Kurt Stump’s Warehouse Management System Software (WMS) Glossary

026th Jan 2012Professional

Kurt Stump’s S3CO Root WMS Warehouse and Warehousing Technology Glossary

There are 332 entries in the glossary.

Term Definition
3PL See Third-Party Fulfillment
3rd-Party Warehouse See Third-Party Warehouse
802.11 A set of wireless communication specifications for LANs from The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).
ABC Classification

Method used to stratify or categorize inventory into groups based upon certain activity, request, or use characteristics. Examples of ABC stratifications would include ABC by order velocity (# of times item has been sold), ABC by sales volume, ABC by quantity sold / consumed, ABC by average inventory investment, ABC by margin, etc.

ABC stratifications are used to develop inventory planning policies, set count frequencies for cycle counting, slot inventory for optimized order picking, and other inventory management activities in an ICS. ABC codes are typically set by item.

ADC See Automated Data Collection
Advanced Shipment Notification Advanced shipment notifications are used to notify a customer of a pending shipment. An ASN will often include purchase order (PO) numbers, item (SKU) numbers, lot numbers, quantity, and pallet or container number. An ASN can be on paper, but most are via electronic notification, principally via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Advanced shipment notification (ASN) systems are often combined with bar code compliance labeling which allows the customer to receive the shipment directly into inventory with a single scan through the use of bar code scanners and automated data collection (ADC) systems.
AGV Automated Guided Vehicle – Vehicles programmed to automatically drive to designated points and perform pre-programmed functions.
AIDC See Automated Data Collection
Aisle A passageway within a storage area for internal traffic.
Allocation Allocations in inventory management are the actual demand created by sales orders or work orders against a specific item.  A firm allocation is an allocation against specific units within a facility, such as an allocation against a specific location, lot, or serial number.  Firm allocations are also sometimes referred to as specific allocations, hard allocations, hard commitments, holds, frozen allocations, or reserved inventory.  Standard allocations simply show that there is demand while firm allocations reserve or hold the inventory for the specific order designated.
Alphanumeric A character set that contains alphabetic characters (A, a to Z, z), numeric digits (0 to 9) and usually other characters such as punctuation marks.
Analytics Data that helps companies track business trends. Analytics comprise all applications that analyze data about an enterprise's business activities and customer information and presents it so that better, quicker, and more-actionable business decisions can be made.  Analytics closely resembles statistical analysis and data mining.
APICS American Production and Inventory Control Society
Architecture (system architecture) A description of the design and contents of a computer system,  including information such as a detailed inventory of current hardware, software, networking, and interface capabilities, a description of long-range plans and priorities for future development, and a plan for upgrading and/or replacing dated equipment and software.  
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange – a code that represents letters, numerals, punctuation marks, and control signals as seven bit groups.  It is used as a standard code for the transmission of digital data.  The values range from hex value 00 to hex value 7F.
ASN See Advanced Shipment Notification
ASQ American Society for Quality
Auto-discrimination The functionality of a bar code reader to recognize the bar code symbology being scanned thus allowing a reader to read several different symbologies consecutively.
Automated Data Collection Sometimes known as Automated Data Capture or AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Collection).  This term refers to computerized systems used to automate transactions in warehousing and shipping operations.  Data collection systems require interfaces to collect the data such as scanners and Radio Frequency (RF) receivers (RFID readers), and related terminals and software to transmit and process the data.
Available Inventory

Refers to the status of inventory as it relates to its ability to be sold or consumed. Availability calculations are used to determine this status. An example of an availability calculation would be:

[Quantity Available] = [Quantity On Hand] -[ Quantity On Hold] – [Quantity Allocated To Sales Orders] – [Quantity Allocated to Production Orders]

Backflush Method for issuing (reducing on-hand quantities) materials to a production order.  In backflushing the inventory is issued automatically when production is posted against a specified operation. A backflushing program uses the quantity completed to calculate the quantities of the components used through its bill of material (BOM) and reduce on-hand balances by this amount.
Backorder An order that is past its mandated shipping date because the product is out-of-stock.

1. (v) to make a copy of a file or program for the purpose of restoring the data if the masters were to be lost, damaged, or otherwise unavailable for use.

2. (n) a copy of a master file or program. To be most effective from a security standpoint, backup files are frequently stored at off-site locations.

BAFO Best and Final Offer – A clarification or refinement of the Request for Proposal (RFP) process.  All or only selected bidders may be invited to participate in subsequent bids or may be asked to submit their best technical and financial proposal.

The amount of data that can be moved through a particular network interface in a given period of time, typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps).  For example, a regular Ethernet line has a bandwidth of 10 Mbps (10 million bits per second).  Note that bandwidth is sometimes measured as the bandwidth in one direction (half-duplex), and sometimes as the total in both directions (full-duplex). 

Barcode (bar code) A series of bars and spaces encoded to correspond to alpha-numeric characters. Barcodes are designed to be read by scanners (readers) and converted into data.
Barcode Printer A printer capable of converting data into a barcode. A bar code printer can provide faster printing, since it is usually dedicated to printing ASCII bar codes and does not require the computer or separate computer software to send an image of a bar code to the printer head.
Barcode Scanner (bar code reader) Any device, portable or fixed, that can convert barcode images into data.
Batch Picking A method of order picking in which all orders are grouped into small batches. All the orders in the batch are picked in one pass.
Beta Testing

A test for a computer-related product prior to commercial release.  Beta testing is the last stage of testing and normally can involve sending the product to beta test sites (clients) outside the company for real-world exposure and feature enhancements.  Beta test sites typically benefit from their early exposure to new versions and their influence surrounding additional feature requests specifically targeting their operating environment – they receive the benefits of designing their own software without having to build it themselves.  Beta testing is often preceded by a round of testing called alpha testing.

Bill of Material Lists materials (components or ingredients) required to produce an item. Multilevel Bills of Material also show subassemblies and their components.
Bin A physical storage container for to store mutiple units of the same SKU. Bins can be of of corrugated cardbord, plastic, or metal. Bin can also be the storage location or slot of the product.
BOM See Bill of Material
Carrying Cost Also called holding cost, carrying cost is the cost associated with having inventory on-hand. It primarily refers to the costs associated with the inventory investment, plus any storage costs. If the cost does not change based upon the quantity of inventory on-hand it should not be included in the carrying cost.  Carrying cost is represented as the annual cost per average on-hand inventory unit.
CASS Certification The Coding Accuracy Support System certification process is used to improve deliverability and qualification for postal automation discounts. Mailers or their list suppliers must use "CASS" certified software to update the zip code, zip+4, and DP Barcode data on their mailing lists. Mailers must be able to demonstrate that their lists are CASS certified to claim postal discounts by submitting a report to the US Postal Service.
Check Character Characters added to a bar code to verify a correct read of the bar code.  Check characters are usually the result of a mathematical calculation based upon the data in the bar code.  Not all bar codes contain check characters.
Code 128 (UCC/EAN) A variable length, continuous, self-checking, alphanumeric barcode font. Its data character set contains 105 characters in each of three unique subsets. Each character consists of three bars and three spaces consuming 11 modules of width.
COGS See Cost of Goods Sold
Column Two or more units tiered on top of one another.
Compliance Labels Standardized label formats used by trading partners. Compliance labels are used as shipping labels, container/pallet labels, carton labels, or piece labels, and usually contain bar codes.

