Types of Stores


Depending upon the nature of business, location of action, raw material, market place etc. Stores' Layout is planned. Hence it is necessary to have a look at different types / classification of Stores: 

There are basically two broad classes :

Functional Stores: It depends on the use to which the material is put – chemicals, tools, raw materials stores, etc.

Physical Stores: It depends on the size and location – Central stores, Sub-stores, Transit stores, Site stores etc.

Functional Stores can be further classified as:

Raw materials store:
This is where raw materials used in the factory are stored. Usually, this is the largest kind and the location should be such that it is situated alongside a railway, canal or river. Where the deliveries are by road, there must be adequate space for trucks to move, turn and park. If sufficient provision is not made for quick and easy loading or unloading, heavy demurrage can result.

Not all such stores need covered sheds. For example, an engineering company whose raw material is steel will store the steel plates in an open yard. Similarly, a powerhouse using coal or a fertiliser plant using sulphur will store material in the open. A refinery will store its crude-oil in tanks.
In certain cases where the raw materials may be explosive dangerous or poisonous in nature, complete segregation will be necessary.

Production Store:
Production also requires a large number of materials, generally called "consumables", - eye-shields, cutting oils, abrasives, gloves, aprons, jigs, small tools etc. A store stocking such items is called a Production Store.

General Store:
Various kinds of miscellaneous items like paints, brushes, cleaning materials, wood and spirit are kept here. In some cases where there is no Production Store, the materials mentioned in (ii) are kept in the General Store.

Tools Store:
All kinds of tools files, measuring instruments, saws, small tools like hammers, pliers, etc. or sell them as scrap. Steel scrap is usually kept separately, preferably in the open. Some metal scrap like copper can be very costly and should, therefore, be kept safely in covered stores.

Salvage Store:
Here materials rejected on the factory floor are stored either with a view to salvage them or to sell them as scrap. Steel scrap is usually kept separately, preperably in the open. Some metal scrap like copper can be very costly and should, therefore, be kept safely in covered stores.


Packing store:
Packing materials are kept here and these include wood for making crates, cardboard cartons or bottles, as in a pharmaceutical company, or empty cylinders.

Spare parts store:
These spares are usually required by Maintenance for repair or overhauling of equipment and machinery in the factory. Such a store can also have spares and components, which have been manufactured in plant or purchased from outside and meant for production. This is also called a finished parts store, semi-finished parts store or component store.

Receipt Store:
This is where goods are received from vendors or those cleared from the railway station, airport or the docks. The materials arriving here have to be retained until they are inspected, finally accepted and sent on to the respective places for storage, or directly to where they will be used.

Quarantine Store:
Here materials received from outside awaiting inspection, and this is usually a part of the receipt store. The term quarantine is used because often inspection may not be completed in a day; e.g., a lab test may be required for specific items. In such cases, these materials are placed in the Quarantine Store.

Finished Goods store:
Finished products of the company meant for despatch to customers or for transfer to another stock point or distribution center are kept here.

Work-in-progress Store:
In many cases a particular shops produce an item in batches, e.g., 1000 units. The other shops might not be able to reach this figure or the actual quantity required might only be 200. Here rest of the 800 units in semi-finished from are kept in the WIP Store for future use. This is neither raw materials nor finished goods. It is in an intermediate state. In some instances the Spare Parts Store can also be a WIP Store.

Stationary store:
Keeps office stationary for issued to various departments departments of the company.

Bonded store:
This is a store is goods on which customs or excise duty has not been paid.

Refrigerated store:
This type of store is used for storage of perishable items like fruit, meat, chemicals, medicine, vegetable, etc. it further comprises:
Chilled space store, where the temperature can be controlled between 32 F and 50 F.
Freeze space store, where the temperature can be controlled below 32 F

Flammable materials store:
This is used for the storage of highly combustive material like oil, paints, etc. this store consists of separate compartments partitioned by fire walls, which is done with a view to prevent movement of flames from one area to another in the event of a fire. These fire walls will normally have a four hour fire resistance rating. The main dependence for fire protection is placed on an automatic deluge type sprinkler system connected to an adequate water supply.

Dehumidified store:
It meets the need of materials or equipment to be stored in a moisture-free atmosphere (humidity free condition). When properly sealed and conditioned almost any type of item can be stored here efficiently.

Transit Sheds:
These are normally roofed sheds without any walls and open on four sides and are mainly intended to protect goods from sun and rain. One can find such sheds in ports, adjacent to berthed cargo ships. They are specially adapted for the items are handling of material shipped or received by sea. Here the items are handled and stored in bulk quantities. In certain cases, the Food Corporation of India stores bags of rice or wheat in such open sheds. ‘Transit’ signifies that storage is temporary and that the goods are to be moved out soon.

Dry Tanks:
Dry tanks are used for long term storage and are constructed entirely with steel, except for a concrete floor. Because of the size and shape of dry tanks, there is no operating aisle for materials handling equipment. There is no direct access into the tanks, which are sealed after materials are stored in them. The dry tanks can be temperature controlled and dehumidified.

Shed storage:
A shed is a roofed structure without complete side and end walls, and is used for the storage of materials that require maximum ventilation or those that do not require protection from weather. This type of building is a compromise between a yardstore and a closed stores building, because it offers more protection to materials than former but less than the latter. If necessary, tarpaulins, can be used on the side for protection during the monsoon. It is built at ground level with a concrete floor.

Open Yard:
This is used for storing bulk items, which do not require specialised storage. Even though there is no protection from sun and rain, the surface of the open yard is normally levelled and is covered by sheets or steel mats.


The organization set-up of the stores will depend upon the requirements, and have to be tailor-made to meet the specific needs of an enterprise. It may also be stated here that separate buildings are not necessary for these stores. They can all be in one building in the manner described above. The afore mentioned list is by no means complete; one can have an infinite variety. For example, one a military establishment or a very big shipping or Airlines Company can have a large number of sepcialized types of stores.

Physical considerations: There can be various types of stores based on the quantity of stocks held or distance from the point of usage, like central stores sub-stores, transit stores, site store etc.

Central store:
There can be a central store serving three or four factories or several shops in a large factory or it can be a central warehouse containing finished goods. The word ‘central’ only denotes that it severs various units each of which may have separate sub-stores or departmental stores. Central stores also exist in multi-plant situations.

One of the problems in having a central store is the handling costs involved in transferring materials to the sub-stores or shop floor. Usually, therefore, the central stores located at the point of greater usage.

One of the main control factors in the establishment of a central store is to ensure that unnecessary inventories are not built up by the sub-stores, or that matter by the sub-stores and the central stores should be considered as one.


A sub-store is located at the place of usage. It can be even within the shop floor

Departmental Store:

This serves a particular department of a factory. For example, in a textile mill there can be several departments like spinning, weaving, bleaching, printing, etc. each of which can be served by a separate store. The reason behind this is that each requires sparate kinds of materials. This store, then becomes a specialised store. Actually. There need be little difference between this category of store and a sub-store.

Group Stores:
In some companies it can happen that several factories belonging to the same group are all in one compound. For example the J. K. Group of Industries has several factories belonging to the same owner, which have been set up in one big industrial estate. There can be a garment factory, a chemical plant, a radio factory and a foundry all belonging to one group and located at the same place. The group stores can serve all these units.

Site store:
This is usually at a project site containing building or construction materials like cement, steel, tools, etc.
Transit store: as its name implies, this is where goods are stored for a temporary period.



Read on ...more Stores topics

Inventory Control
Stores relationship with other Functions
Advantages of a Centralized Store
Responsibilities of Stores
Store Planning and Layout