity to a growing area as well as a market,[ citation needed ] be easily accessible for heavy vehicles, and have an uninterrupted power supply.

Plant attached cold storage is the preferred option for some manufacturers who want to keep their cold storage in house. Products can be transported via conveyor straight from manufacturing to a dedicated cold storage facility on-site. [26]

Overseas warehouses

These catered for the overseas trade. They became the meeting places for overseas wholesale buyers where printed and plain could be discussed and ordered. [20] Trade in cloth in Manchester was conducted by many nationalities.

Behrens Warehouse is on the corner of Oxford Street and Portland Street. It was built for Louis Behrens & Son by P Nunn in 1860. It is a four-storey predominantly red brick build with 23 bays along Portland Street and 9 along Oxford Street. [21] The Behrens family were prominent in banking and in the social life of the German Community in Manchester. [27] [28]

Overseas warehouse refers to the storage facilities established overseas. In cross-border trade e-commerce, overseas warehouses refer to domestic enterprises transporting commodities to target market countries through bulk transportation, establishing warehouses and storing commodities locally, then, according to the local sales order, the one-stop control and management service of sorting, packaging and distribution will be carried out directly from the local warehouse in a timely manner. According to different operating subjects, overseas warehouses can be divided into 1. Self-operated overseas warehouses self-operated overseas warehouses mode refers to overseas warehouses built and operated by export cross-border e-commerce enterprises, it is a logistics mode that only provides logistics services such as warehousing and distribution for the goods sold by the enterprise, that is, the entire cross-border e-commerce logistics system is controlled by the export cross-border e-commerce enterprise itself. 2. Third-party public service overseas warehouse third-party public service overseas warehouse refers to an overseas warehouse built and operated by a third-party logistics enterprise, and can provide customs clearance and warehousing quality inspection for many export cross-border e-commerce enterprises, the logistics mode of receiving orders, sorting orders, multi-channel delivery, follow-up transportation and other logistics services means that the entire cross-border e-commerce logistics system is controlled by third-party logistics enterprises. What are the common businesses in overseas warehouses? 1. In short, the seller sends the bulk stocking products from the country to the overseas warehouse abroad, and then the staff of the overseas warehouse counts the shelves. When a buyer places an order, the seller only needs to issue the delivery instruction in the overseas warehouse system, and the warehouse personnel will realize local delivery in foreign countries according to the instruction. 2. If there is a problem with the seller's account or the label is wrong, the goods need to be sent to the overseas warehouse for replacement and re-sale. 3. The most common situation of transfer is to combine FBA with third-party overseas warehouses, first store goods in overseas warehouses, and regularly or irregularly transfer them (Replenishment) FBA, while shipping from FBA, while shipping from overseas warehouses 4. Handling value-added services such as return and exchange. [29]

By using an overseas warehouse, the delivery speed has certain advantages, which can improve the product price and increase gross profit to a certain extent. At the same time, it can also improve the consumer experience and stimulate the second consumption, so as to improve the overall sales. [30]

Packing warehouses

Modern term: Fulfillment house

The main purpose of packing warehouses was the picking, checking, labelling and packing of goods for export. [20] The packing warehouses: Asia House, India House and Velvet House along Whitworth Street in Manchester were some of the tallest buildings of their time. See List of packing houses. The more efficient the pick and pack process is, the faster items can be shipped to customers. Pick and pack warehousing is the process in which fulfillment centers choose products from shipments and re-package them for distribution. When shipments are received by the warehouse, items are stored and entered into an inventory management system for tracking and accountability. Picking refers to selecting the right quantities of products from warehouse storage. Packing, on the other hand, happens when those products are placed in shipping boxes with appropriate packaging materials, labeled, documented and shipped. [31]

Railway warehouses

Warehouses were built close to the major stations in railway hubs. The first railway warehouse to be built was opposite the passenger platform at the terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. There was an important group of warehouses around London Road station (now Piccadilly station).In the 1890s the Great Northern Railway Company's warehouse was completed on Deansgate: this was the last major railway warehouse to be built. [20]

