Glossary: Warehouse Management

There’s a lot of jargon and abbreviations when we’re talking about fulfilment and shipping. To a seasoned ecommerce expert, it’s clear what they all mean – but to those out there working in ecommerce who are non-technical or are just starting out, it can be somewhat confusing.

We’ve put together a glossary of common terms used in warehousing to help you get to know the industry better.

2PL: Second-party logistics. This is when you handle your own fulfilment and warehousing, but outsource the shipping process.

3PL: Third-party logistics. 3PL means to outsource both your fulfilment and shipping, so you don’t manage your own warehouses or deliver your own products to the consumer.

Backorder. Ordering goods which temporarily cannot be fulfilled due to lack of availability.

Batch number. A number used on a group of items which were manufactured together.

CMS: Customs Management System. A CMS helps you comply with legal requirements when trading internationally. For example, helping you manage imports, exports and tariffs.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management. CRM tools allow you to monitor customer activity, such as testimonials and satisfaction rates.

CRP: Capacity Requirements Planning. A tool used to check the availability of resources against demands and production.

Ecommerce Platform. This is your storefront; the jumping off point for your business. An ecommerce platform provides your website with features such as a ecommerce integration platform checkout, shopping cart and search tool to help your customers navigate your website and make orders. Some examples of ecommerce platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento.

EDI: Electronic Data Interchange. Electronically communicating information such as purchase orders or invoices.

ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning. An ERP provides a view of core business processes. For example, resources like cash and raw materials, as well as business commitments like orders and payroll.

Fulfillment. The process of fulfilling a customer order, involving the picking, packing and shipping stages.

iPaaS: Integration Platform as a Service. That’s us. An iPaaS integrates software applications – for example, connecting your WMS with your ecommerce platform. While some companies do their own integrations internally, it’s often cheaper and more efficient to partner with an iPaaS.

KPI: Key Performance Indicators. Important metrics for companies to monitor such as conversion rates or returns.

Omni-channel. This refers to creating an experience for your customer across both your in-store and online presence that is consistent and seamless throughout.

Packing. Preparing a picked item for shipping.

Picking. Taking items from an inventory based on customer orders, ready for delivery.

Real time. Refers to the recording and processing of data as and when it happens, giving you immediate insights into your business.

Reverse logistics. The process where the typical end point of the supply chain returns to the sellers and manufacturers. This could involve customers returning items for refund or repair.

Serial number. A number used on individual items which is not repeated for similar ones. It can be used for traceability, for instance if it gets returned or recalled.

Supply chain. A supply chain is the combined link between individual actors and companies, detailing the journey of products. A supply chain begins with the raw materials used to make an item, and ends with the finished goods being delivered to the customer.

TMS: Transport Management System. A tool which helps you plan, execute and optimise the movement of goods.

WMS:  A WMS is generally a piece of software which helps you manage your incoming and outgoing stock, picking and packing, and anything else related to fulfilment.

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