1. The components that make up a computer system (which model and what peripherals)

2. The physical arrangement of those components (what is placed where)

3. The software settings of an application

Consignment Inventory Inventory that is in the possession of a customer, but is still owned by a supplier. Consignment inventory is used as a marketing tool to make it easier for a customer to stock a specific supplier's inventory. The customer pays for the inventory only after it is resold or consumed.
Container Containers are standardized metal compartments for for intermodal transportation of products. Standard external dimensions for containers are a width of 8 feet, and a height of either 8.5 feet or 9.5 feet, and lengths of 20, 40, and 45 feet.
Containerization From the JIT movement in manufacturing, containerization refers to using standardized containers for the storage and transport of materials within a manufacturing facility as well as between vendors and manufacturers.  Materials are ordered in multiples of the container quantity often using Kanban.  The benefits of containerization include reduced product damage, reduced waste (by using reusable containers), less handling, and greater levels of inventory accuracy by simplifying counting processes.
Contingency An allowance made to provide for or protect desirable conditions in the future.
Continuous Improvement A quality philosophy that assumes further improvements are always possible and that processes should be continuously re-evaluated and improvements implemented.
Contract Warehouse A business that handles shipping, receiving, and storage of products on a contract basis. Contract warehouses will generally require a client to commit to a specific period of time for their services. Contracts may or may not require clients to purchase or subsidize storage and material-handling equipment. Fees for contract warehouses may be transaction and storage based, fixed, cost plus, or any combination.
Cost of Goods Sold Accounting term used to describe the total value (cost) of products sold during a specific time period.  Since inventory is an asset, it is not expensed when it is purchased or produced. It instead goes into an asset account (usually called Inventory).  When product is sold, the value of the product (the cost, not the sell price) is moved form the asset account to an expense account called cost of goods sold or COGS.  COGS appears on the profit-and-loss statement and is also used for calculating inventory turns.
Cost of Money The amount of interest that would be earned if the dollar value of inventory were invested at the State's current investments earning rate.
Count Frequency The number of times per year an item is counted. Count frequency is used to calculate cycle count period.
Count Sheet A document used in cycle counting and physical inventories to facilitate the counting of inventory.  A count sheet will contain multiple items and locations to be counted and can be a simple, paper report or a live document produced by cycle counting applications.
Critical Stock A commodity that must be maintained in inventory, though little used, to respond to expressed need. These commodities do not necessarily meet the criteria to be classified as emergency stock but are required to keep equipment or programs operating.
Cross Aisle A passageway at right angles to main aisles, used for the movement of supplies, equipment and personnel.
Cross Stacking The placing of a layer of containers at right angles to those just below to increase the stability of the stack.
Cross-Docking The action of unloading materials from an incoming trailer or rail car and immediately loading these materials in outbound trailers or rail cars, thus eliminating the need for warehousing (storage).
CSV The comma-separated values (.CSV) file format is a non-standard, delimited data format that has fields separated by the comma character and records separated by newlines.  Fields which contain a comma, newline, or double quote character typically must be enclosed in double quotes.  If a field's value contains a double quote character it is escaped by placing another double quote character before it.  The .CSV file format does not require a specific character encoding, byte order, or line terminator format.  The lack of a formal .CSV standard means that not all comma-separated value files can be shared between all systems.
Current Cost Inventory costing method that applies the cost of the most recent receipt of all inventory for a specific item.
Customer Service Level The minimum level of support deemed acceptable by the warehouse operations management. Includes the availability of stock items when required and in the quantity required.
Cycle Counting Any process that verifies the correctness of inventory quantity data by counting portions of the inventory on an ongoing basis, i.e. any process that uses regularly scheduled counts but does not count the entire facility's inventory in a single event.
Cycle Time The time from start to finish of a specific tasks of group of tasks. Cycle time is an important measurement for benchmarking, budgeting, and staffing.
Dashboard A user interface that organizes and presents key metrics to provide a quick evaluation of a project or process status in a way that is easy to read and monitor.  The name refers to the fact that it can sometimes look like the dashboard of a car.  Also known as scorecards.
Dead-heading (deadheading) The practice of traveling long distances within the warehouse between tasks. More specifically it refers to the passing up of work along the way to the next-assigned task.
Decodability A measure of printing accuracy as perceived by a barcode reader using a symbology reference decoding algorithm.
Defect A regularity or non-conformity which is not allowable by specifications.
Demand The need for a specific item in a specific quantity.
Demurrage An assessment against the shipper or consignee as a penalty for the detention of a common carrier's equipment beyond the period of free time allowed for loading or unloading.
Dimensional Weight (dim weight) Formula used to determine freight charges when the minimum weight to volume ratio has not been met.  Actual weight and dim weight are compared, and the larger weight is used for the freight calculation.  Dim weight is calculated by:  Dim weight= (Length x Width x Height) / 194 .  All dimensional measurements are in inches.
Direct Thermal Printing A printing method in which a heated print head contacts specially-treated labels.
Discount Schedule A price listing based upon quantity selections of items. Savings realized by increased volumes.
Discrete Manufacturing Describes manufacturing of distinct items (items you can easily count, touch, see) such as a pencil, a battery, a telephone, a bicycle, a fuel pump, etc.  Discrete as opposed to Process manufacturing.
Distribution The process of storing, handling, shipping, and transporting goods. Also the term used to describe the facilities that enable these activities, e.g. distribution center, distribution warehouse.
Distribution Center A warehouse from which product is shipped to retail stores or to the end users of the product.
Dock-to-Stock Receiving method whereby materials are delivered directly to the point of use (storage or manufacturing), skipping the normal receipt check-in process.
Drayage Transportation of materials and freight on a local basis, but intermodal freight carriage may also be referred to as drayage.
Dunnage Filler material. Types of dunnage include loose fill (packing peanuts), papar, bubble wrap, foam, and air pillows.
Dynamic Slot A floating slot that becomes available for any item or SKU as soon as it is empty.
Economic Order Quantity The result of a calculation that determines the most cost effective quantity to order (purchased items) or produce (manufactured items).  The formula basically finds the point at which the combination of order cost and carrying cost is the least.  The standard formula is EOQ = Square Root [2 * (Annual Usage) * (Order Cost) / (Annual Carrying Cost/unit)].
EDI See Electronic Data Interchange
Electronic Data Interchange Sometimes called Electronic Document Interchange. A computer-based exchange of business transaction data using globally-standardized protocols. The vast majority of business to business (B2B) communications are via EDI. Major retailers rely on EDI to order merchandise, receive advanced shipping notices (ASNs), and to be invoiced by their vendors. The data in EDI documents are the same as in paper documents.  There are three different EDI standards (UN/EDIFACT, ANCI X.12, and UCS) each with its own set of required data fields, but with many other optional fields.
Enterprise Resource Planning Software systems designed to manage most or all aspects of a manufacturing or distribution enterprise (an expanded version of MRP systems).  ERP systems are usually broken down into modules such as Financials, Sales, Purchasing, Inventory Management, Manufacturing, MRP, DRP.  The modules are designed to work seamlessly with the rest of the system and should provide a consistent user interface between them. These systems usually have extensive set-up options that allow you to customize their functionality to your specific business needs.  Unfortunately, in the real world, ERP systems rarely are sufficient to meet all business needs and a myriad of other software packages such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are being sold to make up for their deficiencies.
EOQ See Economic Order Quantity
ERP See Enterprise Resource Planning
ETL See Extract, Transform, and Load
Event-Triggered Counting Method Any method used to determine when to count an item that is based upon a specific event occurring. Examples of events that could trigger a count would include inventory levels dropping below their specified reorder point, the completion of a production run, or on-hand inventory reaching zero.
Exception Handling The process of managing atypical events that occur during a process.  Exception handling is critical in automated processes and software routines.
Exception Report A report that selects data based on a very specific set of circumstances to identify process exceptions.  Reports that identify items with negative on-hand quantities would be an example of exception reports.
Excess Inventory Inventory quantities above a specific need. Some businesses may designate excess inventory as inventory beyond a certain time period of demand. For example, any inventory greater than 60 days demand. Others may designate it as inventory beyond their current safety stock plus lot size (order quantity).
Expediting Following up on orders placed to insure timely shipment and delivery. Requires advanced communications with shippers and carriers.
Expiration Date A product expiration date; a feature that may be used to assign an expiration date to an inventoried item. Commonly used with perishable inventory items.
Extract, Transform, and Load

The process of extracting data from an operational data source, transforming the data which can include cleansing, aggregation, summarization, integration, as well as transformation (e.g. 1 becomes “Male” 2 becomes “Female”), and loading the data into another database (e.g. ODS, enterprise data warehouse, data mart).  ETL can also refer to vendor software that performs these processes.