The London Warehouse Picadilly was one of four warehouses built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in about 1865 to service the new London Road Station. It had its own branch to the Ashton Canal. This warehouse was built of brick with stone detailing. It had cast iron columns with wrought iron beams. [32]

As part of its diversification activities, CWC developed a warehousing facility of Railway land along a Railway siding as a Pilot Project at Whitefield Goods Terminal at Bangalore after entering into an agreement with Indian Railway. This project started operation since February 2002 and resulted in attracting additional traffic to the Railways, improvement in customer service and an increase in the volumes of cargo handled by CWC. The success of this project led CWC to consider developing Railside Warehousing Complexes at other centers also throughout near identified Rail Terminals. [33]

Canal warehouses

All these warehouse types can trace their origins back to the canal warehouses which were used for trans-shipment and storage. Castle field warehouses in Manchester are of this type and important as they were built at the terminus of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761.The Duke's Warehouse in the Castle field Canal Basin in Manchester was the first canal warehouse to have the classic design features of internal canal arms, multi-storeys, split level loading, terracing and water powered hoists, and was built between 1769 and 1771. [34] The Castle field terminus of the Bridgewater Canal has attracted a considerable amount of interest from historians since the 1860s, and from archaeologists since the 1960s.These studies have developed two themes; the complexity and success (or failure) of the water management systems built by James Brindley, and the physical development of the basin as a ware-house zones. [35]


The loading docks for truck transport at Koivunen Oy company in Malmi, Helsinki, Finland Helsinki Malmi Koivunen Oy 1.jpg
The loading docks for truck transport at Koivunen Oy company in Malmi, Helsinki, Finland

A customised storage building, a warehouse enables a business to stockpile goods, e.g., to build up a full load prior to transport, or hold unloaded goods before further distribution, or store goods like wine and cheese that require maturation. As a place for storage, the warehouse has to be secure, convenient, and as spacious as possible, according to the owner's resources, the site and contemporary building technology.  Before mechanised technology developed, warehouse functions relied on human labor, using mechanical lifting aids like pulley systems.

Breaking it down, warehouse operations covers a number of important areas, from the receiving, organization, fulfillment, and distribution processes. These areas include:

Storage and shipping systems

Some of the most common warehouse storage systems are:

A "piece pick" is a type of order selection process where a product is picked and handled in individual units and placed in an outer carton, tote or another container before shipping. Catalog companies and internet retailers are examples of predominantly piece-pick operations. Their customers rarely order in pallet or case quantities; instead, they typically order just one or two pieces of one or two items. Several elements make up the piece-pick system. They include the order, the picker, the pick module, the pick area, handling equipment, the container, the pick method used and the information technology used. [38] Every movement inside a warehouse must be accompanied by a work order. Warehouse operation can fail when workers move goods without work orders, or when a storage position is left unregistered in the system.

One of the most important factor to be considered while designing a warehouse storage plan is the Product Volume. The Products which has high demand and the ones that has to reach the customer or the next workstation in a short span of time has to be kept in places like low storage racks or even near primary aisles, which greatly minimizes the distance to be moved and thus the time consumed. Opposingly, the less frequent moved products can be placed somewhere distant from the primary aisles or even the higher storage racks.

Material direction and tracking in a warehouse can be coordinated by a Warehouse Management System (WMS), a database driven computer program. The development of work procedures goes hard in hand with training warehouse personnel. Most firms implement a WMS to standardize work procedure and encourage best practice. These systems facilitate management in their daily planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling the utilization of available resources, to move and store materials into, within, and out of a warehouse, while supporting staff in the performance of material movement and storage in and around a warehouse. Logistics personnel use the WMS to improve warehouse efficiency by directing pathways and to maintain accurate inventory by recording warehouse transactions.

