A warehouse is a building that should be able to serve at least three functions:
- Receiving goods
- Holding goods
- Exporting goods
Of course there are more capabilities warehouses can have as they need them. Some warehouses can weigh in items, package goods, sort out pricing, etc. But regardless, a warehouse isn’t worth much of anything if it can’t take goods in and eventually let those goods go back out.
While the purpose may stay the same, there are different types of warehouses to serve different needs amongst different businesses.
Some warehouses are defined by where they’re located and what they are used for. Others are labled by what ownership they fall under. Below we have listed a few types of warehouses you might encounter (or even use yourself) If you have other types of warehouse storage to add, feel free to place them in the comment section.
Your typical warehouse is a large, high ceiling building that consists of predominately one main storage room. Filled with an array of shelving and open lanes in between that allow for forklifts, pallet jacks, etc. These warehouses often have multiple elevated loading bays and perhaps some ground level loading doors as well.
Once upon a time it was popular to have warehouses built right by or overtop of railroads, however, this is much less common today.
These warehouses don’t simply hold goods; they prepare them for distribution. Packing warehouses will typically take products from a factory, put them in a box/container/etc., label them, and then ship them off to the next destination.
Basically an unfinished product comes in, the finished product goes out.
Display for Sale Warehouses
For a long time, warehouses would hold extra goods while a store would display a limited number of those goods. Then someone got the idea of combining the two, thus the warehouse style store was born.
Typically these stores sell in bulk (like Costco and Sam’s Club). The store is set up like a warehouse but with better lighting, wider aisles, and products on display. This allows for the store to hold more goods, sell more at a time, and keep overall prices lower.
Just like assembly lines and factories went from being manually operated to automated, warehouses are going the same way. Many warehouses today only require one or two operators to monitor equipment while conveyor belts, cranes, and programmed computers handle the rest.
Of course these are currently limited and can be quite costly to implement.