ETL processes extract data from source databases and copy it to target databases.  ETL can migrate data between databases, process data to form data marts and data warehouses, and convert data or databases from one format or type to another.

Fair Market Value A price that would be acceptable on the open market for items or property of equivalent comparison.
Fast Charging

Designed for nickel-based battery, fast charging fills a battery pack in about one hour. Fast charging is preferred because of reduced crystalline formation (memory). Accurate full-charge detection is important. When full, the charger switches to topping and then trickle charge. Fast chargers are used for industrial devices such as two-way radios, power tools, forklifts, and computers.

Method for quickly recharging lift truck batteries on the vehicle during short periods where the vehicle is not being used (lunches, breaks, shift changes, etc). This process for "opportunity charging" eliminates the need to change batteries in multi-shift operations. 

Fat Client See Thick Client
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, i.e. first-in-first-out.
Fill Rate The percentage of order items found during picking.
Fill Rates by Order

Whether orders are received and released consistently or released from a blanket purchase order, this metric measures the percentage of ship-from-stock orders shipped within 24 hours of order "release." Make-to-stock schedules attempt to time the availability of finished goods to match forecasted customer orders or releases. Orders that were not shipped within 24 hours due to consolidation but were available for shipment within 24 hours are reported separately. In calculating elapsed time for order fill rates, the interval begins at ship release and ends when material is consigned for shipment.

Calculation: [Number of orders filled from stock shipped within 24 hours or order release] / [Total number of stock orders] The same concept of fill rates can be applied to order lines and individual products to provide statistics on percentage of lines shipped completely and percentage of products shipped completely.

Fire Aisle A passageway established to aid in fighting or preventing the spread of fire or for access to fire fighting equipment.
Fixed Slot A slot reserved for a specific item or SKU.
Floor Load (floor-loaded container) A shipping container of freight that is loaded with freight from the floor up, rather than on pallets. A full floor-loaded container can hold more freight than a palletized load, but the containers take longer to load and to unload. Shipments to and from China are not permitted to use wooden pallets, so unless plastic pallets are uses, such shipments would be floor loads.
Floor Stock Inventory that is consumed in production but not tracked in the inventory management system.  Floor stock is different from non-stock inventory since it has an SKU and an item master record, but rather than tracking quantities in the inventory system, the materials are expensed as they are received.
Floor-to-System Count Describes a method of counting inventory where you document inventory balances found in storage and staging areas and then compare this data with system information.
Flow Rack A storage method where product is presented to picking operations at one end of a rack and replenished from the opposite end.
Forced Count Counting an item based upon an expected error.  When there is reason to suspect inventory of an item may be incorrect, the item is manually added to the next cycle count.
Forecast A Forecast is an estimation of future demand.  Most forecasts use historical demand to calculate future demand.  Adjustments for seasonality and trend are often necessary.
Forklift (fork lift, lift truck) Material handling vehicles used to lift, move, stack, rack, or otherwise manipulate loads.  Material handling workers use a lot of  terms to describe lift trucks; some terms describe specific types of vehicles, others are slang terms or  trade names that  people often mistakenly use to describe trucks. Terms include, industrial truck, forklift, reach truck, motorized pallet trucks, turret trucks, counterbalanced forklift, walkie, rider, walkie rider, walkie stacker, straddle lift, side loader, order pickers, high lift, cherry picker, Jeep, Towmotor, Yale, Crown, Hyster, Raymond, Clark, Drexel, etc.
Fulfillment The activity of processing customer orders and shipments.
Gaylord A brand name for a large corrugated container usually sized to match the length and width dimensions of a pallet. Gaylord is actually a trade name that has become synonymous with this specific type of container.
Goods Receipt A term from inventory management denoting a physical inward movement of goods or materials.
Gravity Conveyor A type of skate-wheel or roller conveyor that relies on gravity over which to manually move materials.
GTAG Global Tag – GTAG is an international RFID standard that can be used for general asset tracking.
GUI Graphical User Interface – Computer application interface / graphical user screens.  A GUI allows the use of graphics such as icons and buttons to execute actions.  Includes web applications, thin clients, and thick clients.
Hand Truck Refers to a type of fork truck that is powered but does not carry an operator. Often referred to as a walk-behind fork truck.
Hazardous Materials (hazmat) A useable item or material that because of its physical and/or chemical nature contains any of the characteristics that are 'hazardous', such as: ignitable, corrosive, reactive, toxic, or is a strong oxidizer or strong reducer.
Headmount Display A wearable device that is positioned in front of a user's eyes and projects a viewable image of a computer screen and any applications running.
Honeycombing Refers to the unused pallet positions in high-density storage that result when the number of unit-loads for an item does not completely fill the storage lane. Since mixing items in high-density storage is normally not done, these unused pallet positions are not available to store other materials.
HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the communication protocol used for exchanging files (text, graphic images, sound, video, and other multimedia files) on LANs, MANs, and WANs – such as the Internet.  HTTP handles all communication between web servers and web browsers (clients).
ICS See Inventory Control System
Indicia An imprinted designation (such as a postal permit) on a piece of mail that indicates postage payment. It can be used in place of a stamp or meter mark.
Integration Process of making disparate software, hardware systems, and devices communicate and share data with each other.
Interface The connection between multiple computer systemss or a computer and a user.
Intermodal (inter-modal) Transportation term describing the use of multiple modes of transportation for a shipment. Ocean containers that are picked up by a truck, delivered to port, transported by ship, and then picked up by another truck are a common example of intermodal transportation. In the trucking industry, intermodal usually refers to the combination of trucking and rail transportation.
Internet The world-wide network of computer networks through which people can exchange data and communications.  The Internet is a network created by inter-connecting all the private Intranets in the world.
Interop See Interoperability
Interoperability The ability of a network to interact with other networks or the ability of software and hardware on different machines from different vendors to share data.
Intranet A localized network of computers that is used to communicate electronically within that specific area.  An Intranet defines the network of computers inside an organization's firewall.
Inventory Any quantifiable item or asset that you can handle, buy, sell, store, consume, produce, or track can be considered inventory. This covers everything from office and maintenance supplies, to raw material used for manufacturing, to semi-finished and finished goods, to fuel used to power equipment used in the business.
Inventory Accuracy The degree to which inventory quantities in the warehouse management system (WMS) database agree with the actual physical inventory in the warehouse or supply chain.
Inventory Control System

An integrated package of software and hardware used in warehouse operations, and elsewhere, to monitor the quantity, location, and status of inventory. Additionally, shipping, receiving, picking, and putaway processes are also managed by inventory control systems. Modern inventory control systems rely upon barcodes, and potentially RFID tags, to provide automatic identification of inventory objects. To record an inventory transaction, the system uses a barcode scanner or RFID reader to automatically identify the inventory object, and then collects additional information from operators via fixed terminals or mobile computers.

An inventory control system may be used to automate a sales order fulfillment process. Such a system contains a list of order to be filled, and then prompts workers to pick the necessary items, and provides them with packaging and shipping information. Real-time inventory control systems use wireless, mobile terminals to record inventory transactions at the moment they occur utilizing a wireless LAN to transmit transaction information to a central administration point. Also typically includes physical inventory counting and cycle-counting features.

Inventory Management The direction and control of activities with the purpose of getting the right inventory in the right place at the right time in the right quantity in the right form and at the right cost.
Inward Inventory Incoming inventory

Internet Protocol – IP is the basic language of the Internet; it is a data packet-based (datagram) protocol for delivering data across networks. The IP datagram consists of an IP header followed by a message.  Most networks combine IP with a higher- level protocol called Transport Control Protocol (TCP), which establishes a virtual connection between a destination and a source. 