Automation and optimization

An automatic storage warehouse for small parts Automatisches Kleinteilelager.jpg
An automatic storage warehouse for small parts

Some warehouses are completely automated, and require only operators to work and handle all the task. Pallets and product move on a system of automated conveyors, cranes and automated storage and retrieval systems coordinated by programmable logic controllers and computers running logistics automation software.[ citation needed ] These systems are often installed in refrigerated warehouses where temperatures are kept very cold to keep the product from spoiling. This is especially true in electronics warehouses that require specific temperatures to avoid damaging parts. Automation is also common where land is expensive, as automated storage systems can use vertical space efficiently. These high-bay storage areas are often more than 10 meters (33 feet) high, with some over 20 meters (65 feet) high. Automated storage systems can be built up to 40m high.

For a warehouse to function efficiently, the facility must be properly slotted. Slotting addresses which storage medium a product is picked from (pallet rack or carton flow), where each item is placed for storage, and how items are picked (pick-to-light, pick-to-voice, or pick-to-paper). With a proper slotting plan, a warehouse can ensure that fast moving items are stored in the most accessible areas or closest to dock areas, [39] improve its inventory rotation requirements, such as first in, first out (FIFO) and last in, first out (LIFO) systems, control labor costs and increase productivity. [40]

Pallet racks are commonly used to organize a warehouse. It is important to know the dimensions of racking and the number of bays needed as well as the dimensions of the product to be stored. [41] Clearance should be accounted for if using a forklift or pallet mover to move inventory.

To help speed up the receiving of goods, Radio-frequency identification (RFID) portals have been installed at the doors of the warehouses for instant verification of product information like the SKUs and their quantities. RFID technology also ensures precise inventory management and easy goods and equipment tracking. [42]


An article by Thomas W. Speh published around 1990 and considered significant by the Warehousing Forum stated that a costing system for warehousing should take account of the space allocated for storage per period of time, and the time taken for handling materials as they are admitted to or discharged from the warehouse. Speh advises businesses on the factors to be taken into account in building up a "handling price" and a "storage price", which will enable an operator to make a profit and take account of risks such as unused space, at the same time as managing buyers' expectations of a fair price. [43]

Modern warehouses commonly use a system of wide aisle pallet racking to store goods which can be loaded and unloaded using forklift trucks.

Traditional warehousing has declined since the last decades of the 20th century, with the gradual introduction of Just In Time (JIT) techniques. The JIT system promotes product delivery directly from suppliers to consumer without the use of warehouses. However, with the gradual implementation of offshore outsourcing and offshoring in about the same time period, the distance between the manufacturer and the retailer (or the parts manufacturer and the industrial plant) grew considerably in many domains, necessitating at least one warehouse per country or per region in any typical supply chain for a given range of products.

Recent retailing trends have led to the development of warehouse-style retail stores. These high-ceiling buildings display retail goods on tall, heavy-duty industrial racks rather than conventional retail shelving. Typically, items ready for sale are on the bottom of the racks, and crated or palletized inventory is in the upper rack. Essentially, the same building serves as both a warehouse and retail store.

Another trend relates to vendor-managed inventory (VMI). This gives the vendor the control to maintain the level of stock in the store. This method has its own issue that the vendor gains access to the warehouse.

Large exporters and manufacturers use warehouses as distribution points for developing retail outlets in a particular region or country. This concept reduces end cost to the consumer and enhances the production sale ratio.

Cross-docking is a specialized type of distribution center (DC) in that little or no inventory is stored and product is received, processed (if needed) and shipped within a short timeframe. As in warehousing, there are different types of cross-docks.

Reverse logistics is another type of warehousing that has become popular for environmental reasons. The term refers to items that are going from the end user back to the distributor or manufacturer.[ citation needed ]


There are several non-profit organizations which are focused on imparting knowledge, education and research in the field of warehouse management and its role in the supply chain industry. The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) [44] and International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) [45] in Illinois, United States. They provide professional certification and continuing education programs for the industry in the country. The Australian College of Training have government funded programs to provide personal development and continuation training in warehousing certs II – V (Diploma), they operate in Western Australia online and face to face, or Australia wide for online only courses.


Warehousing has unique health and safety challenges and has been recognized by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the United States as a priority industry sector in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to identify and provide intervention strategies regarding occupational health and safety issues. [46] [47]

Creating a safe and productive warehouse setting starts with a culture of safety. This culture should be reinforced by the managers at all levels, especially executives and owners.

