Distribution Center

Distribution Center

A distribution center is a facility used by companies to serve as the storage location for products and to manage the logistics operations required to pick, pack and ship customer orders. The terms “distribution center” and “warehouse” are often used interchangeably, but they serve different functions.

Video: Cold Chain 3PL Achieves 2X in Distribution Center Productivity

Warehouses are typically defined as facilities used for long-term storage of inventory, typically used by companies that sell their products to manufacturers or wholesalers. Companies may own or lease their warehouse and may also share the space with other companies.

Distribution centers are facilities designed to handle receiving, storage and outbound order fulfillment processes to ship customer orders for traditional retailers and e-commerce companies. Distribution center operations are configured differently than long-term storage facilities, requiring different processes and warehouse automation technology and material handling equipment to move product through the pick, pack and ship process.

Specialized Distribution Center Services

Distribution centers serve different business needs and are configured accordingly. Some companies manage their own distribution centers using their own technology, equipment and staff. Other companies may own the facility but engage the services of a third-party logistics firm to come in and manage it rather than relying on in-house staff.

Other distribution centers are designed by third-party logistics provider to manage receiving and fulfillment processes for their clients. These distribution centers may process daily orders for numerous companies all within the same facility or facilities. Also, some third-party distribution centers are designed to handle the products of companies in a specific niche such as cold storage for frozen food companies.

How a Warehouse Automation Software Increases Efficiency & Reduces Costs

A flexible warehouse execution software (WES) platform is critical to cost-effectively managing distribution center operations, whether for a single company or for third-party logistics providers.

Advanced WES-WCS platforms such as Numina Group’s RDS™ WES solution, bridge the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and warehouse management system (WMS) software layer gap to optimize order flow, supervision, and execution of material handling equipment and warehouse automation technologies.

RDS performs intelligent warehouse operation management, executing business rules and directing real-time automated order fulfillment practices across receiving, picking, packing, and shipping operations. In addition to guiding employees’ activities, the WES system also controls and synchronizes the movement of warehouse automation technologies such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), automated mobile robots (AMRs), and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) tote shuttle in goods-to-person automated storage and picking applications.

System Integration Considerations

When considering warehouse automation options, it is recommended to first engage the services of an independent warehouse systems integrator with experience evaluating, implementing, and integrating WES software to operate with host systems and material handling technologies.

The Numina Group, an independent warehouse systems integrator with 35 years of experience, provides unbiased warehouse design and automation services and is also a leading developer of high-performance warehouse execution software, the RDS™ WES-WCS platform.

The goal of devising an end-to-end warehouse execution system efficiently managed with warehouse orchestration is well worth the investment and will yield the highest returns for your operation. However, it is a complex undertaking that requires a specific skill set to ensure top results.

The Numina Group is uniquely qualified to help companies design and implement a turnkey warehouse orchestration solution tailored to their needs. We bring over four decades of experience in warehouse automation design, warehouse software, material handling equipment, systems integration, and implementation services for mid-to-large-sized enterprises to every project. Our team has designed and successfully implemented over 1,000 warehouse automation projects in diverse warehouse environments throughout North America.

Learn More

Video Case Study: Merit Medical Increases Order Fulfillment Productivity by 200%

Blog: Order Picking Automation Technologies to Resolve Warehouse Labor Shortage Challenges

Blog: The True Cost of NOT Automating Your Distribution Center

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