The current and most popular network layer protocol in use today is IPv4; this version of the protocol is assigned version 4. IPv4 was adopted by the United States Department of Defense as MIL-STD-1778.  IPv6 is the proposed successor to IPv4 whose most prominent change is the addressing.  IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses (~4 billion addresses) while IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses (~3.4×1038 addresses).  Versions 0 through 3 were either reserved or unused; version 5 was used for an experimental stream protocol.  Other version numbers have been assigned, usually for experimental protocols, but have not been widely used.

Item Number See SKU
J2EE The Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE or Java EE) is a collection of related specifications and corresponding documentation that describe an enterprise-level computing architecture for the Java development platform.
Jackpot Line A Jackpot Line refers to an area where exceptions are routed. Exceptions may include orders that could not be completed (shortages or WMS error), orders requiring special processing, or weight or size exceptions. The terms Jackpot Lane, or Jackpot Area are also used to describe similar exception areas.
Java Java is a high-level, object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems.  It is similar to C++, but has been simplified to eliminate language features that cause common programming errors.  Java is a general purpose programming language with a number of features that make the language well-suited for use on the Internet and in heterogeneous environments.  Java runs as an interpreted language, which means that the same code can run on different hardware platforms through the use of an underlying interpreter for each hardware and operating system (OS) configuration.
JavaServer Faces JavaServer Faces (JSF) technology simplifies building user interfaces (UIs) for Java web applications.  Developers can quickly build web applications by assembling reusable UI components on a page, allowing for rapid prototyping and product delivery.  Components and accompanying HTML code are compiled and executed in Java J2EE web server containers.
JDBC Short for Java Database Connectivity, a Java API that enables Java programs to execute SQL statements. This allows Java programs to interact with any SQL-compliant database. Since nearly all relational database management systems (DBMSs) support SQL, and because Java itself runs on most platforms, JDBC makes it possible to write a single database application that can run on different platforms and interact with different DBMSs.
JIT (just-in-time) Inventory management in which materials arrive "just in time" for final preparation and shipment. JIT fulfillment optimizes warehouse space, and reduces inventory holding costs, but requires advanced supply chain management (SCM) skills, to ensure that all components necessary to ship the products arrive in warehouse just in time for final kitting, packing, and shipment.
JSF See JavaServer Faces
Kanban Used as part of a Just-In-Time production operation where components and sub-assemblies are produced based upon notification of demand from a subsequent operation.  Historically, Kanban has been a physical notification such as a card (kanban cards) or even an empty hopper or tote sent up the line to the previous operation. Kanban is actually a simplistic means of both signaling the need for inventory as well as controlling the inventory levels (by limiting kanban cards or containers).
Key Performance Indicator

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are financial and non-financial metrics (measurements) used to quantify objectives to reflect the strategic performance of a process or entity. A KPI is used to assess the present state of business and to prescribe the course of action. They help an organization measure progress towards their organizational goals.

A KPI is a key part of a measurable objective, which is made up of a direction, target and timeframe. For example, in 'Increase Average Revenue per Customer from $100 to $500 by December 2007', 'Average Revenue Per Customer' is the KPI.

Kitting A "kit" represents a preset group of items, of varying quantities, that is represented as a unique item in your supply chain.  Kitting can involve light assembly, or the picking and packing of order components and collateral materials into a "kit," or complete set of items ready to ship.
KPI See Key Performance Indicator

Local Area Network, a typically IP-based network of machines capable of digital communication within an enclosed area such as an office, a home, or a small workgroup of computers. LAN also refers to the private portion of a network inside of a firewall, which may connect a LAN to the Internet, a WAN, or another LAN. 

LANs are further broken down into wired and wireless LANs.  Wired LANs use Ethernet cabling to connect network devices via network equipment, such as hubs, switches, and routers.  Wireless LANs (802.11X) use radio frequencies to connect wireless network devices to wired LANs or other wireless devices via a Wireless Access Point (WAP).

Last Count Date Date maintained in the inventory control system database that records the last date that the item/location combination was on an approved count sheet.  Last count date is used in combination with the cycle count period to calculate the next count date.
Lead Time Amount of time required for an item to be available for use from the time it is ordered.  Lead time should include purchase order processing time, vendor processing time, in transit time, receiving, inspection, and any prepack times.
Lead Time Demand Forecasted demand during the lead time period.  For example, if your forecasted demand is 3 units per day and your lead time is 12 days your lead time demand would be 36 units.
Lean Manufacturing Alternate term used to describe the philosophies and techniques associated with Just-in-time  (JIT) manufacturing.
Legacy System Implies a computer or information system that is old or outdated. Often used to describe home-grown (custom built) mainframe systems, however, software companies will use the term legacy system to define any external system that is not based on the current version of a software package.
Less than Truck Load A shipment that is less than a standard full trailer load. Certain freight carriers specialize in LTL shipments, which require more logistics management than full truckloads, since many pickups and deliveries must be scheduled for the same truck.
License Plate A document, tag, or label used to identify a unitized load.
LIFO In inventory control and financial accounting, this refers to the practice of using stock from inventory on the basis of what was received last and is consumed first, i.e. last-in-first-out.
Line Item A single detail record. The term line item is most commonly used to describe the detail (each line that reflects an item and a quantity) on sales orders or purchase orders.
Location Sequencing Used with a Warehouse Management System (WMS); allows for efficient order picking and put away. Locations are associated with a sequence number, which directs the user, with a portable terminal, to a predefined location when picking and/or putting away order items. This reduces the travel time when putting away and picking orders.
Lot Number Number assigned to a discrete batch of an item.  Lot numbers are usually assigned to each separate production run of an item.
Lot Tracking The process of tracking inventory by lot number through manufacturing and distribution processes.
LTL See Less than Truck Load
Main Aisle A passageway wide enough to permit the easy flow of equipment, supplies, and personnel; it generally runs the length of the building.

Metropolitan Area Networks (Metro Area Network) are large computer networks usually spanning a campus or a city. They typically use wireless infrastructure or optical fiber connections to link their sites. For instance a university or college may have a MAN that joins together many of their local area networks (LANs) situated around site of a fraction of a square kilometer. Then from their MAN they could have several wide area network (WAN) links to other universities or the Internet.

Some technologies used for this purpose are ATM, FDDI, and SMDS. These technologies are in the process of being displaced by Ethernet-based MANs (e.g. Metro Ethernet) in most areas. MAN links between LANs have traditionally been built without cables using microwave, radio, or infrared free-space optical communication links.

