We let them to suppliers and re-sellers and used in their own distribution activity. For instance, a major retail chain may have several regional warehouses supplying their stores or a wholesaler will operate a warehouse at which it receives and distributes products.
The public warehouse is essentially space that can be leased to solve short-term distribution needs. Retailers that operate their own private warehouses may occasionally seek additional storage space if their facilities have reached capacity or if they are making a special, large purchase of products. For example, retailers may order extra merchandise to prepare for in-store sales or order a large volume of a product that is offered at a low promotional price by a supplier.
The level of automation ranges from a small conveyor belt transporting products in a small area all the way up to a fully automated facility where only a few people are needed to handle storage activity for thousands of pounds/kilograms of product. In fact, in our warehouses, we use machines to handle nearly all physical distribution activities such as moving product-filled pallets (i.e., platforms that hold large amounts of product) around buildings that may be several stories tall and the length of two or more football fields.
Warehouses handle storage of many types of products including those that need special handling conditions such as freezers for storing frozen products, humidity-controlled environments for delicate products, such as produce or flowers, and dirt-free facilities for handling highly sensitive computer products.