What’s the Difference? Fulfillment Warehouse vs. Fulfillment Center

fulfillment-warehouseDepending on your storage or retail needs, you’ll decide between a fulfillment warehouse and a fulfillment center to store and fulfill your items. And although the two have much in common, business owners use them in very different ways.

While a fulfillment warehouse will generally provide secure inventory storage, protection, and delivery services for certain events and relocations, a fulfillment center is more focused on rapid processing for product-based businesses. Pyramid Logistics has been delivering on the latter for the last 25 years, helping businesses of all shapes and sizes to store, secure, and deliver their trade show materials, retail fixtures, and high-value equipment with a white glove touch. 

Learn more about the differences between fulfillment warehouses and fulfillment centers, and contact Pyramid Logistics if you require secure warehousing for high-value cargo.


What is a Fulfillment Warehouse?

A fulfillment warehouse is a large storage facility that houses inventory for multiple companies. They provide basic warehousing and storage services, helping to receive, store, and ship products on behalf of their clients. 

These warehouse types have the infrastructure to safely store all types of inventory, from retail fixtures and products to high-value items that require white glove care. The components of this infrastructure include:

  • Racking systems
  • Climate control
  • Security systems
  • Loading docks
  • Heavy equipment (i.e. forklifts)

Fulfillment warehouses also have trained staff on duty to accurately receive, store, pick, pack, and ship orders as needed. 

The primary purpose of a fulfillment warehouse is storage and order fulfillment. They pick, pack, and ship individual orders on behalf of their clients. They also offer complementary services such as labeling, product assembly, and returns processing, going the extra mile to ensure your fulfillment is in order. 


What is a Fulfillment Center?

Shifting gears, a fulfillment center takes these services a step further by offering certain value-added services. These establishments are equipped to provide specialized processing, fulfillment, and distribution services.

On top of storage, inventory control, and shipping, fulfillment centers provide services such as order transmission, order processing, customer service, and reverse logistics. Some centers also offer customized packaging, promotional inserts, and product return service.

A fulfillment center is also typically set up to handle higher order volumes than warehouses, with more frequent inventory returns. They invest heavily in automation and technology to increase efficiency, streamlining the fulfillment process. Similarly to fulfillment warehouses, centers use warehouse management systems (WMS) alongside advanced sorting systems and even robotics, in spare cases.

The focus on rapidly fulfilling orders, rather than just storing inventory, is the core difference between a fulfillment warehouse and a fulfillment center. Centers are optimized to quickly receive, process, and ship orders to meet customers’ expectations versus warehousing, which is more focused on proper packaging, secure storage,  and delivery when the time comes.


Fulfillment Warehouse vs. Fulfillment Center

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are a few key differences between fulfillment warehouses and fulfillment centers:

  1. Scope of Services: Fulfillment warehouses provide basic warehousing, while fulfillment centers offer expanded service offerings.
  2. Volume: Fulfillment centers are built to accommodate higher order volumes and frequent inventory turns.
  3. Automation: Fulfillment centers tend to utilize more advanced automation and technology due to larger order volumes.
  4. Order Processing: Fulfillment centers receive and immediately process orders for quick fulfillment, while warehouses tend to primarily store inventory until delivery is needed.
  5. Customization: While fulfillment centers can provide custom services such as branded packaging, inserts, and labeling, a fulfillment warehouse offers personalized offerings in terms of specialized packing, custom delivery depending on the sensitivity of your goods, and more.
  6. Returns: In terms of returns, a fulfillment warehouse can efficiently handle product returns similarly to fulfillment centers.
  7. Cost: Fulfillment centers typically come with a higher operating cost, but can drive sales with faster fulfillment. On the other hand, a fulfillment warehouse is best for storage before a trade show event, headquarters relocation, or for delicate items such as medical devices and large machinery.
  8. Focus: A fulfillment warehouse will focus on the storage, security, and efficient delivery of your items once needed. Fulfillment centers focus more on rapid order fulfillment. 

All-in-all, a fulfillment warehouse is your key to secure storage and shipping for trade show events, retail relocations, and delicate items that call for a white glove touch. Depending on your needs, Pyramid Logistics can lend a hand with all of these needs.


Leverage Pyramid’s Network of Fulfillment Warehouses

Not all fulfillment warehouse providers offer the same level of service and security. To keep your mind at ease, Pyramid Logistics holds over 25 years of experience in safely storing, protecting and fulfilling client inventory. We’ll provide you with a fully-secure WMS that can link to your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, transportation management system (TMS), and CRM for additional visibility and peace of mind.

Located in Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, Pyramid Logistics is equipped to deliver warehousing and logistics services near our facilities and nationwide. If you’d like to learn more about partnering with us, request a consultation by filling out a form on our website.