Manufacturing Resource Planning Process for determining material, labor, and machine requirements in a manufacturing environment.   MRPII is the consolidation of Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Capacity Requirements Planning (CRP), and Master Production Scheduling (MPS).  MRP was originally designed for materials planning only. When labor and machine (resources) planning were incorporated it became known as MRPII.  Today the definition of MRPII is generally associated with MRP systems.
Master Production Schedule Production schedule specifying specific items, quantities, and dates at which production is expected to take place. The primary purpose of an MPS is to manage capacity when you have some time periods where demand is expected to exceed capacity. You will then use MPS to produce some products in advance of demand (forecasted or actual orders) during periods when capacity exceeds demand.
Material Handling Material Handling is the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal.  The focus is on the methods, mechanical equipment, systems and related controls used to achieve these functions.
Material Handling Equipment Material Handling Equipment is the mechanical equipment used in the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal.
Materials Management The planning of acquisition, maintaining inventory and disposition. This process is based upon scheduling according to need and anticipated usage.
MES Manufacturing Execution System – Software systems designed to integrate with enterprise systems to enhance the shop floor control functionality in ERP systems.  MES provides for shop floor scheduling, production and labor reporting, integration with computerized manufacturing systems such as automatic data collection, and computerized machinery.
Metrics Quantitative measures of performance or production used to indicate progress or achievement against strategic goals.
Middleware Software designed to integrate separate software and/or hardware systems.  Middleware provides the communication between the disparate systems.
Minimum Inventory The amount of stock on hand that has been designated as safety stock.
MPS See Master Production Schedule
MRO Maintenance, Repair, and Operating Inventory – Term used to describe inventory used to maintain equipment as well as miscellaneous supplies such as office and cleaning supplies.
MRP See Manufacturing Resource Planning
MRPII / MRP II See Manufacturing Resource Planning
Multi-Plant Environments where multiple physical sites are managed.
Multi-Warehouse Picking Inventory picking and putaway processes across multiple warehouses.  Warehouses can be located in the same building, on the same came campus, in the same town, or across the country.  Warehouse Management Systems (WMSs) must be able to handle multiple physical locations or the WMS software from each warehouse must be able to interface with the others to share inventory and order data.
n-Tier Application Architecture n-tier application architecture provides a model for developers to create a flexible and reusable application.  Breaking up an application into tiers allows developers to only have to modify or add a specific layer, rather than have to re-write an entire application, if they decide to make changes. In the term 'n-tier,' 'n' implies any number — like 2-tier, or 4-tier; basically any number of distinct tiers used in your architecture.
Narrow Aisle Describes lift trucks that operate in aisles of 8' to 10'.  Narrow-aisle trucks are generally stand-up vehicles such as reach trucks.
Next Count Date Date used in cycle counting programs that is calculated by adding the cycle count period to the last count date.
Non-Stock Inventory Inventory that is not tracked within your perpetual inventory system.  Non-stock inventory will not have an item master record or internal SKU.
Normal Distribution Term used in statistical analysis to describe a distribution of numbers in which the probability of an occurrence, if graphed, would follow the form of a bell-shaped curve.  This is the most popular distribution model for determining probability and has been found to work well in predicting demand variability based upon historical data.
Object-Oriented Software (object-based) A software development approach designed to promote reusability of tested and validated software components to simplify and accelerate the creation and maintenance of software.  Systems are constructed from instances of classes called objects, which themselves may be aggregations of smaller objects.  Fundamentally, lower-level code is developed and tested once and used repeatedly by reference instead of re-writing the code in each module.  Since the code is used by reference from a common source, changes only need to be made once.  Visualized as software building blocks.
Obsolete Inventory Inventory that has had no sales or usage activity for a specific period of time. The period of time varies by company and industry and may even vary by product line within a specific company and may range from weeks to years.  Sometimes referred to as Dead Inventory.
Occupiable Space The space remaining in the warehouse for storing warehousing units after allocating space for service aisles, access aisles, and other utility space.
OHB See On-Hand Balance
OHI See On-Hand Balance
Oligopoly Where market availability is held by a limited number of firms.
On-Hand Balance (on hand inventory) The amount of product in the warehouse; includes product designated as damaged, on hold, or pending shipment.
OO See Object-Oriented Software
Operating System The hardware-specific electronic instructions that control a computer and spawn user processes. Notable operating systems: Microsoft Windows 2003/XP/2000/NT/98/95/3.1, Linux, BSD, Solaris, Macintosh OS X, DOS, OS/2, OS/390, OS/400, z/OS, i5/OS, QNX, etc.
Order Cost

Also known as purchase cost or set up cost, order cost is the sum of the fixed costs that are incurred each time an item is ordered. These costs are not associated with the quantity ordered but primarily with physical activities required to process the order. For purchased items, these would include the cost to enter the purchase order and/or requisition, any approval steps, the cost to process the receipt, incoming inspection, invoice processing and vendor payment, and in some cases a portion of the inbound freight may also be included in order cost.

In manufacturing, the order cost would include the time to initiate the work order, time associated with picking and issuing components excluding time associated with counting and handling specific quantities, all production scheduling time, machine set up time, and inspection time. Order cost is used as part of most cost-based order quantity/lot sizing calculations.

Order Cycle Also called replenishment cycle, order cycle refers to the time between orders of a specific item. Most easily calculated by dividing the order quantity by the annual demand and multiplying by the number of days in the year.
Order Picking See Pick-by-Order
Order Point See Reorder Point
OS See Operating System
Packing List A document that itemizes in detail the contents of a particular package or shipment.
Pallet A device used for moving and storing freight. A pallet is used as a base for sorting, stacking, and transporting goods as a unit load. The standard pallet is 40” by 48” and approximately 4 inches high. It is constructed to facilitate the placement of a the prongs of a forklift between the levels of the pallet so it may be moved onto a freight car or into a warehouse.  "Pallet" also sometimes is used to describe a unit of freight; i.e. the amount of freight that will fit on a pallet.
Paperless When referring to processing in the warehouse (paperless picking, paperless receiving) or on the shop floor, paperless generally suggests that the direction of tasks and execution of transactions are conducted electronically on an interactive client without the use of paper documents.
Phantom (phantom bill of material) A fictitious bill of material created for common subassemblies or kits that you do not want to produce as separate items.  For example, if you have a number of products that all use the same hardware kit you can create a phantom bill for the hardware kit and then just put the phantom item on the bills for all products that use it. Your MRP system will treat the phantom bill components as though they were part of the bill for the higher level item (rather than treating it as a separate item that needs to be produced). Phantom items never actually exist, they are just a means for simplifying the management of your bills of materials.
Physical Inventory The process of manually counting product in the warehouse and reconciling the count to book inventory.
Pick and Pack (pick & pack, pick & ship) A term that refers to the fulfillment of orders.
Pick and Pass (pick & pass) See Zone Picking
Pick Line An arrangement of items in some orderly system to facilitate selecting or picking warehousing units to satisfy orders.
Pick List A computer-generated and optimized list of what items need to be picked to fulfill an order.
Pick Sequence A location's travel sequence, relative to its neighbors, when picking or putting away inventory.
Pick-and-Pass See Zone Picking

Inventory order picking method where a warehouse is picked for the completion of a single order at a time.  Each warehouse operator is assigned an inventory order and that operator fulfills that order, picking each order line item in the most-intelligent way possible without back-tracking.

