Quick guide to warehousing - ancillary services

Welcome to Part 3 of our ‘Quick Guide to Warehousing’ blog series, designed to help anyone new to searching for warehouse space understand any terms they are not familiar with. In Part 1, we covered Types of Storage and in Part 2, Methods of Storage. You’ll find links to these in our Resources section. In the final part, we’ll give an overview of Distribution Services.

In this blog, we look at warehousing Ancillary Services.

Container De-stuffing

Container de-stuffing is the process of emptying a container of its product. Generally containerised product is not shipped on pallets, as such would use up valuable space. To de-stuff a container, a warehouse needs a container ramp to access it. Many of Zupplychain's warehouse providers will offer container de-stuffing. We will shortly be implementing functionality for this; in the meantime, please use the free text box on your enquiry to ask for a price for de-stuffing and palletisation.


Whilst some containerised product may not suit being stored and shipped on pallets, most will need putting on pallets – palletisation. In addition, aside from containers, loose product may need palletisation.

A Zupplychain warehouse can provide costs for palletisation, either alongside or aside from container de-stuffing. Quotes will generally include the cost of the pallet, shrink-wrapping and applying a pallet label. Applying product labels will usually be an extra charge.

Quality Control

If product is being imported or delivered directly to a third party warehouse, the product may need quality checking by the warehouse on behalf of the client, before being cleared and booked into stock. Such quality checking may be of every item but is more likely to be by sampling, as determined by the client.

If a quality control service is required of a Zupplychain warehouse, please specify that in the first stage of the enquiry by using the free text box at the bottom of the page.

Full Pallet in, Full Pallet Out

Not much explanation needed! Simplest form of distribution, suitable for onward shipping of full pallets to a customer, often a customer’s distribution centre (DC or RDC [regional] or NDC [national])

Fulfilment and Pick and Pack

‘Fulfilment’ is essentially order preparation and delivery. This could be relatively large orders – either full pallets or picked items on pallets – to be delivered to a manufacturer, a retailer’s distribution centre or a retail store. These deliveries would either be delivered by the warehouse’s own vehicles or sub-contracted vehicles. Smaller orders (1 or 2 pallets) may go via a pallet network (see Part 4). Lead-times for such orders – from receipt of order to delivery of order to the customer are more likely to be 3-10 days than less than 3 days.

‘Pick and pack’ refers to a specific type of fulfilment for deliveries to consumers, usually e-commerce orders. For this, a warehouse usually needs to be structured differently to the requirements for store deliveries: picking bays may be more numerous and need to be all accessible by hand (or automated picking); an open area for order assembly, preparation and packing is needed; the orders are packed and labelled in a consumer friendly manner (and to withstand non-palletised transport) and then are usually dispatched via a courier network, though this may involve bulk transport to a courier’s regional depot.

Nearly all Zupplychain warehouse’s offer a fulfilment service. There are also a number of registered providers who are courier companies and/or pick and pack specialists. If you have an expanding web-trading business, a Zupplychain warehouse could be the answer for you to outsource all your logistics needs in one place with a provider who has the capacity to enable you to grow your business.

You can see whether a Zupplychain storage provider offers pick and pack services when you view their profile from your search results.

Returns and Repackaging

Most warehouses offer a repackaging service for product with damaged packaging. Some also offer a full returns service – picking up damaged or returned product from a retail store or receiving back consumer returns. A full returns service will arrange product pick up, manage the associated paper trail and, where possible, repack product so it can be dispatched on a further order, or prepare returned product for whatever onward channel is chosen, ranging from re-cycling into discount channels to going in the bin!