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3PL

Abbreviation for Third Party Logistics. This refers to companies who offer warehousing solutions and services for multiple customers. Core service will include storage, picking and dispatch, distribution and delivery. Many will also offer additional services such as container de-stuffing, palletisation, pick and pack and quality control.

A

Advanced Shipment Notification (ASN)

Advanced shipment notifications (ASNs) are in effect delivery notes sent to the recipient/customer of the delivery to provide details of the product and delivery date/time before delivery.

Ambient Storage

Storage at natural temperatures, as opposed to chilled and frozen storage for some foodstuffs. Currently, Zupplychain is not offering chilled or frozen storage but will do so if there is sufficient demand from storage providers and customers.

Artic.

Short for ‘articulated vehicle’, i.e., tractor unit and trailer.

B

Backload

Refers to the return journey of a vehicle when it has a return load. A backload journey may be lower cost than on outbound journey, but its availability less assured.

Back-order

An item or items, either a whole or a partial order, which have not been picked and dispatched on time, usually because of being out-of-stock. A back-order will be picked and dispatched when available.

It is important to agree with a storage provider whether you want back-orders to be picked when available or cancelled. This may depend on, for instance, whether you expect the product to be in stock soon; whether you need visibility on the number of back-orders for an item; and what processes the end recipient / customer uses – some retailers prefer to cancel back-orders and let stock systems re-order.

It should also be decided whether back-orders, when available, are dispatched with other deliveries to the same recipient, or sent sooner and separately at possibly higher cost.

Barcode (Zupplychain)

The Zupplychain system will generate a barcode and URN (Unique Reference Number) for each pallet that is stored through Zupplychain. These will be found on the Pallet Database for a particular contract.

We ask customers to print labels with this information and attach them to their pallets. The storage provider will then cross reference this on its system and confirm booking in and pallet movements on the Zupplychain system. The URN is provided for when a bar code scanner is not available or if the scanner is in an incompatible format.

Bonded warehouse

A warehouse where products with specific taxes can be held without the tax becoming due until after shipment. Such warehouses follow specific HMRC (UK Customs and Excise) processes, and can be audited by the authorities. Tobacco and Alcohol are the most obvious examples.

Bulk Storage

Sometimes refers to the storage of pallets on top of each other where the pallet loading and product allows. Can also refer to the storage of full pallets – whether in racked bays or not – as opposed to partially full pallets from which orders might be picked.

C

Container

Usually refers to shipping containers, which are also transported by rail or road. These are usually 40 foot (12.2m) or 20 foot (6.1m) long with standard widths and heights. Unloading a container usually requires specialist equipment, principally a container ramp. Most 3PLs will have this.

Container De-Stuffing

Process of emptying a container of its product. This may involve removing pallets, or un-palletised product. In the latter case, the product will usually need palletisation to be stored. If a container is to be de-stuffed, the 3PL will need to know whether the product is palletised.

Cross-dock

Product that is brought into warehouse storage but not put-away but held in or close to the dispatch area for a short period before being dispatched on a different vehicle.

Cube

Generally, refers to the volume of a container or vehicle; metres are usually used for this in the UK (even though containers, and -sometimes - vehicles are referred to in feet!). Can also refer to the volume of product to be shipped, particularly where the product is light and so a vehicle may ‘cube out’ rather than ‘weight out’.

Cycle time

The time for an order to go from receipt to dispatch.

D

DC

Abbreviation for distribution centre. RDC is Regional Distribution Centre. NDC is National Distribution Centre.

Dead stock

Product that has been in stock for a considerable time (which varies by industry or product life) without any movements/orders/dispatches.

Double Pallet

One to be wary of. It usually (and/or technically) refers to a pallet of 2.4m width and 1.2m depth. However, sometimes used colloquially for any long, out-sized pallet. Therefore, we recommend being specific!

Partly for this reason, we haven’t yet made it possible for ‘double-pallets’ to be stored through Zupplychain, but we can add it easily if enough providers and customers ask.

Double Stacking

Stacking one pallet on top of another, if the pallet loading and product permits. We have not enabled this on Zupplychain yet.