Creating a safe working environment begins with a safety plan that covers all parts of the warehouse and applies to all employees. Owners and managers should expect to put resources of time and money toward safety and willingly build these costs into the overall budget.

Regular training and inspections should be done to ensure that all employees are knowledgeable in fire safety processes and that all fire safety measures are in place and functioning as required.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Logistics</span> Management of the flow of resources

Logistics is a part of supply chain management that deals with the efficient forward and reverse flow of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption according to the needs of customers. Logistics management is a component that holds the supply chain together. The resources managed in logistics may include tangible goods such as materials, equipment, and supplies, as well as food and other consumable items.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Inventory</span> Goods held for resale

Inventory or stock refers to the goods and materials that a business holds for the ultimate goal of resale, production or utilisation.

Logistics engineering is a field of engineering dedicated to the scientific organization of the purchase, transport, storage, distribution, and warehousing of materials and finished goods. Logistics engineering is a complex science that considers trade-offs in component/system design, repair capability, training, spares inventory, demand history, storage and distribution points, transportation methods, etc., to ensure the "thing" is where it's needed, when it's needed, and operating the way it's needed all at an acceptable cost.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Forklift</span> Powered Industrial Truck

A forklift is a powered industrial truck used to lift and move materials over short distances. The forklift was developed in the early 20th century by various companies, including Clark, which made transmissions, and Yale & Towne Manufacturing, which made hoists. Since World War II, the use and development of the forklift truck have greatly expanded worldwide. Forklifts have become an indispensable piece of equipment in manufacturing and warehousing. In 2013, the top 20 manufacturers worldwide posted sales of $30.4 billion, with 944,405 machines sold.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Distribution (marketing)</span> Making products available to customers


<span class="mw-page-title-main">Logistics automation</span> Application of computer software or automated machinery

Logistics automation is the application of computer software or automated machinery to improve the efficiency of logistics operations. Typically this refers to operations within a warehouse or distribution center, with broader tasks undertaken by supply chain engineering systems and enterprise resource planning systems.

Cross-docking is a logistical practice of Just-In-Time Scheduling where materials are delivered directly from a manufacturer or a mode of transportation to a customer or another mode of transportation. Cross-docking often aims to minimise overheads related to storing goods between shipments or while awaiting a customer's order. This may be done to change the type of conveyance, to sort material intended for different destinations, or to combine material from different origins into transport vehicles with the same or similar destinations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Distribution center</span> Building stocked with goods for delivery

A distribution center for a set of products is a warehouse or other specialized building, often with refrigeration or air conditioning, which is stocked with products (goods) to be redistributed to retailers, to wholesalers, or directly to consumers. A distribution center is a principal part, the order processing element, of the entire order fulfillment process. Distribution centers are usually thought of as being demand driven. A distribution center can also be called a warehouse, a DC, a fulfillment center, a cross-dock facility, a bulk break center, and a package handling center. The name by which the distribution center is known is commonly based on the purpose of the operation. For example, a "retail distribution center" normally distributes goods to retail stores, an "order fulfillment center" commonly distributes goods directly to consumers, and a cross-dock facility stores little or no product but distributes goods to other destinations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Automated guided vehicle</span> Type of portable robot

An automated guided vehicle (AGV), different from an autonomous mobile robot (AMR), is a portable robot that follows along marked long lines or wires on the floor, or uses radio waves, vision cameras, magnets, or lasers for navigation. They are most often used in industrial applications to transport heavy materials around a large industrial building, such as a factory or warehouse. Application of the automatic guided vehicle broadened during the late 20th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Automated storage and retrieval system</span> Robotic warehouse for physical objects

An automated storage and retrieval system consists of a variety of computer-controlled systems for automatically placing and retrieving loads from defined storage locations. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are typically used in applications where:

