A warehouse is a building for storing goods. Warehouses are used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport businesses, customs, etc. They are usually large plain buildings in industrial parks on the outskirts of cities, towns, or villages.

Private Warehouses

This allows companies to keep a closer eye on inventory levels, product flows, and shipping. Additionally, some businesses that own private warehouses adopt a hybrid model, wherein they lease extra open space to other companies to store their goods. This means they act as third-party logistics (3PLs) and may even offer value-added fulfillment services to help subsidize the costs of running the warehouse.

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Public Warehouses

Most warehouses of this type operate on a pallet in/pallet out model where billing usually occurs monthly or yearly and is calculated by the pallet or the square footage used. Overall, public warehouses are cheaper than private warehouses. This makes them ideal for newly-established or small businesses like startups and those that operate on a seasonal basis.

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Fulfillment Centers

Technically a type of public warehouse, fulfillment centers are a popular warehousing solution for E-commerce companies looking for “turnkey” order fulfillment services. This is because a fulfillment center encompasses all aspects of logistics – from receiving, storage, processing, and filling customer orders, to picking, packing, and shipping.

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Contract Warehouses

Like fulfillment centers, contract warehouses are a subtype of public warehouses. The difference is that, instead of operating on a first-come, first-serve basis like a basic public warehouse, contract warehouses guarantee storage space whenever it’s needed. Essentially, contract warehousing is on-demand warehousing that connects businesses that need storage with warehouses that have free space, and often in real-time.

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Cooperative Warehouses

Cooperative warehouses are owned, run by, and mostly service co-ops such as farmers, wineries, retail, and natural food stores. For example, take Co-op Partners Warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota. It’s a combined investment, which makes it easier for businesses to get storage if they don't have all the capital to construct a warehouse. And although co-ops get the best pricing, some cooperative warehouses do allow non-cooperative businesses to store their goods.

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Climate-Controlled Warehouses

Many people wonder: “What are climate-controlled warehouses?” Climate-controlled warehouses store perishable or other sensitive items that require specific temperatures and/or moisture ranges. They use specialized HVAC systems, dehumidifiers, thermostats, and insulation to maintain internal airflow, temperature, and moisture levels. These systems and controls help limit the loss of integrity when storing items like produce, meat, artwork, and pharmaceuticals.

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Smart Warehouses

Smart warehouses - also called automated warehouses - make heavy use of automated technology to replace manual warehousing processes.

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