E

EDI

Abbreviation for Electronic Data Interchange, which links multiple business systems to pass data - often orders, delivery information and invoices.

Estimated Period (Zupplychain)

In the Zupplychain system, this is the amount of time that all or some product is expected to remain in the storage provider’s warehouse.

An initial search will assume the full quantity for the full estimated period. However, once a search is made - and a provider’s details viewed - it is possible to change this quantity in all or any weeks of the estimated period to better reflect product going out over time (and/or product coming in).

These revised quantities will be reflected in the total estimated cost. They will also be re-calculated for all the warehouse spaces shown in your search results; and may enable a wider choice of warehouses to be chosen for an enquiry.

Euro Pallet

Refers to a pallet of 0.8m width and 1.2m depth. On Zupplychain, we use the term ‘pallet footprint’ for the specification/size of a pallet.

F

FHA

Freight Haulage Association (UK trade organisation).

FIFO

‘First in, first out’. Where the oldest (or longest-standing) item/pallet is the next one to be picked and dispatched, thus ensuring stock rotation and reducing product obsolescence costs.

FILO

‘First in, last out’. FIFO’s rarely seen shy sister.

Final Mile

Colloquial reference to the final stage of a delivery, particularly one that involves more than one mode and often referring to the final part of a home delivery by a courier, small van, subcontractor …or postman!

Freight Forwarder

A business that organises the delivery of product, usually by contracting warehouse space and vehicles, either together or separately. Most often associated with international movements. Usually, the freight forwarder will try to find several deliveries from different sources going to the same place to efficiently fill and run a vehicle.

Fulfilment

Generally, refers to activities associated with the picking, dispatch and delivery of an order. May include pick and pack.

G

Groupage

Usually refers to the practice of putting multiple deliveries from multiple customers on a vehicle to maximise economies, and then splitting the load into different directions at a strategically placed hub. This could involve different hauliers working together.

Pallet networks are the logical and structured extension of this principle.

H

Handling charge

Charge, usually per pallet, for unloading a pallet from a vehicle, putting it in storage, then picking it and putting it on a vehicle when required. On the basis that any pallet entering warehouse storage ought to come out of it again, this is generally charged inbound for both in-bound and out-bound. This is how it works on Zupplychain too, where we have called it ‘In and Out Charge’ to try to avoid ambiguity.

Haulier

Commonly used term for a road transport company.

Home Delivery

Delivery direct to a consumer’s home, usually using smaller vehicles or courier vans.

I

IFWLA

International Federation of Warehousing and Logistics Associations (trade organisation).

In and Out Price (Zupplychain)

See Handling Charge.

Intermodal

Refers to multiple forms of transport for one delivery, e.g., container from China to UK port, train from UK port to freight depot; vehicle from depot to final destination.

Inventory

Alternative word for ‘Stock’. Arguably ‘stock’ more common in the UK; inventory in US (We don’t think ‘stock’ is used in the US but we haven’t been there since Bill Clinton was sat at his favourite desk). However, ‘inventory control’ may be more common place term in the UK now than ‘stock control’, even if inventory controllers refer to stock rather than inventory.

Confused? So are we a bit! Unfortunately, in the UK, this is a bit like the dual language of feet and metres (see later). Fortunately, kilograms are firmly established!

Inventory Control (or Inventory Management or Stock Control)

Tracking of inventory (or stock!) through all its stages of inbound, held in stock, on order, picked, dispatched, delivered.

ISO 9001,14001 and 19011

ISO 9001 is a quality assurance marque, focussed on process quality and controls. 14001 is the environmental equivalent. 19011 is 9001 and 14001 together.

J

Just-in-time (JIT)

Processes and systems that coordinate the arrival of product where it is required just-in-time for when it will be required.

L

Locations

Usually refers to a single pallet storage space (or area of multiple pallets) in a warehouse. For slow selling or small sized items, a pallet space may have several locations with different items in each.

N

NDC

National Distribution Centre.

O

Out of Gauge Pallet

A pallet size that is non-standard, possibly – for some – including ‘double pallets’ and/or a pallet with over-hanging product (maybe a piece of machinery) or considerable height. We haven’t yet made it possible for out of gauge pallets to be stored through Zupplychain, but we will consider it if enough providers and customers ask.

