Buying or renting a warehouse is a massive step for any entrepreneur or e-commerce business. Needing a larger place to house all your sellable goods is a good problem to have. Many e-commerce businesses opt to not only purchase the warehousing space but also fulfill and pack the orders in-house.  

In recent years, a whole new branch of e-commerce has developed where warehousing, picking, and shipping has become a business entity in and of itself. In order to stay competitive, many e-commerce businesses look at outsourcing their warehouse management to a third party called a Distribution Processing Center or, DPC. This blog post will dive into what a distribution processing center is.  We will also discuss what services they offer and the pros and cons of deciding to outsource this part of your business.

A warehouse and a distribution center are shown on either side of the image. In between them is a stylized heart that looks hand drawn, and the words "marriage" between them.

Main Points:


  1. Distribution Centers are a marriage between warehouses and fulfillment centers.
  2. Distribution Processing Centers house, fulfill, and ship orders for businesses.
  3. Pros include efficiency and support for business growth.
  4. Cons include less oversight over this process as well as opening your business to other industry risks.


Distribution Processing Center Defined

A Distribution Processing Center is the marriage between a warehouse and a fulfillment center. DPC’s house and store products like a warehouse. They also pick, pack, and ship these same products like a fulfillment center. In this way, Distribution Processing Centers combine the best of both worlds.  They offer a one-stop shop for all your fulfillment and distribution needs. Additionally, their value proposition is DPC’s offer dialed-in logistics and data-driven processes. In turn, that makes this portion of commerce as fast and efficient as possible. Their business is to make sure that products are housed safely and shipped quickly.


What Services do Distribution Processing Centers Provide?

An infographic is shown outlining the steps followed by a distribution processing center.
  1. First, DPC’s offer storage of your products. Warehouses hold products for long periods of time.  DPC’s will house your product but require a  fast turn over rate. DPC’s will accept the products on your company’s behalf and organize and store the product in an efficient way. In turn, this prepares your product to be packaged when an order is placed. 
  2. Once an order is placed, technology is used to communicate between your selling platform and the Distribution Processing Center.  The order will then be fulfilled in an accurate and timely manner.
  3. Lastly, once the item has been prepped for shipping, a label will be purchased. Then, the label will be put on the outside of the package and will be handed off to a third-party carrier for delivery. 


Main Pros of Distribution Processing Centers

Cost: Because these centers are shipping in high volumes, they can get quantity discounts on shipping rates that may not be available to a business on their own.  Many times, businesses find it an even split when they go to a processing center. Even though they are paying a higher fee per unit to pick and package an item, the savings in shipping make it a break-even situation. Another place you can save as a business owner is having to hire your own staff to pick and ship products. Outsourcing this part of your business means you can rely on the highly trained staff of DPC’s instead of hiring your own staff to complete this process. 

Supporting business Growth: Your business can reach a certain point where to keep up with demand, it makes sense to outsource to a Distribution Processing Center. Making this choice can bolster your business and provide stability in the fulfillment and shipping process. This in turn has a positive impact on your customers. 

Shipping Speed: This is a distribution center’s bread and butter. Shipping items correctly and quickly is a top priority.  Both businesses and customers can learn to count on this reliability. A DPC’s primary goal is to expedite the movement of goods.

Automation: DPC’s strategic use of technology gives them the upper hand in many cases. Using automated systems, such as conveyor belts, robotic arms, and RFID technology, actively contributes to an uninterrupted flow of products. These systems boost productivity, reduce human errors, and accelerate order fulfillment.


Additional Pros of Distribution Processing Centers

Enhanced inventory management: Distribution Processing Centers can monitor stock levels in real-time and communicate stock levels to businesses by using cutting- edge technology. This in turn helps to prevent stockouts and educates businesses on the demand for their products. Businesses can then use that information to empower them to repurchase inventory and appropriate times. Using data to make these decisions instead of their best guesses will provide an overall improvement in the bottom line. 

Environmentally Conscious: DPCs actively participate in eco-friendly initiatives by optimizing transport routes, using energy-efficient machinery, and embracing sustainable packaging solutions. This environmentally conscious approach resonates with customers who value businesses’ commitment to sustainability and ultimately work to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Handling Seasonal Demands: Seasonal fluctuations can put immense strain on supply chains, especially during peak holiday periods. DPCs actively prepare for these surges by scaling up their operations, strategically allocating resources, and collaborating with suppliers and logistics partners. 


Cons of Distribution Processing Centers:

Quality Control: Anytime you outsource a part of your business, miscommunications are bound to happen. These miscommunications can lead to errors, and can ultimately hurt your business’s reputation. There are steps that both distribution processing centers and companies can take to mitigate these risks. Anytime you bring in an outside business, there is a higher risk of this happening. 

Industry Disruptions: Distribution Processing Centers will also be subject to industry disruptions such as labor strikes, and adverse weather.  Additionally, they can be subject to delivery equipment disruptions, such as breakdowns and repairs, and economic depressions or recessions. All of them can negatively impact operations. 

At eHub, we understand the challenge eCommerce companies face when making the choice to work with a Distribution Processing Center. eHub has worked tirelessly to find quality, well-vetted DPCs that can fit individualized company needs. If you find yourself both needing to outsource fulfillment and shipping but are intimidated by the process, reach out to eHub today and we will work to find an ideal solution for your business.



In conclusion, Distribution Processing Centers offer a marriage of warehousing and fulfillment centers. By constantly implementing new technologies, DPC’s have made inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping into a well-oiled art form. 

If you would like help finding a fulfillment partner/3PL that specializes in HAZMAT reach out to our Fulfillment Consultants and we can place you with a vetted fulfillment partner.


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