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Glossary of 3PL Fulfillment Terms

The many terms and phrases associated with fulfillment can be overwhelming. Whether you are new to fulfillment or a seasoned professional, aligning on terms is critical. Below is a list of common abbreviations, acronyms and terms you may come across when working with Bulu.

Glossary of Terms
  1. Advanced Shipping Notification (ASN): A document that is sent to a warehouse management system (WMS) from a supplier that provides detailed information about an upcoming shipment. Also called a Receipt Order.

  2. API: Application Programming Interface. A set of functions and procedures that allow applications to access the data of an operating system, application or other service. 

  3. Assembly: This is another word for kitting. Kitting is the act of combining (or assembling) multiple, varied items into a single unit to create a new unique SKU. The new SKU can then be purchased by customers and fulfilled by the 3PL. 

  4. 3PL: An acronym for third-party logistics. Companies often outsource their logistics processes such as warehousing, picking, packing and shipping orders to a 3PL (like Bulu!).

  5. B2B: business to business transactions, in which a business buys from another business

  6. B2C: business to customer transactions, in which a customer buys from a business

  7. Barcode: A series of lines and spaces printed or stamped on products, labels, or other items, representing encoded information which can be read by electronic scanners. A popular example is the UPC barcode used on retail packaging. Bulu requires all products to be labeled with a barcode unless otherwise agreed upon. 

  8. Batch Picking: The process of order picking in which all the items for multiple orders are picked by a single picker. 

  9. Bill of Lading (BOL): A document issued by either a 3PL or a freight carrier that contains critical information about the shipper and the consignee as well as the type and quantity of cargo. 

  10. Blind Receiving: The practice of receiving goods in a warehouse without any advanced shipping notice (ASN) or purchase order. 

  11. Buffer Stock: A quantity of goods set aside and kept in storage to prevent unforeseen shortages or demands. Buffer stock cannot be sold unless moved to a new storage location or adjusted in the WMS.

  12. Carrier: The business that is used for transport and delivery of goods, parcels or cargo. 

  13. Case Picking: The retrieval of a full carton loads of each item or inner packs of items from cartons.

  14. Chargeable Weight: The shipment weight used in determining freight charges; either the dimensional weight or the actual weight of the shipment. This is sometimes referred to as “shipping weight”. 

  15. Consignor: The party who originates a shipment of goods (shipper). Often times this is the seller. 

  16. Cross Docking: The practice of moving product directly from the receiving area to the shipping area for distribution and never putting it away into storage for a period of time. Cross docking requires careful planning of all inbound and outbound shipment movements. 

  17. Damaged Goods Inventory (DGI): Items that have been returned, damaged upon delivery or damaged due to handling within the warehouse. 

  18. Dock Scheduling: The use of scheduling tools or software to automate and manage the schedules for receiving and sending goods that enter or exit a warehouse. Bulu requires all inbound shipments to schedule delivery via its dock scheduling system. 

  19. Each or Eaches: Refers to a single inventory unit within a warehouse. 

  20. EDI: Electronic Data Interchange. An inter-Client, computer-to-computer transmission of electronic information in a standard format. An EDI transmission consists only of business data, not any acClienting verbiage or free-form messages. In warehousing this is often the exchange of orders from a website or portal to a warehouse to process the order.

  21. First in First Out (FIFO): In inventory control and financial accounting, this refers to the practice of using stock from inventory on the basis of what was received first and is consumed first. Antonym: Last In First Out.

  22. Fulfillment: The act of fulfilling a customer order, often referring to ecommerce. Fulfillment includes all of  the following processes: order management, picking, packaging, and shipping.

  23. Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA): Fulfillment by Amazon. Items are offered by a third-party seller, but purchased from Amazon and stored in and shipped from an Amazon fulfillment center to the end customer.

  24. Full Truckload (FTL): Similar to full container load, but references to truck carriers instead of containers.

  25. Goods Receipt (or just Receipt): This is where the warehouse confirms that the products have been received from a supplier, as per an issued purchase order and are put into stock. On receipt, products may be checked against a packing list or ASN, go through QA, are labeled and put away in bin or shelf location.