Pick-by-Order Type Inventory order picking method where a warehouse is picked for the completion of a single type of order at a time.  Each warehouse operator is assigned an inventory order type and that operator fulfills only orders of that order type.  Typically, inventory orders are defined as customer orders, internal orders, stock orders, etc.  This strategy allows a warehouse operation to concentrate on fulfilling particular order types, e.g. internal or stock orders, without manipulating the warehouse management system's order type priorities.
Pick-by-Zone Order picking method where a warehouse is divided into several pick zones. This is often the most efficient method for orders consisting of many products of different sizes or requiring different types of storage. Pickers are assigned to a specific zone, as orders are moved from one zone to the next as they move toward completion.
Pick-to-Clear Method often used in warehouse management systems that directs picking to the locations with the smallest quantities on-hand.
Picking Picking is the movement of stock from a storage area to a staging area. The Material Handling Operator will “pick” the stock which is assigned to a particular order. The operator must pay close attention and match the items listed on the order to the information on the product.
Picking Accuracy Accuracy measurement associated with the order picking process.
Planned Order Term used within MRP and DRP systems for system-generated planned order quantities.  Planned orders only exist within the computer system and serve multiple functions.  One function is to notify the materials/planner or buyer to produce or order materials, which is done by converting a planned order into an purchase order, shop order, or transfer order.
Planning Bill of Material (planning bom) A fictitious bill of material used to group options of a family of products. For example, you may have a line of automobiles where most of the components are the same, but some will have different engines, transmissions, seats, etc. Rather than creating separate bills for each possible combination and then forecasting each possible combination, you create one large planning bill that contains all possible components but uses the "quantity per" to manage the options. Planning bills are sometimes referred to as Super Bills or Pseudo Bills.
Planography A scale drawing of a storage area showing the approved layout of the area, location of bulk bin, rack and box pallet areas, aisles, assembly areas, walls, doorways, directions of storage, office space, washrooms, and other support and operational areas.
PO See Purchase Order
Postponement A manufacturing or distribution strategy where specific operations associated with a product are delayed until just prior to shipping.
Process Manufacturing Type of manufacturing where a product is produced or transformed through mixing, chemical reactions, etc.  Examples of process manufacturing would be refining crude oil into gasoline, extracting copper from ore, combining materials to make paint.  Process as opposed to discrete manufacturing.
Procurement Cycle The entire cycle of purchasing functions and duties which occur during acquisition of commodities.
Public Warehouse A business that provides short or long-term storage to a variety of businesses, usually on a month-to-month basis.  A public warehouse will generally use their own equipment and staff, however, agreements may be made where the client either buys or subsidizes equipment.  Public warehouse fees are usually a combination of storage fees (per pallet or actual sq. footage) and transaction fees (inbound and outbound).  Public warehouses are most often used to supplement space requirements of a private warehouse.
Purchase Order A document used to approve, track, and process purchased items. A purchase order is used to communicate a purchase to a supplier. It is also used as an authorization to purchase. A purchase order will state quantities, costs, and delivery dates. The purchase order is also used to process and track receipts and supplier invoices/payments associated with the purchase.
Put Away (putaway) Placing received or returned goods into the warehouse storage area.
Quality Control A monitoring of a manufacturing or storage process that determines the level of quality of the goods to be supplied.
Quarantine Stock Stock being withheld from normal distribution due to product recall, inadequate documentation, contamination, or some other reason.
Queue A linked list of waiting jobs.
Quiet Zone Blank area on either side of a 1D bar code required for an accurate read of the code.  Quiet zones for 2D bar codes must exist on all four sides.
Rack Wood or metal framework upon which units or unitized loads are placed.
Radio Frequency Refers to the portable data collection / printing devices that use radio frequency (RF) to transmit data to the local host system.
Re-Warehousing The practice of re-handling lots already in storage in order to make room or consolidate storage. Re-warehousing is a continuous process that involves handling due to the manner in which withdrawals are made from lots. Re-warehousing also occurs in making letdowns from the upper rack tiers or stacks to facilitate picking.
Real-Time WMS A real-time Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an interactive system aware of each transaction and constantly conscious of all inventory in a supply chain.  Users prompt the system for work and the WMS optimizes each task for a more efficient warehouse operation.  Constant communication is maintained through wireless or RF equipment and remote printing.
Receipts The materials or transactions associated with the receiving process.
Receiving Area Area in the warehouse where goods are received.
Release Strategy A plan defining the release codes with which a purchase requisition item, a complete purchase requisition, or a complete external purchasing document must be released (that is, approved) and the sequence in which release is to be effected using these codes. For example, you can establish a release strategy for all purchase requisitions with a value in excess of a certain figure.
Reorder Point The inventory level set to trigger reorder of a specific item.  Reorder point is generally calculated as the expected usage (demand) during the lead time plus some level of safety stock.
Reorder Quantity The number of units, determined by logical factors, scheduled for reorder when the reorder point is reached.
Replenishment A method of replenishing stock; the replacement of used warehouse inventory.
Replenishment Element A definable element in the system that triggers material replenishment.
Requisition Internal document by which a using agency requests the procurement office to initiate a purchase. May also be a form used to obtain supplies from a storeroom or warehouse.
Reverse Logistics The processing of returning products. Reverse logistics often involves customer service, product refurbishing, product repackaging, processing of credits and refunds, restoring product to inventory, and the liquidation of product.
RF See Radio Frequency
RFI Request for Information – A formal document issued by a company to the market place to find vendors / providers or check that the service levels of existing providers are inline with best market practice.  It is also used to confirm that the use of a service provided is still justified or to solicit external solutions to a particular business or operational problem.
RFID (radio frequency identification) Systems of transponders that transmit data to a receiver for inventory identification and placement. RFID can carry more information than barcodes, allowing for such specialty information as batch number, and date of manufacture.

Request for Proposal – A formal document, containing a list of questions sent out to potential vendors / providers, to source the provision of goods and/or services.

An RFP typically involves more than the price.  Other requested information may include basic corporate information and history, financial information (can the company deliver without risk of bankruptcy), technical capability (used on major procurements of services, where the item has not previously been made or where the requirement could be met by varying technical means), product information such as stock availability and estimated completion period, and customer references that can be checked to determine a company's suitability.

RFP's often include specifications of the item, project, or service for which a proposal is requested.  The more detailed the specifications, the better the chances that the proposal provided will be accurate.

RFQ Request for Quote (Request for Quotation) – A document used to solicit vendor responses when a product has been selected and price quotations are needed from several vendors.

Request for Tender – A business process where an organization advertises for the supply of specified goods or services.  RFT is sometimes also used to refer to the tender process itself, or the tender documentation.  In many countries, public bodies are legally required to go through an RFT process in order to demonstrate that competition has taken place and value for money has been obtained.

In the European Union a public body must issue an RFT in all cases where the likely value of the business is expected to exceed €200,000.

Role-Based Security

An approach to restricting system access to authorized users based on a user’s functional group or role within the organization.  Roles are created for various job functions; the permission to perform certain operations (permissions) is assigned to specific roles.  System users are assigned particular roles, and through those role assignments acquire the permissions to perform particular system functions.

Since users are not assigned permissions directly, but only acquire them through their role (or roles), management of individual user rights becomes a matter of simply assigning the appropriate roles to the user, which simplifies common operations such as adding a user or changing a user's department.  Roles can exist in a hierarchy, with each parent role assuming the rights of its children.

Users can be added to LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory groups and these groups can be added directory to system access control lists (ACLs) or individual applications.  Also known as Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

Rolling Average Inventory An average inventory count or value based on the immediate past 12 month period.
Safety Stock Quantity of inventory used in inventory management systems to allow for deviations in demand or supply.  Safety stock calculations will take into account historic deviations and use a required service level multiplier to determine the optimal safety stock level.  The use of a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can eliminate the need for safety stock.
SCM See Supply Chain Management
Screen Scraping Software mechanism that provides the functionality to change the arrangement of data fields on a computer screen that accesses a mainframe computer program.  Screen Scraping or Screen Mapping is frequently used in combination with terminal emulation software to "re-map" data fields from a standard mainframe or legacy application to be used on commodity hardware or on the smaller screen of a portable handheld device.
Serial Number A unique number assigned to each discrete unit of an item.
Serial Number Tracking The process of tracking serial numbers through manufacturing and distribution processes.
Service Aisle An aisle used to reach access aisles. Service aisles may also be used to gain access to storage lots. Utilizing the service aisle to gain facings or slots is often overlooked in making warehouse layouts.
Shipping Manifest System Software used to associate shipments with carrier, service, rate, etc. Shipping manifest systems will produce a report (physical or electronic) that is sent to the carrier (UPS, Fedex, DHL, USPS, etc.) to be used for billing purposes. Shipping systems will usually produce shipping documents such as compliance shipping labels, bill of ladings, etc.
Shrinkage Employee-related losses and losses by issue error.
SKU (stock keeping unit) The unique identification number assigned to an item. Also called the item number, part number, product number, or SKU number.
Slotting Slotting describes the activities associated with optimizing the pick location for a product. Factors to be considered for slotting optimization include the times a SKU is picked, the amount of cubic feet the stored items used, and the minimum face dimensions required at picking location, distance from other SKUs that could be part of the same batch, and distance from the product staging area.

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a standard for exchanging lightweight XML-based messages over a computer network, normally using HTTP.  SOAP, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), forms the foundation layer of the web services stack, providing a basic messaging framework that more abstract layers can build on to interop between heterogeneous systems. 

SOAP consists of three parts: an envelope that defines a framework for describing what is in a message and how to process it, a set of encoding rules for expressing instances of application-defined data types, and a convention for representing remote procedure calls and responses.

SQL Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standard computer language for communicating with a relational database.

