Warehousing Terminology

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Activity profiling
The systematic analysis of the items and orders handled in a warehouse in order to improve its design and operation.
ASN (Advance Shipping Notice)
Electronic information concerning a single shipment of movable units sent to a WMS from suppliers and sent from a WMS to customers.
Batch picking
An order picking method where a single picker picks all of the items for multiple orders.
Broken-case picking
Alternative term for piece picking.
Case picking
Retrieval of full carton loads of each item or inner packs of items from cartons (the latter a.k.a. split-case picking).
Consolidation
The process of combining material from several partially filled storage locations containing the same item into a single location, combining several orders into a single shipment, or combining several portions of an order at a single location.
Cross-docking
The process of moving material from a receiving area directly to a shipping area without long-term storage of the material.
Customer order
Request that indicates the type and quanity of SKUS to be shipped to a customer; each SKU-quantity pair in the order is termed a line (cf. purchase order and shop order).
Cycle counting
The process of counting the contents of storage locations in order to verify the accuracy of inventory records.
Discrete picking
An order picking method where a single picker picks all of the items for a single order.
Each
An individual unit picked during piece picking.
EPC (Electronic Product Code)
A globally unique serial number for physical objects identified using RFID tags.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
Software system that control the entire operations of a firm. The item, carrier, and customer master files are maintained by an ERP system and are used as a common data source for oders and ASNs.
Forward picking
A storage area designed for efficient piece and case order picking that is usually replenished from reserve storage but sometimes directly from receiving.
GPC (Global Product Catalogue)
A directory of product attributes that allows independent data repositories to be synchronized for global, multi-industry supply chain messaging and reporting.
GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)
All-numeric system for assigning globally unique codes to trade items (products and services). GTIN includes UPC, ISBN, and NDC.
Inner pack
Package used inside of a carton to allow more efficient split-case picking instead of individual piece picking when a less-than-carton-size number of units are to be picked.
Inventory master file
File maintained by a WMS that contains the total quantity and storage locations of each items stored in the warehouse. Used together like the location master file to control material transport operations.
Inventory
The number of units of each item stored in a warehouse.
ISBN (International Standard Book Numbering)
An international standard code for books.
Item
Grouping of identical objects, i.e., a class or collection of units; inventoried items are usually referred to as stock-keeping units (SKUs).
Line
An item-quantity pair in an order.
Location master file
File maintained by a WMS that contains the quantity of the item available at each storage location in the warehouse. Used together with the inventory master file to control material transport operations.
Movable unit
A single identifiable unit load (e.g. carton, pallet, trailer, etc.) that is moved between and stored at a location.
NDC (National Drug Code)
A code maintained by the FDA for identifying prescription drugs and some over the counter drugs.
Order picking
The process of removing material from storage in response to specific customer orders or ship orders (cf. putting).
Order
Request to ship, receive, or transport material as indicated in a customer order, purchase order, or shop order, respectively.
Packing
The process of preparing a container for shipment.
Pallet picking
Retrieval of full pallets of cartons, or layers of cartons from a pallet (a.k.a. unit-load picking).
Pick conveyor
A non-powered conveyor (e.g. wheel or roller) used in piece picking to support a tote or other container while it is being filled.
Picking
Short for order picking (cf. putting).
Pick list
Request to a picker that indicates the sequence in which the storage locations of SKUs are to be visited along with the quantity of units to be picked from each location for one or more orders.
Pick-and-pass
Alternative term for progressive assembly picking.
Piece picking
Retrieval of individual units (or 'eaches') of an item, where each piece picked is the unit of issue to the final customer (a.k.a. broken-case picking).
Progressive assembly picking
Variation of zone picking where a order is passed from one zone to the next, eliminating the need to consolidate the order but increasing its total picking time (a.k.a. pick-and-pass).
Purchase order
Request that indicates the type and quantity of items to be received from a vendor; each item-quantity pair in the order is termed a line (cf. customer order and shop order).
Putaway
The process of moving material from a receiving area to a storage location.
Receiving
The process of unloading, verifying, inspecting, and staging of material transported to a warehouse in preparation for putaway or cross-docking, sometimes including sorting and repackaging of the material.
Replenishment
The process of moving material from reserve storage to a forward picking area.
Reserve storage
An area intended for the storage of material in full pallet load sizes from which both forward picking areas are replenished and pallet orders and some case orders are picked.
Rewarehousing
The process of moving items to different storage locations to improve handling efficiency.
Shipping
The process of staging, verifying, and loading orders to be transported from a warehouse.
Shop order
Request that indicates the type and quantity of SKUs to be transported from a warehouse to a production area; each SKU-quantity pair in the order is termed a line (cf. customer order and shop order).
Simultaneous picking
Variation of zone picking and where the items for an order are picked simultaneously in each zone and then consolidated, making it possible to minimize the total picking time required for an order (which is useful if there are multiple waves per shift).
Sortation
The process of merging, identifying, inducting, and separating material to be conveyed to specific destinations.
Split-case picking
Variation of case picking where inner packs of items from cartons are retrieved.
SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code)
A globally unique serial number for identifying a movable unit (e.g., a pallet).
SKU (Stock-keeping unit)
An inventoried item.
Storage location
An identifiable location in a warehouse assigned a unique address and used to store a single item, where the capacity of the location corresponds to the maximum number of units of the item that can be stored at the location.
Takeaway conveyor
A powered conveyor (e.g., belt or live roller) used in piece and case picking to transport completed orders.
Unit load
Either a single unit of an item, or multiple units so arranged or restricted that they can be handled as a single entity and maintain their integrity.
Unit
Instance of an item, i.e., a unique physical object.
Unitizing
The process of combining multiple smaller containers into a larger container that can be handled as a single unit load.
Unit-load picking
Alternate term for pallet picking
UNSPSC (United Nations Standard Products and Services Code)
A hierarchical 8-digit code that can be used to classify all products and services at the segment, family, class, and commodity levels.
UPC (Universal Product Code)
The standard bar code for retail items in North America.
Wave
A planning period for picking groups of orders that can be used to coordinate picking with shipping schedules or because downstream sortation has limited order capacity; there are usually multiple waves during each shift.
WMS (Warehouse Management System)
Software system that enables real-time, paperless control of the operations of a single warehouse.
Zone picking
An order picking method where each picker only picks the items of an order that are located in the portion of the storage area assigned to the picker for picking; simultaneous picking and progressive assembly picking are two variations of zone picking.
Zone-batch picking
A combination of zone and batch picking, where multiple pickers each pick portions of multiple orders.