Outer

A box or carton with multiple quantities of one item inside it which is shipped whole until consumer-facing when it is broken down into singles. The box will have a barcode that scans and means ‘box of x quantity’ for the supply chain whilst the units have barcodes that scan at retail level.

P

Pallet (Double)

One to be wary of. It usually (and/or technically) refers to a pallet of 2.4m width and 1.2m depth. However, sometimes used colloquially for any long, out-sized pallet. Therefore, we recommend being specific!

Partly for this reason, we haven’t yet made it possible for ‘double-pallets’ to be stored through Zupplychain, but we can add it easily if enough providers and customers ask.

Pallet (Euro)

Refers to a pallet of 0.8m width and 1.2m depth. On Zupplychain, we use the term ‘pallet footprint’ for the specification/size of a pallet.

Pallet (Standard)

Refers to a pallet of 1.0m width and 1.2m depth. On Zupplychain, we use the term ‘pallet footprint’ for the specification/size of a pallet.

Pallet (Standard square)

Refers to a pallet of 1.2m width and 1.2m depth. On Zupplychain, we use the term ‘pallet footprint’ for the specification/size of a pallet.

Pallet footprint (Zupplychain)

We use the term ‘pallet footprint’ on Zupplychain and show both widths and depths in the drop down menu for storage providers to specify and customers to search. We do this as we felt there is some ambiguity and imprecision in the terms ‘euro’, ‘standard’ and ‘standard square’ (‘Standard’ is a particularly dangerous word in our view!). We hope that’s OK for you, but let us know if you think it could be clearer.

Please note also that a storage provider can specify the same area for more than one type of pallet footprint (e.g., 500 pallets at 0.8m width; 300 pallets at 1.2m width) and the best fit one will appear in the customer search. The more pallet widths specified for a pallet type (area), the more searches the warehouse will appear in.

Pallet database (Zupplychain)

Zupplychain is built around a pallet database recording the details of each pallet stored through Zupplychain. This database is like a WMS (Warehouse Management System) in the cloud (though it’s actually firmly bolted to the ground somewhere in Cheshire!), and enables customers to track and analyse all their Zupplychain pallets across multiple Zupplychain contracts and locations and give clear, unambiguous instructions – through the Zupplychain system to storage providers concerning desired pallet outbound movements.

Customers will need to apply Zupplychain labels to each pallet with the barcode/URN (we have a label print function) and storage providers will cross reference the Zupplychain reference to their pallet locations.

Pallet network

A pallet network is a national group of transport companies (or hauliers) working together as members of a pallet network to offer nationwide distribution. There are several pallet networks in the UK, each with one member in each of its areas (typically a pallet network has 50-80 members); some pallet networks offer international connections also.

The modus operendi is that a member collects all the pallets in its area (i.e., from its customers) that are required for delivery outside its area (or – more accurately – outside the area it can economically deliver to for such delivery quantities), combines them together to take to a central or regional hub, where they are unloaded and sorted into delivery areas. The member than returns with all the pallets for his area from the other members, unloads these and puts them on its local delivery routes.

Generally, a pallet network is the cheapest way to get a small number of pallets delivered over a long distance quickly. On Zupplychain, storage providers can specify if they are a member of a pallet network (in a tick box) and refer to it in their general description or upload a membership document.

Pallet type (Zupplychain)

A ‘pallet type’ on Zupplychain refers to an area or set of racking within a warehouse that has a single type of characteristics in terms of the type of pallet it can accommodate. I.e., it has a maximum height it can take, a maximum weight and a certain pallet footprint (pallet width and depth).

A pallet type can be specified more than once on Zupplychain for different pallet footprints – i.e., an area of racking could accommodate both 800 wide euros and 1200 wide square pallets, though in different quantities. If only one ‘pallet type’ is specified by a storage provider for a whole warehouse, it should show the lowest common denominator of weight and height capacity per pallet. The advantage of specifying multiple pallet types is that it enables higher weights to be specified (e.g., in the floor row) and smaller spaces to be specified, e.g. in the eves. This will better match type of pallet space to the customer’s requirements. Different pallet types can also be priced differently, to reflect the operational economics and market demand for different pallet types.