Secure Sockets Layer – a protocol for transmitting private documents via LANs, MANs, and WANs – such as the Internet.  SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that's transferred over the SSL connection.  Most browsers support SSL, and many Web sites use the protocol to obtain confidential user information, such as credit card numbers.  By convention, URLs that require an SSL connection start with https: instead of http:

Another protocol for transmitting data securely over the World Wide Web is Secure HTTP (S-HTTP).  Whereas SSL creates a secure connection between a client and a server, over which any amount of data can be sent securely, S-HTTP is designed to transmit individual messages securely.  SSL and S-HTTP, therefore, can be seen as complementary rather than competing technologies.  Both protocols have been approved by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as a standard.

Stacking Efficiency A ratio expressed as a percentage of the potential stacking height used by the warehousing units in the stack after making all deductions for pallets or other horizontal separation.
Staged Inventory Inventory that is in a temporary storage area awaiting further processing.
Staging The process of getting product from its storage area and placing it near the loading area for later shipment; or in cross-docking, the process of unloading product and organizing it for immediate shipment.
Staging Area A designated area of the warehouse where product is temporarily placed or arranged for shipment.
Standard Deviation The spread of a distribution of numbers.  The square root of the square of the variance of a number from the mean.
Start-up Costs (startup costs)

Costs associated with starting-up a business or operation.  Typically includes real estate, equipment, technology, supplies, materials, and workforce.

Start/Stop Characters Distinct characters or patterns used at the beginning and end of each barcode symbol which provide the scanner with the start and stop reading instructions as well as the scanning direction indicator.
Stock The commodity or commodities on hand in a storeroom or warehouse to support operations.
Stock Control Determining the usage rate of an inventory and controlling the level of ordering and inventory accordingly.
Stock Reservation The sum of all quantities of a material reserved for withdrawal from stock.
Stock-Out The condition existing when a supply requisition cannot be filled from stock.
Stock-Out Rate The number of stock-outs per hundred line items picked.
Storeroom A secure place for storage of things. A storeroom may be a designated separate secure area within a warehouse or a designated storage room in a workplace and may contain warehouse stock or end-use items.
Supply Chain The supply chain consists of the physical and communication paths connecting multiple, inter-related businesses.  Materials, goods, finished products, and information flow through these paths from their points of origin or source (often viewed as beginning with raw material) to the final end consumer. This flow is sometimes extended to include the eventual disposal, recycling, or return of goods.
Supply Chain Management The management of a supply chain of goods as a process from supplier of raw materials or components to the manufacturer, to the distributor to the wholesale buyer to the end consumer. Supply chain management involves the actual products moving through the chain, but also the management of all the information (data) about the product, such as its origin, its destination, payment status, client ordering history, and information about all parties that handle the product in all links of the supply chain. Supply Chain Management can streamline inventory, increase inventory turnover, improve the speed of transaction completion, and increase revenue for the client.
Surplus Commodities that are not returnable to the vendor for credit, but are useful for some purpose and are in excess or obsolete for the cost center owning the goods.
Symbology The language used to record information in bar code form.
Tare Weight The weight of the container that holds the materials you are weighing.
Task Interleaving Term used in describing the functionality of Warehouse Management Systems to mix picking and putaway tasks in order to reduce travel time.  Sending a forklift driver to put away a pallet on his way to his next pick is an example of task interleaving.
TCO See Total Cost of Ownership
TCP Whereas the IP protocol deals only with packets, TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data.  TCP guarantees delivery of data and also guarantees that packets will be delivered in the same order in which they were sent.
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite, sometimes called the TCP/IP protocol suite, is the set of communications protocols that implement the protocol stack on which the Internet and most commercial networks run.  Named after the two most important and first defined protocols: the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), can be viewed as a set of layers, each layer solves a set of problems involving the transmission of data, and provides a well-defined service to the upper layer protocols based on using services from some lower layers.  Upper layers are logically closer to the user and deal with more abstract data, relying on lower layer protocols to translate data into forms that can eventually be physically transmitted.
TDD See Test Driven Development
Terminal Emulation Software that allows the computer to act as a virtual instantiation of another system.  Terminal emulation is a common method used to connect portable computers to mainframe software.
Test Driven Development

Test Driven Development (TDD) is a computer programming technique that involves repeatedly first writing a unit test and then implementing only the code necessary to pass the test. The goal of test-driven development is to achieve rapid feedback and development. Practitioners emphasize that test-driven development is a method of designing software, not just a method of testing. Along with other techniques, the concept can also be applied to the improvement and removal of software defects from legacy code that was not developed in this way.

Test driven development requires that a unit test, that defines the requirements of the application and the code, is written before each aspect of the code itself.  These tests contain assertions that are either true or false. This allows for rapid feedback of correctness and design as the code evolves and is refactored.

Thick Client (Fat Client) A client that performs the bulk of any data processing operations itself, and relies on the server it is associated with primarily for data storage.  Opposite of Thin Client.
Thin Client A computer (client) in client-server architecture networks which has little or no application logic, so it has to depend primarily on a central server for processing. The word "thin" refers to the small boot image and virtually non-existent processing and memory utilization.  Think clients, in fact, require very little processing power and are ideal for avoiding hardware purchases by reusing older, legacy hardware.  Web applications via a web browser is a typical example, other examples include "Remote Desktop" connection such as X11, Citrix ICA, or Microsoft RDP.  Opposite of a Thick (Fat) Client.
Third-Party Fulfillment The activity of warehousing and processing customer shipments on behalf of a client to serve his end-user customers. Third party fulfillment (3PL) can be used for business-to-business (B2B) transactions for products such as for machinery, replacement parts, and components, or for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions generated from such sources as websites, e-mail, direct mail, catalogs, television, and telemarketing. Though many manufacturers and marketer choose to do their own fulfillment, outsourcing to a specialist in third-party fulfillment can potentially result in greater efficiencies, cost savings, and allow manufacturers and marketing to focus on growing their core business.
Third-Party Warehouse An outside, contract warehouse where goods are storage and transported for a fee, typically without the long-term commitments associated with building or leasing, designing, and staffing your own warehouse.  Pricing varies by space and services required.
Three-Way Match An accounting practice that compares a vendor invoice against a receipt and a purchase order.
Time Buckets Term used to describe forecast periods.
TMS See Transportation Management System
Total Cost of Ownership

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a financial estimate designed to help consumers and enterprise managers assess direct and indirect costs related to the purchase of any capital investment, such as (but not limited to) computer software or hardware.

A TCO assessment ideally offers a final statement reflecting not only the cost of purchase but all aspects in the further use and maintenance of the equipment, device, or system.  This includes the costs of training support personnel and the users of the system, costs associated with failure or outage (planned and unplanned), diminished performance incidents (i.e. if users are kept waiting), costs of security breaches (in loss of reputation and recovery costs), costs of disaster preparedness and recovery, floor space, electricity, development expenses, testing infrastructure and expenses, quality assurance, incremental growth, decommissioning, and more. Therefore TCO is sometimes referred to as total cost of operation.  When incorporated in any financial benefit analysis, TCO provides a cost basis for determining the economic value of that investment.

For example, the decision to buy a computer may result in the following TCO analysis: the greater initial price of a high-end computer is to be balanced by adding likely repair costs and earlier replacement to the purchase cost of a cheaper bargain brand, among other factors.  The initial price is just the beginning of the life cycle of expected costs.

Tracking Number A carrier's unique tracking identifier for a package.
Transaction History File A database or flat file that contains a detailed record for each transaction to a system.  Transaction history files allow for complete system restoration, system database copies, archiving, and complete system backups.
Transfer The movement of inventory between storage locations within a facility or between facilities.  Also describes that transaction associated with the transfer activity.
Transportation Management System Category of operations software that may include products for shipment manifesting, rate shopping, routing, fleet management, yard management, carrier management, freight cost management.

A connectionless protocol that, similar to TCP but without guaranteed packet delivery, runs over IP networks.  Unlike TCP/IP, UDP/IP provides very few error recovery services, offering instead a direct way to send and receive datagrams over an IP network.  It's used primarily for broadcasting messages over a network where the loss of an individual packet can be overlooked.

