From storage site to modern hub

Even in the Stone Age, caves served as places to temporarily store goods. Warehouses still fulfill this function today. But they also do much more. A warehouse, for example, can also be used to redirect goods to other routes within the network - even without having to store any goods at all. Depending on the function, various types of warehouses have been developed to perform the job.

Warehouse functions

Generally speaking, a warehouse is a hub in a logistics network where goods are temporarily stored or rerouted to a different channel in the network.
A basic distinction can be made among supply, handling and distribution warehouses. However, mixed forms may also be used [1].

 

Supply warehouse

Supply warehouses are usually part of the production operation and are used to store raw materials, auxiliary supplies and other resources needed for production as well as semi-finished products and finished goods used during particular seasons [2].

 

Transshipment warehouse

Transshipment warehouses house goods for short periods between their transfer from one means of transportation to another. They are frequently operated by logistics providers and retail companies.
With so-called cross-docking Cross docking , manufacturers send goods that have been pre-picked for particular retail outlets to the retailer’s warehouse. Here, shipments from various manufacturers for the respective retail outlet are batched and then delivered together. This dispenses with the need to pick goods bound for separate retail outlets in the retailer’s central warehouse. All or most of the inventory is eliminated as well [2].

 

Distribution warehouse

The composition of the flow of goods is changed in the distribution warehouse. Distribution warehouses are classified into central, regional and local distribution warehouses depending on the area they serve. Central distribution warehouses are generally referred to as central warehouses, while decentralized regional or local distribution warehouses are called supply or delivery warehouses. In supply warehouses, goods from various suppliers are collected and distributed to one or more production or retail operations. In delivery warehouses, goods from production are stored before being delivered to customers [2].

Recommended reading

World-Class Warehousing and Materials Handling | Frazelle 2002

Warehouse Management: Automation and Organisation of Warehouse and Order Picking Systems | ten Hompel / Schmidt 2006

References

[1] Stichwort „Lagerarten“ | Schulte 1997. In: Vahlens Großes Logistik Lexikon | Bloech / Ihde (Hrsg.)
[2] Logistiksysteme | Pfohl 2004

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