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  • Writer's pictureBrian Cummings

Amazon Sortation Center vs. Fulfillment Center: Full Guide

As an Amazon seller, you might wonder where your products are stored and how they reach customers. Did you know that fulfillment centers can be as large as 800,000 square feet?


In this article, we'll dive into the key differences between Amazon sortation centers and fulfillment centers to determine which suits your needs better.


Keep reading for insights that could streamline your business!


Amazon Warehouses

Amazon is a go-to platform for shopping, but as a seller, you might be struggling to understand the differences between Amazon's sortation centers and fulfillment centers.


Sort centers are smaller and focus on last-mile sorting and delivery processes.


Fulfillment Centers

Fulfillment centers are huge warehouses where the complete process of storing and shipping your products happens. Employees here do everything from receiving your inventory to packing it and sending it to customers.


These centers can cover 800,000 square feet and employ over 1,500 full-time workers.


In these spaces, order fulfillment is serious business. Your items stay safe on shelves until an order comes in. Then, workers pick the product off the shelf, pack it with care, and ship it quickly to ensure happy customers.


With a fulfillment center's help, you can rest easy knowing that handling large quantities of goods efficiently is what they're designed for.


At these locations, logistics are top-notch, too! Efficiently managing inventory means orders get processed fast, which keeps you and your buyers smiling. Every step, from storage to ongoing shipping, falls under one big roof at a fulfillment center.


Sortation Centers

Amazon's sortation centers are crucial in the final stages of order processing and package sorting. These facilities are vital for ensuring fast and efficient last-mile delivery to customers.


At these centers, items are meticulously organized, scanned, and prepared for shipment on palates before being sent out for delivery.


With a focus on effective inventory management and swift handling of packages, sortation centers contribute significantly to Amazon's logistics operations.


Sortation centers are smaller in size compared to fulfillment centers but play a critical role in streamlining the shipping and handling processes.


These facilities are strategically located to support the last leg of delivery to customers, ensuring that orders reach their destinations promptly.


By efficiently organizing and preparing items for shipment, sortation centers enhance the overall speed and effectiveness of Amazon's supply chain operations.


Differences Between Sortation and Fulfillment Centers

Functions

Sortation centers efficiently organize and scan items for shipment, focusing on the last-mile delivery process. They are responsible for preparing packages on pallets to be ready for efficient last-leg delivery to customers.


On the other hand, fulfillment centers handle end-to-end processes, including receiving inventory, packing orders, and shipping them to customers. Fulfillment centers employ a large number of full-time associates and play a crucial role in the storage and shipping of customer orders.


In sortation centers, items are organized and prepared for shipment before being sent out for last-mile delivery. In contrast, fulfillment centers manage various stages of the order processing journey from receiving inventory to packing and shipping customer orders.


Size

Sortation centers are relatively smaller compared to fulfillment centers. Fulfillment centers can be massive, reaching around 800,000 square feet in size and employing over 1,500 full-time associates.


On the other hand, sortation centers are designed for efficient organization and preparation of items for shipment within a smaller footprint.


While fulfillment centers boast substantial sizes and handle a wide range of processes from inventory receiving to order shipping with a large workforce, sortation centers focus on streamlined sorting and preparation in comparatively compact spaces.


Location

Sortation centers are strategically located near urban areas to facilitate the last-mile delivery process efficiently. These centers are typically found near major cities, allowing quicker transportation of sorted packages to customers.


On the other hand, fulfillment centers are situated in various locations across the country and even internationally. This widespread placement enables efficient storage and distribution of inventory on a larger scale, catering to a broader customer base with diverse shipping needs.


The location of sortation centers is vital in expediting the final delivery phase, especially in densely populated areas where quick order processing is essential.


In contrast, fulfillment centers' dispersed locations contribute to meeting overall shipping demands effectively by strategically distributing products across multiple regions.



Pros and Cons of Each Type of Warehouse

Sortation centers offer quicker processing and delivery for Amazon sellers, streamlining the last-mile logistics. However, their limited size means they can't store as much inventory.


