Warehousing & Distribution
The business of providing warehousing and distribution services has evolved in recent years. In the past, these tended to revove around standard, cookie-cutter types of offerings. Nowadays, warehousing and distribution has become more flexible and responsive to the needs of manufacturers and shippers. Warehousing is no longer thought of as the static storage of goods. Rather, products are strategically placed to best satisfy customer wants and needs.
Distribution is also no longer as cut and dried, thanks primarily to the trend toward just-in-time deliveries of merchandize and the growth of e-commerce which has required the delivery of items directly to consumers.
Many companies rely on third-party logisitcs providers (3PLs). for these services. The service offerings are often diverse and flexible and can be customized to the needs of shippers.
Warehousing facilities often specialize in specific types of products. Referigerated facilities have invested in the equipment required to keep perishable goods fresh. Food-grade facilities in the United States must be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration and are held to extemely high standards of cleanliness.
To the extent that shippers themselves are not operating these facilities, they rely upon 3PLs. Shippers with diverse warehousing and distribution needs will also often find 3PLs in a position to coordinate their complete strategy in this area.