Supply-chain optimization (SCO) aims to ensure the optimal operation of a manufacturing and distribution supply chain. This includes the optimal placement of inventory within the supply chain, minimizing operating costs including manufacturing costs, transportation costs, and distribution costs. Optimization often involves the application of mathematical modelling techniques using computer software. It is often considered to be part of supply chain engineering, although the latter is mainly focused on mathematical modelling approaches, whereas supply chain optimization can also be undertaken using qualitative, management based approaches.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pallet racking</span> Material handling storage aid system designed to store materials on pallets

Pallet rack is a material handling storage aid system designed to store materials on pallets. Although there are many varieties of pallet racking, all types allow for the storage of palletized materials in horizontal rows with multiple levels. Forklift trucks are usually required to place the loaded pallets onto the racks for storage. Since the Second World War, pallet racks have become a ubiquitous element of most modern warehouses, manufacturing facilities, retail centers, and other storage and distribution facilities. All types of pallet racking increase storage density of the stored goods. Costs associated with the racking increases with increasing storage density.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Material-handling equipment</span> Machinery and equipment used for transporting objects and materials

Material handling equipment (MHE) is mechanical equipment used for the movement, storage, control, and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. The different types of equipment can be classified into four major categories: transport equipment, positioning equipment, unit load formation equipment, and storage equipment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unit load</span> Size of assemblage into which individual items are combined for ease of storage & handling

The term unit load refers to the size of an assemblage into which a number of individual items are combined for ease of storage and handling, for example a pallet load represents a unit load which can be moved easily with a pallet jack or forklift truck, or a container load represents a unit for shipping purposes. A unit load can be packed tightly into a warehouse rack, intermodal container, truck or boxcars, yet can be easily broken apart at a distribution point, usually a distribution center, wholesaler, or retail store for sale to consumers or for use.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Material handling</span> Sub-discipline of mechanical engineering

Material handling involves short-distance movement within the confines of a building or between a building and a transportation vehicle. It uses a wide range of manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment and includes consideration of the protection, storage, and control of materials throughout their manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Material handling can be used to create time and place utility through the handling, storage, and control of waste, as distinct from manufacturing, which creates form utility by changing the shape, form, and makeup of material.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Humanitarian logistics</span>

Although logistics has been mostly utilized in commercial supply chains, it is also an important tool in disaster relief operations. Humanitarian logistics is a branch of logistics which specializes in organizing the delivery and warehousing of supplies during natural disasters or complex emergencies to the affected area and people. However, this definition focuses only on the physical flow of goods to final destinations, and in reality, humanitarian logistics is far more complicated and includes forecasting and optimizing resources, managing inventory, and exchanging information. Thus, a good broader definition of humanitarian logistics is the process of planning, implementing and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow and storage of goods and materials, as well as related information, from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of alleviating the suffering of vulnerable people.

Order processing is the process or work-flow associated with the picking, packing, and delivery of the packed items to a shipping carrier and is a key element of order fulfillment. Order processing operations or facilities are commonly called “distribution centers” or “DC 's”. There are wide variances in the level of automation associating to the “pick-pack-and-ship” process, ranging from completely manual and paper-driven to highly automated and completely mechanized; computer systems overseeing this process are generally referred to as Warehouse Management Systems or “WMS”.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Widdowson Group</span> British logistics company

Widdowson Group was a family owned and operated company in the British logistics industry. They offered various services based around the Logistics industry and Road Transportation services.

In the final half of the 19th century Manchester's reputation as a financial and commercial centre was boosted by the unprecedented number of warehouses erected in the city centre. In 1806 there were just over 1,000 but by 1815 this had almost doubled to 1,819. Manchester was dubbed "warehouse city". The earliest were built around King Street although by 1850 warehouses had spread to Portland Street and later to Whitworth Street. They are direct descendants of the canal warehouses of Castlefield.

Warehouse execution systems (WES) are computerized systems used in warehouses and distribution centers to manage and orchestrate the physical flow of products from receiving through shipping. Warehouses are storage facilities for raw materials and parts used in manufacturing operations; distribution centers (DCs) are facilities that store and distribute finished goods to retail locations, consumers, and other end customers.


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Further reading