Unit of Measure The unit of measure describes how the quantity of an item is tracked in your inventory system. The most common unit of measure is "eaches" (EA), which simply means that each individual item is considered one unit. An item that uses "cases" (CA or CS) as the unit of measure would be tracked by the number of cases rather than by the actual piece quantity. Other examples of units of measure would include pallets (PL), pounds (LB), ounces (OZ), linear feet (LF), square feet (SF), cubic feet (CF), gallons , thousands, hundreds, pairs, dozens.
Unit Test Method constructed with special test syntax to describe the expected outcomes of given method inputs.  A unit test will call a method or function with inputs that have known, expected return values.  Any changes to the method which cause its return values to conflict with the known, expected return values will cause an exception.  This exception signals that this method must be corrected; no further testing is necessary if the corrections then make the method return the known, expected return values.
Unit Testing In computer programming, a unit test is a procedure used to validate that a particular module of source code is working properly.  The procedure is to write test cases for each function and method so that whenever a change is made to unit-tested code, its unit test will fail.  The malfunctioning code can then be quickly identified and fixed.  Ideally, each test case is separate from the others.  This type of testing is mostly done by the developers and not by end-users.  See Test Driven Development (TDD).
UOM See Unit of Measure
URL Universal Resource Locator – the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web (WWW).  The first part of the address indicates what protocol to use, the second part specifies the IP address or the domain name where the resource is located, and the third part specifies the directory structure and/or file name.
User Experience A term used to describe the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system.
Vendor-Managed Inventory Used to describe the process of a supplier managing the inventory levels and purchases of the materials he supplies.  This process can be very low tech, such as an office supplies supplier or maintenance supplies supplier coming into your facility once per week to visually check stock levels and place a re-supply order, or high tech, such as an electronic component supplier having remote access to your inventory management and MRP system and producing and automatically shipping to meet your production schedule.  Vendor-managed inventory reduces internal costs associated with planning and procuring materials and enables the vendor to better manage his inventory through higher visibility to the supply chain.  Vendor-managed inventory may be owned by the vendor (consignment inventory) or the customer.
Very Narrow Aisle Lift trucks that operate in aisles less than six feet and often use guidance systems (wire, rail, or optical) to travel within the aisles.  Types of VNA trucks include order selectors, swing mast, pivot, mast, and turret trucks.
VMI See Vendor-Managed Inventory
VNA See Very Narrow Aisle
VSAT Very Small Aperture Terminal – an earthbound station used in satellite communications of data, voice, and video signals, excluding broadcast television.  A VSAT consists of two parts, a transceiver that is placed outdoors in direct line-of-sight to the satellite and a device (Personal Earth Station, PES) that is placed indoors to interface the transceiver with the end user's communications device, such as a PC.  The transceiver receives or sends a signal to a satellite transponder.  The satellite sends and receives signals from a ground station computer that acts as a hub for the system.  Each end user is interconnected with the hub station via the satellite, forming a star topology.  The hub controls the entire operation of the network.  For one end user to communicate with another, each transmission has to first go to the hub station that then re-transmits it via the satellite to the other end user's VSAT.   Sometimes known as a private dedicated connection via satellite.
WAN Wide Area Network – A computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area. Typically, a WAN consists of two or more local area networks (LANs). Computers connected to a wide area network are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system.  They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites. The largest WAN in existence is the Internet.
Warehouse A structure designated for the storage of goods.
Warehouse Control System Software used to control automated systems such as sortation systems, AS/RS, AGV's, and carousels in a warehouse.
Warehouse Layout The design and implementation of a warehousing strategy; typically includes storage rack placement, aisle design, production workflow, location numbering, staging locations, shipping locations, receiving locations, slotting, etc. strategies to maximize warehouse efficiency. An effective warehouse layout facilitates efficient and flexible material movement in and out of your facility. It can remove bottlenecks, shorten order cycles, reduces inventory, increase worker productivity, and improve warehouse safety. Proper facility design is critical to get the most out of your distribution facility, but optimal inventory storage, traffic flow, transportation routes, emergency preparation, and worker safety must be considered. Usage storage areas are typically measured in square footage (square feet / sq. ft.).  Visualized as a 3D map of a warehouse.
Warehouse Management System

Computer software designed specifically for managing the movement and storage of materials throughout the warehouse. WMS functionality is generally broken down into the following three operations: Picking, Putaway, and Replenishment. The key to these systems is the logic to direct these operations to specific locations based on user defined criteria.

WMSs are a key part of the supply chain and provide directed stock rotation, intelligent picking directives, automatic consolidation, and cross-docking to maximize the use of valuable warehouse space. The systems also direct and optimizes stock put-away based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization. Warehouse management systems utilize Auto ID Data Capture technology, such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs and potentially RFID to efficiently monitor the flow of products. Once data has been collected, there is either a batch synchronization with, or a real-time wireless transmission to a central database. The database can then provide useful reports about the status of goods in the warehouse.

Warehouse Orchestration System A warehouse management system capable of tracking all inventory in your warehouses by owner, item, zone, and location and proactively monitoring inventory levels, locations, employees, and key performance indicators in order to alert you when metrics fall outside of your configured levels or allow you to quantifiably manage and optimize your supply chain.
Warehouse Requisition A request from the warehouse to Purchasing to initiate a purchase order to restock one or more items.
Warehouse Security The combined total effort to exclude intrusion into a warehouse or control system by unauthorized persons, destructive pests, and acts of nature. Includes record keeping, access control, building design, maintenance, and housekeeping functions.
Wave Picking orders that are grouped together. Also referred to as "batched orders."
Wave Picking A type of zone picking in which orders do not move from one zone to another, but all zones are picked at the same time and the items are later sorted and consolidated into individual orders. Wave picking is the fastest method to pick for batches of multi-item orders, but it requires advanced sorting and consolidation logic.
WCS See Warehouse Control System
Web Application Software designed to run within a web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer or Firefox). This allows a user to access the application from any location that has network connectivity and a web browser, e.g. desktop PCs, laptop PCs, PDAs, and web-enabled phones.  No additional software is needed on the computer accessing the application and client upgrades are unnecessary.
Web Services

A software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network.  Web services provide an interface that is described in a machine-processable format, such as WSDL.  Other systems interact with the web service in a manner prescribed by its interface using messages, which may be enclosed in a SOAP envelope, or follow a RESTful approach.  These messages are typically conveyed using HTTP, and normally comprise XML in conjunction with other web-related standards.

Software applications written in various programming languages and running on various platforms can use web services to exchange data over computer networks like the Internet in a manner similar to inter-process communication on a single computer. This interoperability (for example, between Java, Mainframe, Microsoft Windows, and Linux applications) is due to the use of open standards for all communications.

Weighted Out Describes a condition where the weight capacity of a trailer or container has been met. The term "weighted out" is most likely used when you have met the weight capacity of the trailer or container but still have physical space left in the trailer or container.
WiFi WiFi is a trademark of the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA). Products with the WiFi logo have been tested by WECA for interoperability with other 802.11b equipment.
Wireless Refers to the portable data collection / printing devices that use wireless computing standards (802.11a/b/g/n) to transmit data to the local host system.
Wireless Access Point A device that acts as a wireless hub to other access points, allowing multiple wireless devices to communicate with other wireless devices, devices on a wired LAN, or the Internet.
Wireless Fidelity See WiFi
WMS See Warehouse Management System
WOS See Warehouse Orchestration System
XML Short for Extensible Markup Language, a specification developed by the W3C, to share and describe data and its structure.  XML is a pared-down version of SGML, a robust protocol to encapsulate data via the HTTP protocol.  XML allows designers to create their own open, customized tags – enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.
Yard Management System A system which is designed to facilitate and organize the coming, going and staging of trucks and trucks with trailers in the parking 'yard' that serves a warehouse, distribution or manufacturing facility.
YMS See Yard Management System
Zone A subdivision of a warehouse, typically used to divide warehouses into picking areas or areas of specialty locations.
Zone Picking See Pick-by-Zone

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