Additionally, sortation centers ensure accurate last-mile delivery by efficiently organizing packages for final shipment to customers. Fulfillment centers provide end-to-end management, from receiving inventory and packing orders to delivering them directly to customers' doorsteps.


On the flip side, fulfillment centers provide extensive storage and shipping capabilities. This allows for a wider range of products to be managed but may result in longer delivery times due to increased distance from customers.


Fulfillment centers are labor-intensive, with over 1,500 full-time associates, while sortation centers focus on efficient organization and preparation of items, requiring fewer employees.


Sorting facilities excel at swift last-mile handling but are limited in capacity; meanwhile, fulfillment centers have greater capacity but may experience slower processing times.


Amazon Sortation Center vs. Fulfillment Center: Which Is Better?

When it comes to choosing between a sortation center and a fulfillment center, consider factors like your shipping needs, location, and size of operations. Read on to find out which option may be better suited for your Amazon business.


Factors to Consider

Consider the following factors when deciding between Amazon sortation and fulfillment centers:


  1. Size: Fulfillment centers are much larger than sortation centers, allowing for greater storage capacity and handling of a wider range of processes.

  2. Location: Sortation centers are strategically located to facilitate last-mile delivery, while fulfillment centers are spread across different regions to serve a larger customer base efficiently.

  3. Functions: Fulfillment centers handle the entire storage and shipping process, from receiving inventory to packing and shipping orders to customers, whereas sortation centers focus on sorting and preparing items for the last leg of delivery.

  4. Staffing: Fulfillment centers employ more associates and have full-time staff dedicated to various aspects of order fulfillment, while sortation centers have a smaller number of staff focused on sorting and preparation.

  5. Efficiency: Sortation centers focus on efficiently organizing and preparing items for shipment, contributing to faster last-mile delivery, while fulfillment centers ensure end-to-end efficiency in order processing and shipping.

  6. Cost: Consider the cost implications of utilizing either or both types of warehouses based on your business needs, including transportation expenses and operational overheads.

  7. Scalability: Evaluate how each type of warehouse can accommodate your business growth over time, considering factors such as inventory management capabilities and order processing efficiency.

  8. Customer Satisfaction: Assess how each type of warehouse can impact customer satisfaction through factors such as order accuracy, shipping speed, and overall delivery experience.


Verdict

After considering the differences and functions, you should choose a fulfillment center if you need end-to-end storage and shipping processes. Fulfillment centers handle all aspects of order processing including picking, packing, and shipping to customers.


On the other hand, if your focus is on last-mile delivery preparation and organization of items for shipment, a sortation center may be more suitable. Sortation centers efficiently prepare packages for the final leg of delivery to customers.


Considering your specific business needs will help you make the best decision between Amazon sortation centers and fulfillment centers.


Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the differences between Amazon's sortation and fulfillment centers helps you make informed decisions for your business.


Consider factors such as the size of your operation, location requirements, and the need for end-to-end processing when determining which type of warehouse suits your needs best.


Taking these aspects into account will lead to optimal efficiency in managing inventory and delivering orders to customers.


Ready to grow your business? Contact us and view our services so we can help streamline your order fulfillment process.


FAQs on Comparing Amazon Sortation Center vs. Fulfillment Center


1. What is the difference between an Amazon sortation center and a fulfillment center?

An Amazon fulfillment center is where products are stored, orders are processed, and packages are packed for shipping. A sortation center takes those packages and sorts them by destination to help with faster delivery.


2. Which one is part of last-mile delivery, sortation center or fulfillment center?

The sortation center plays a big role in last-mile delivery. It's where your package goes before it gets to your local delivery station.


3. Can you find both sorting and shipping at an Amazon distribution center?

Yes! An Amazon distribution Center handles both order sorting from the sorting facility and preparing shipments for final delivery.


4. Is inventory management done at a fulfillment or sortation center?

Inventory management happens mainly at an order fulfillment Center, where products are received, stored, and then sent out when customers place orders.


5. Which facility helps more with quick deliveries: a logistics hub or a shipping and receiving centeR

A logistics hub like a sortation Center focuses on speeding up deliveries by organizing packages for their next stop in the supply chain journey toward customers.

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