Palletisation

Process of putting un-palletised product onto a pallet in a storable way.

Pick and Pack

Picking of items from a pallet, in singles if required, and then packaging them so as to be safely delivered through whatever delivery networks chosen, which will usually include a courier business for the ‘final mile’. Usually for home delivery or internet derived store deliveries.

R

Radio frequency identification (RFID)

Form of scanning of products or pallets.

RDC

Regional Distribution Centre.

RHA

Road Haulage Association (UK trade organisation). RTA is a road traffic accident.

Runners

Fast moving stock lines.

S

SKU

Abbreviation for ‘Stock Keeping Unit’, sometimes written as sku (because it’s easier than holding the caps button down!). This will be a unique item (e.g., size, colour). It does not refer to the quantity of that item. i.e. ‘a retailer has 5000 sku’s’ means they have 5000 different types of unit, but will have many more units.

Beware that a sku further up the supply chain may refer to a box/carton/outer with, say, a dozen units whereas, at the consumer end of the chain, it may refer to a single item. Equally, the same item held/dispatched/sold as singles and boxes of 12 is two SKUs. However, if the box is broken down to sell/ship singles, they should be classed as one sku, the box being of 12 quantity.

That may be more than you wanted on SKUs! Sorry!

Square Foot

Imperial measurement from back in the day still commonly used in the UK in many areas of property and, in the logistics field, sometimes in describing warehouse sizes. Also, UK retailers tend to think of their stores in square feet (though that may be changing with a generation younger than the writer!)

There are 10.76sq feet to a metre (because a metre is 3.28 feet) but dividing by ten to get from square feet to square metres usually does the job and avoids finding the calculator. As my calculator is now out, a square foot is 0.093 sq. metres.

Square Metre (US – ‘Meter’)

Possibly the best thing to come out of the French Revolution. Discuss.

A square metre is 10.76 sq feet. To convert to square feet, easiest to multiply by 10; slightly more accurate to multiply by 11 if you feeling ambitious.

Standard Pallet

Refers to a pallet of 1.0m width and 1.2m depth. On Zupplychain, we use the term ‘pallet footprint’ for the specification/size of a pallet.

Standard Square Pallet

Refers to a pallet of 1.2m width and 1.2m depth. On Zupplychain, we use the term ‘pallet footprint’ for the specification/size of a pallet.

Stock

Used in the UK (but not in the US, we think) for inventory. Also used in the context of the stock market.

In mediaeval times, probably mostly used in the plural to refer to a cunning piece of equipment to punish someone.

Stock Control

See Inventory control.

Slow Movers (Slow Moving Stock)

Slow moving stock items, though speed at which something becomes defined as ‘slow’ will be industry specific.

T

Tare Weight

The un-laden weight of an empty container or trailer or other form of equipment to carry product (e.g. stillages). It’s an old French word meaning ‘defect, flaw, imperfection [in goods]’.

Third-party logistics

See 3PL.

Third-party warehouse

Warehouse operated by a 3PL company.

Through-put

Amount of product coming in and out of a warehouse, as opposed to the (average) amount being stored.

U

Ugly (or ugly fruit)

Product that is difficult to store or ship because of its length, height, weight, overall size or fragility. See also “Out of gauge”.

UKWA

United Kingdom Warehouse Association (trade organisation).

Unit

Refers to the measure of how an item will be shipped.

URN (Zupplychain)

The Zupplychain system will generate a URN (Unique Reference Number) and barcode for each pallet that is stored through Zupplychain. These will be found on the Pallet database for a particular contract.

We ask customers to print labels with this information and attach them to their pallets. The storage provider will then cross reference this on its system and confirm booking in, pallet movements on the Zupplychain system. The URN is provided for when a bar code scanner is not available or if the scanner is in an incompatible format.

W

Warehouse management system (WMS)

Software to manage stock and product movements. More sophisticated WMS packages will optimise storage locations to reduce forklift travel distance and picking times.

Think we’ve missed something? Email us today and we’ll be happy to add further information.