What is a warehouse

What is a warehouse and for what they are used?


Warehousing is a critical part of the global supply chain. It’s responsible for storing and distributing goods to businesses and consumers worldwide. But, with so many different types of warehouses, it is often not a simple matter to know what each one does or how they are all related. In this article, we’ll look at the most common parts of a warehouse and explain what each one does. We’ll also provide some examples of warehousing to help illustrate our points.

What is a warehouse, and for what are they used?

A warehouse is a facility where goods and materials are stored. Warehouses come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have some standard features. They are typically large, open spaces with high ceilings and many shelves or racks to store inventory. We use warehouses for various purposes, including storage, distribution, manufacturing, and assembly.

What are the different types of warehouses?

There are many different types of warehousing. Those types vary in purpose and design depending on where and how who will use them. Below, we categorize Warehouses into three broad types: manufacturing, storage, and distribution. Manufacturing warehouses, also called production warehouses, manufacture and process items. Distribution warehouses are for larger quantities of products before they move on to the next stage. 

There are lots of specific industry use areas. Some common types of warehouses are:

  • Storage warehouses: These warehouses are used to store goods and materials. They can be used to store inventory for businesses or consumers, or they can be used to store finished products before they are shipped to retailers or consumers.
  • Distribution centers: These warehouses are used to distribute goods. They are often found in supply chain networks, where they receive items from outside distributors or manufacturers and then reship them to other destinations.
  • Mixed-use warehouses: These warehouses are what many people imagine when they think of a warehouse. They encompass all types of warehousing, including storage, distribution centers, logistics facilities, manufacturing plants, research facilities, or offices buildings.
  • Automobile or vehicle warehouses: These warehouses are for the warehousing of automobiles that are not being moved by trucking companies or railroads. There’s usually limited space for forklifts inside these warehouses, so it is typically challenging to store things like larger cars or motorcycles inside these buildings.
  • Aircraft warehouse: These warehouses are specifically designed to store and maintain aircraft. They allow for large areas to be opened up so the planes can take off and land, as well as rooms where mechanics can work on certain parts of the plane.
  • Shipping container storage: Many area businesses are beginning to rent space in shipping containers for short-term storage needs. It’s very cheap compared to traditional warehouse rental space, even though it is still reasonably secure.

Click to find a discussion of yet another type – Crane-Served Warehouses for Lease in Phoenix.

What are the different parts of a warehouse?

There are many different parts or aspects of a warehouse, and each one has a specific function. Here is a list of some of the most common elements of a warehouse and what they do:

  • Warehouse manager: The warehouse manager is responsible for the overall operations of the warehouse. They make sure that the warehouse is running efficiently and that all the employees are doing their jobs correctly.
  • Receiving area: The receiving area is where the goods are received from suppliers. This area is usually equipped with scales, packaging equipment, and storage racks.
  • Storage area: The storage area is where the goods are stored until they are ready for shipment. This area is typically divided into sections based on the type of product being stored.
  • The shipping area is where the goods are prepared for shipment. This area is usually equipped with packing tables, scales, and shipping equipment.
  • Shipping/receiving dock: The shipping/ receiving area is where the goods are received from suppliers and prepared for shipment.
  • Packing areas: There are typically one or more packing areas within large warehouses that are used to prepare goods for shipment. Goods may pass through several packing areas before they’re ready to be shipped, depending on how many steps in the supply chain they have gone through.
  • Office space: Many warehousing jobs require employees to spend a significant amount of time working in an office setting, so there will almost always be an office area somewhere inside the warehouse.
  • Hazardous material storage: Many types of warehouses store products that can damage property if they spill or otherwise cause damage, such as chemicals or gasoline. These types of warehouses need to have a specific area where hazardous materials can be stored in a safe and controlled way.
  • Break areas: Warehouse employees spend a great deal of time working, so it’s important for them to get breaks occasionally. Many warehouses will provide break rooms or cafeterias where workers can relax and take a quick break from work. These areas often include microwaves and refrigerators for worker convenience.
  • Staff lounge: While not all warehouses will have staff lounges, they are becoming more common as warehouse managers strive to make the workplace friendlier for their employees.
  • Vehicle storage: Warehouses that store vehicles typically offer additional outside space for large vehicles like trucks or trains. They may also keep fuel on the premises if delivery trucks need to refuel.
  • Sales office: Warehouses may include a sales office where customers can come to place their orders for products that will be shipped from the warehouse. The sales office also usually includes space where customers can pick up items they’ve purchased through the company.
  • Cleaning areas: Many warehouses have designated areas that are used to clean everything from forklifts to large vehicles like trains or ships. These areas often require special cleaning agents and equipment, so employees must follow strict rules when working in these areas.
  • Wastewater treatment facility: Large warehouses can produce wastewater regularly that might require treatment before being released into the local water supply system. Many warehouses provide this type of treatment facility to keep the environment clean.
  • Parking lot: Warehouses often have parking lots that can accommodate vehicles that may come onto the site during working hours. These areas are usually equipped with security fencing and gates to ensure unauthorized persons cannot enter the premises.
  • Warehouse/loading docks: Docks for loading or unloading goods are vital components of warehouses, regardless of their size. It is where goods arrive and depart from the warehouse site.

Warehouses are divided into many types depending on what kind of product they address, but each has several common parts. Knowing these parts can help you better understand how a warehouse functions as an entire system rather than just as individual storage. The above is not an exhaustive list, and various companies and individuals may call things by different names.


Warehouses are an essential part of the global supply chain and come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all warehouse, but we can find some common elements in any warehousing situation. This article reviewed the most common types of warehouses and what each type does. We also reviewed various areas of the warehouse. 

If you are looking for help with your warehousing needs, don’t hesitate to contact us at Warehouse Finder. We can help anywhere in the United States.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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