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Today, we will discuss about Consolidation Warehouse. Do you know what is a Consolidation Warehouse? Do you know how it looks like? Let’s dig more about it!

What is Consolidation Warehouse?

A consolidation warehouse is a form of warehousing that pulls together small shipments from a number of suppliers in the same geographical area and combines them into larger, more economical shipping loads intended for the same area.

world-winning-cities-china-master-presentation-49-728Warehousing Uses in China

What are the benefits of “Consolidation Warehouse”?

  1. Lowers shipping costs for participants
  2. More efficient transportation
  3. No capital investment required
  4. Reduces risk
  5. Allows manufactures to focus on their core competencies
  6. Lowers product costs for customers
  7. Lowers inventory levels required

How does it work?

  1. Customer places several small orders from multiple manufacturers in the same area
  2. Several Less-than-truckloads (LTL) of product from manufacturers in the same area arrive at the consolidation warehouse
  3. The 3PL strategically consolidates these small orders from multiple manufacturers into one full Truck Load (TL) headed to the customer using tactical transportation modelling tools
  4. Customer receives product orders from various manufactures in one transaction
After knowing the basic information about consolidation warehouse, let’s check out the on-site visit on one of the consolidation warehouses in Ningbo!
We have so much experience performing product inspections onsite in the factory warehouse, that the process is pretty simple. This is because the factory usually has all their products well organised, and in a Final Product Inspection, 80% or more of the products are packed and ready to be shipped out for Export.
When it comes to consolidation warehouse, the process of doing an inspection there is much more complicated. This happens mostly when a company purchases small volumes of products from many different suppliers in different cities. For example, you may have a lot of promotional items, such as pens, erasers, small USB drives, drinking cups and similar small products that will not fill a container unless you buy millions.
This is my experience from one day, when I traveled to a consolidation warehouse:
  • I am stationed in Ningbo and had to take a taxi to Beilun to the warehouse installations. The taxi charged me 140 RMB (around 23 USD) for a 45 minute ride to get to the warehouse gate. Once arriving in the warehouse, we usually have a 30 minute briefing with the warehouse administration department so they can provide a list of where the products are being housed in the racks. This happens because the suppliers most likely have different delivery times and the products arrive in different days and times to the warehouse.
  • After the briefing, the warehouse administration provides a forklift operator to help to find the products all around the warehouse racks. You will have to pay the forklift operator for his services. You need to define what products are the easiest to get to without making the process of seeking too slow. The same warehouse provides an inspection area space where you can position the product cartons ready for inspection. Soon after, the forklift operator will start to take these products to the inspection area.
  • Once the forklift operator has brought the first accessible items to the inspection area, the fun starts. The inspection starts as follows:
  • 1. Randomly select the master cartons
  • 2. Document every printed shipping mark
  • 3. Open the master cartons to get the inner packing in the case of promotional products
  • 4. Open the inner packing and document every logo or printing on them
  • 5. Finally, you get to the individual packing containing the product that needs to be inspected.
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  • The performance of the inspection starts on the products. This needs to have a QC plan previously confirmed, containing all the product specs, tests and workmanship inspection criteria. Otherwise, how will you know what to inspect? You repeat the same process in the QC plan for all items, ALWAYS re-pack and close the opened cartons with inspection security tape and then congrats! – You have completed the Item inspection for the products that are accessible.
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  • Now, the complicated section of the product inspection starts. You need to work out with the forklift operator on a scaffolding on the forklift so we can lift you up to the top shelves of the racks where the other products are being housed.
    • Please don´t try this if you´re afraid of heights!
  • Perform and repeat the QC plan process all around the top shelves with the help of your friendly forklift operator and you will soon finish the inspection. When you have finished the inspection, it is a courtesy to help put back all the products in their corresponding pallet and help the forklift operator position the products back where they are being housed.
  • Another curious fact is that you obviously need to eat something. So, the same warehouse has a cafeteria where they provide free food to all the workers, providing meals like rice, vegetables, shrimp, tofu and other local food. The taxi back home to Ningbo charged me 130 RMB, and also took around 45 minutes to get back.

The experience of doing this type of inspection is good, but you always need to be prepared for the extreme heat and humidity in the summer. Also, warehouse cooperation is a key part of the success of the inspection.

For more information about doing an inspection in China, visit and contact us at