  26. Inventory: The products and their quantity that are stored on-hand in a warehouse, able to be sold to customers.

  27. Inventory Management: The ability to account for and manage all the product and goods available in a warehouse at any given time.

  28. Item Number or SKU: The identification number assigned to an item. Also called the part number, SKU number, or SKU.

  29. Kitting: This is another word for assembly. Kitting is the act of combining (or assembling) multiple, varied items into a single unit to create a new unique SKU. The new SKU can then be purchased by customers and fulfilled by the 3PL. 

  30. Kitting Guide: A detailed document outlining the items, inserts and materials that should be assembled to make a new SKU. It also includes new SKU information, quantity and or packing details. 

  31. Labels: A label that can be applied to both pallet shipments and individual cartons. Each label has information about the origin, destination, and contents of the shipment. Additional information typically includes a PO number and carrier code (SCAC).

  32. Last Mile: The final leg of a commercial delivery, wherein the carrier is responsible for final handover to the customer.

  33. Less-than-Truckload (LTL): Trucking companies that consolidate and transport smaller (less than truckload) shipments of freight by utilizing a network of terminals and relay points.

  34. Line: The products in an order that share the same SKU or UPC number.

  35. Loading Dock: Also called a loading bay, is an area of a warehouse or other building where a truck or other vehicle loads or unloads material.

  36. Lot: A production run or batch that can be isolated.

  37. Longterm Storage: Pallets that have been stored for more than 90 days will be billed at the Aged Pallet Storage rate as outlined in the agreement. 

  38. Materials Handling: The physical handling of products and materials between procurement and shipping.

  39. Order: All the products that are included in one transaction from a customer.

  40. Packing: The process of preparing a container for shipment.

  41. Packing List: A document containing information about the warehouse location of each product ID in each order. It allows the person picking the order to quickly find the item he or she is looking for without a broad search of all packages. It also confirms the actual shipment of goods on a line item basis.

  42. Pallet: The platform on which cartons or cases of specific goods are stacked and bundled together, and then used for shipment or movement as a group. Pallets may be made of wood or composite materials.

  43. Pick & Pack: Picking and packing immediately into shipment containers.

  44. Picking: The operations involved in pulling products from storage areas to complete a customer order.

  45. Pick List: A list of items to be picked from stock in order to fill an order; often created by a WMS in order to create the most efficient route for picking.

  46. Procurement: The business functions of procurement planning, purchasing, inventory control, traffic, receiving, incoming inspection, and salvage operations. Synonym: Purchasing.

  47. Putaway: Removing incoming orders from the location where it is received to the final storage area and recording the movement and identification of the storage location where it has been placed.

  48. Quality Assurance/ QA: Program planned to provide that goods purchased may be inspected and/or tested so that compliance with specifications may be determined.

  49. Receiving: The process involving the physical receipt of merchandise, its inspection for accuracy and to identify any damage, the determination of where the stock will be stored, delivery to that location, and the completion of receiving reporting.

  50. Receiving Dock: Distribution center location where the actual physical receipt of the purchased material from the carrier occurs.

  51. Replenishment: The process that involves moving stock from a secondary storage area to a fixed storage location. This could also refer to the process of moving stock between distribution centers or from suppliers to meet customer demand.

  52. Reverse Logistics: A specialized segment of logistics focusing on the movement and management of products and resources after the sale and after delivery to the customer. Includes product returns for repair and/or credit.

  53. RMA: Return merchandise authorization. A return merchandise authorization, return authorization or return goods authorization is a part of the process of returning a product to receive a refund, replacement, or repair during the product's warranty period.

  54. Shipping: The delivery of goods or materials from one destination to another.

  55. Slotting: Warehouse slotting is defined as the placement of products within a warehouse facility. Its objective is to increase picking efficiency and reduce warehouse handling costs through optimizing product location and balancing the workload.

  56. Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU): A category of unit with a unique combination of form, fit, and function (i.e., unique components held in stock).

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