What is a warehouse?

shutterstock_102326149Independent warehouses are a vital part of the economy. We manage the movement of our nation’s freight and keep goods safe through the supply chain. We must expand and contract to match our customers’ – and their end consumers’ – trends and seasonal cycles. We employ a growing number of people – and provide them opportunities for advancement. We best serve our customers by identifying efficiencies that allow goods and materials to move with more velocity from creation to the end consumer while navigating the legislative and regulatory waters that affect goods movement. Our unique position in the supply chain allows us to understand just how goods move across the country – and exactly where the system needs to focus to ensure smooth commerce in the future. 

Our industry employs approximately 700,000 individuals and operates more than 1 billion square feet of warehouse space. As a testament to the importance and strength of our industry, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that warehouse-based 3PLs are among the few employers that have experienced positive job growth during the great recession: BLS data show that the employment has steadily increased with average wages of $18 per hour[1].

Career ladders in public warehouses take many paths: from entry-level positions to supervisors and managers; from information technology professionals to truck drivers; from regulatory experts to accounting and financial professionals and executives. In fact, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Los Angeles and Alameda Counties in California recognized the warehouse-based 3PL industry’s strong promote-from-within opportunities.

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers who outsource save time and money. Outsourcing warehouse logistics operations to an IWLA member adds to the bottom line for both the retailer and manufacturer through accurate, well-managed inventory and supply chain solutions. Outsourcing reduces the need for costly real estate to hold inventory These days, warehouses are not just storage of goods. There are a lot of activities, technologies and systems running through a warehouse.

shutterstock_144470425Value-added services are become more frequent in warehouses. When a manufacturer or distributor utilizes a warehouse, the products are not always in consumer-friendly conditions. The products may come to a warehouse as a bulk load or in cases of e-commerce, may need to be assembled with other products before they leave the warehouse. IWLA members provide the following value-added services.

Technology largely contributes to a warehouse’s ability to provide value-added services. Many warehouses operate on a warehouse management system software, that tracks inventory, orders and provides data about the products stored—and can be transmitted back to the manufacturers.


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