Technically, both the warehouses and fulfilment centres are the same. But the warehouses are designed to store the inventory while the fulfilment centres enhance the experience of the customers including the processing of the order and products delivered on or before the expected time. Both of them serve different purposes but are having major differences as well. Let's have a look at a few of them.
Warehouse vs Fulfilment Centre
- Purpose: Both the warehouse & fulfilment centre serve different purposes of their own. The warehouses are simply confined to the storage of a few different inventories for an extended period. While the fulfilment centres are made for handling orders as quickly as possible. They are just not designed for retaining inventories for more than a few months but they do also provide very practical & simple fulfilment solutions for businesses.
- Serving Period: The warehouses basically serve for longer periods as compared to fulfilment centres. The reason behind this is the goal of fulfilment centres is only to keep the inventory moving in and out in a continuous flow. Also, the warehouses aren't always readily available.
- Facilities: The warehouses depend on either the retailer or the external sources for arranging the transport facilities to pick up or deliver the orders to the respective customers' locations whereas the fulfilment centres have their own transport and logistics facilities for getting the goods delivered to the customers in time with proper care.
- Pick-up frequency: For ensuring that the orders reach their respective customers on time, the fulfilment centres require carriers to pick up the goods at certain times for guaranteed same-day or one-day deliveries by the respective businesses. In contrast, the warehouses pick up on a less frequent schedule leading to less than road (LTL) and partial truckload shipments (PTL). In comparison, the warehouses come to be more cost-effective than individual shipping which may lead to delivery delays resulting in the cancellation of orders by the customers many times.
- Storage Time: Basically, the warehouses play the role of storing the products for the required time as per the contracts and all. While the fulfilment centres serve their main goal to move the inventory quickly for meeting the desired logistics performance of the retailer. For keeping the inventory in order fulfilment centres for more than a month, one has to pay higher storage fees. But you can have your inventory stored in fulfilment centres near your customers or delivery areas. It will lead to a reduction in shipping costs and transit times. Additionally, to the insurance of availability of enough products for delivery, you should proactively keep on sending more and more inventory to 3PL fulfilment centres.
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