Differences Between a Depot & a Warehouse

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Merchandise is stacked on warehouse shelves.
Merchandise is stacked on warehouse shelves. (Image: Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images)

In a business setting, depots and warehouses cater to customer supply and demand. They keep the wheels of commerce running smoothly by ensuring that turnover is fast and efficient and that customers receive products in good working order. However, while goods are stored in warehouses, they are repaired, maintained or distributed to customers after they arrive in a depot.

Function

A depot is a facility for receiving, organizing and distributing merchandise, whereas a warehouse stores goods temporarily. Goods may be moved from a warehouse to a depot to be inspected, segregated and dispatched after orders are received from customers.

Merchandise

Companies that make electronic goods maintain and repair equipment in a depot facility. Faulty computers, for example, might be sent to a depot for repair, while new computers are kept in a warehouse. Some companies have their own depots for maintaining and repairing faulty equipment. A freight company, for example, might service and repair vehicles in an in-house depot because it is cheaper and more efficient.

Staff Responsibilities

Manual workers in depots and warehouses must be trained to lift heavy boxes and equipment, while clerical and administrative staff keep an inventory of good and ensure that they meet customer and client demands. However, warehouse staff deal directly with suppliers, while depot workers must ensure that customers receive well-packaged products in perfect condition.

Military Definitions

A military facility for receiving and storing equipment and provisions is known as a depot rather than a warehouse. A military depot is a regiment’s headquarters, housing and training recruits and caring for the regiment’s needs.

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