Get your FREE copy of The Big Retail Growth Trends 23/24 Report today! Download

A glossary for you

The world of fulfilment, logistics and supply chain can be a little intense at times. There is just so much within the industry to unpack - so many words and terms and phrases that you may never have heard of before, or maybe you have and you've just not had the time to give it a Google. Look no further than our logistics term glossary, that is packed to the brim with key industry terms. Why not peruse a few now?

The key terms in fulfilment are...


3PL - Known as third party logistics, 3PL can be used by eCommerce companies to outsource parts of their distribution, warehousing, and fulfilment services.

4PL - Known as fourth party logistics, 4PL is the arrangement of a firm outsourcing its logistical operations to two or more specialist firms (the 3rd party logistics) and an additional expert firm (the 4th party) supervising the logistic activities of the third parties.


Advanced shipping notice - a pending piece of delivery documentation that displays shipment information about the products, quantities and the nature of the shipment.

API - An abbreviation meaning 'application programming interface' and this is a software intermediary which allows two or more platforms to communicate with each other through sharing of data and other information.

ATA - The actual time of arrival is the time when the vessel/ship/plane, either importing or exporting orders, is determined to arrive at its destination.

ATD- The actual time of departure represents the exact time a shipment of orders is dispatched from the point of origin.


Bar code - consisting of bars and spaces, a bar code is a means of identifying items and orders whenever it is scanned.

Bill of Lading - a piece of legal documentation that is issued by a carrier to a shipper that details the type, quantity and destination of the goods being carried.

Break-bulk - when goods and orders are transported to their end destination via a shipping container.

Bundling - an event whereby 2 or more products are combined into one transaction for a single price.


Carrier - an organisation or an individual who can legally transport goods by land, water or air, and they typically work with shippers to ship goods from one place to another.

Carrier Liability - a carrier that is responsible for all shipment loss, damage, and delay that comes with exceptions.

Chargeable weight - the Actual Gross Weight or the Volumetric Weight of the shipment – whichever is the greater will be the overall chargeable weight.

Commodity Code - a code that describes a commodity (product/raw material) or a group of commodities that deals with standard classifications of goods. It could be carrier tariff or regulating in nature. 


Dashboard - A virtual board that summarises KPI's; it can also be used as a monitoring system for eCommerce fulfilment business.

DDP - Delivered Duty Paid are fees/taxes/duties that are paid by the one who ships the order.

DDU - Delivered Duty Unpaid are taxes or duty charges that must be paid for by the recipient of the shipment on delivery. 

Dispatch - to send off a shipment of orders to a specific location or end-consumer.

Dunnage - the durable padding material that is used to protect goods during shipping.


Emergency stock - a certain amount of inventory that is to be used in an emergency situation.

End item - when a product is sold/item is complete.

EORI number - this is an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number. It is a registration/identification number for businesses which undertake the import or export of goods both in and out of the EU.

Export - the act of shipping an order to an international end-consumer.

Expediting - shifting orders via regular channels at a faster rate.


Fulfilment - the process of preparing orders and delivering them to end consumers.

Fulfilment Services Provider - a third-party company that provides order fulfillment services for eCommerce businesses, for instance.


Hazardous Materials - a material that has the capacity to pose a risk to health, safety and/or property whenever it is transported through the process of commerce.

Holding cost - the cost of holding a unit of an item in stock for a certain amount of time.

Handling Costs - the cost that is involved in moving, transferring, and generally handling inventory.

Hundredweight - a pricing unit that is used within transportation (it is equal to 100 pounds).


In bound - goods are held or transported in-bound under customs control, import duties or charges are paid.

Inbound logistics - the management that commences from suppliers and vendors, then into the production process to storage facilities.

Inventory - the overall stock or quantity of products that you have (e.g. the products you have stored at your fulfilment provider warehouse)

Import - the act of shipping an order from one country to another.


Logistics - where implementing and controlling procedures for efficient and effective storage of goods and services. It includes inbound, outbound, internal and external movement.

Logistics Data Interchange (LDI) - an automatic system that electronically transmits logistics information.

Last Mile - the description of the last process delivery, where carrier, courier (delivery agent) is responsible for the final handover to the customer.


Net-weight - how much does an order weigh, before the container or packaging required is considered.

Non-stock inventory - this relates to the inventory that is not tracked within your inventory system. In other words, there is no item-master record or internal SKU number (stock keeping unit number).


Order Fulfilment - the  process of receiving goods/orders, then processing and delivering those orders out to customers.

Outsourcing - the act of utilising a third party in order to provide services that would otherwise be performed in-house.

Outbound Logistics - a process associated with the movement and storage of products from end-line production to the end-consumer.


Pick - the process of selecting goods for specific orders (e.g. from their storage location within a fulfilment warehouse), that are to be dispatched to the end-consumer.

Pack - the process of packing goods for specific orders for dispatch to the end-consumer.


Supply Chain - a network between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product to the final buyer.

Shipping - the transport of goods by sea, air or some other means from one location to another location.

Safety Stock - also known as “emergency stock”, this is a level of added inventory that is kept aside to prevent risk of stock outs.

SKU - this is a "stock-keeping unit"; scannable bar code, most often seen printed on product labels, that is utilised in the identification and tracking of inventory or stock.


Tariff - a tax that is assessed by a government on goods entering or leaving a country.

Tracking shipment - the process of localising shipping containers or parcel post at anytime during production, storing, and delivering to ascertain their provenance and to foreknow and aid delivery..


VAT - this means "value added tax" and it is an incrementally assessed tax that is levied on goods and services based on the price at each stage of production, distribution etc.

Value Added - the increased value of a product or a service.

Vendor - the manufacturer or distributor of an item or product line.


Here to help

Our team are here for you

Please tell us any requirements you have when submitting this form in the comments box below:

fulfilmentcrowd needs the contact information you provide to us to update you about our fulfilment services and technology. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, please review our privacy policy page.