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3pl scm fulfillment glossary

Glossary of Terms

for Third Party Logistics, Supply Chain Management & Fulfillment Operations

Many of the terms used in the world of third-party logistics do not appear in a standard dictionary, nor is there a dictionary of fulfillment or warehouse management definitions. We offer this glossary to help you better understand our business. If you have a term you would like defined, or have a definition that you would like to share with us, please send us an e-mail.

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Jump to terms:

- call center
- carrier
- carton
- case
- cass certification
- caging
- CBT (Counter Balanced Truck)
- chargeback
- check character
- check digit
- chock
- COI (cube-per-order-index)
- common carrier
- compliance labels
- compounding a sample
- consignee
- consignment inventory
- consolidation
- container
- contract warehouse
- count frequency
- cross dock / cross docking
- customer service
- customer relationship management (CRM)
- cycle count
- cycle time

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N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ


call center
see Telemarketing Service Bureau

the transporter of goods from one location to another. The carrier is responsible for the goods while under it custody.

a corrugated box

a container (usually a corrugated box) that contains multiple units of an item.

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 Postal Service

the opening and processing of orders and handling of checks, cash and credit cards. Historically, caging personnel often worked in fenced in areas, or cages, for security purposes, hence the name.

counter-balanced forklift truck, used for moving and lifting heavy loads.

a wood, metal, or plastic wedge to prevent the wheels of a truck or trailer from moving while it is being loaded or unloaded.

a credit card transaction that is debited from the merchant after the sale has been settled, It is initiated by the card issuer on behalf of the card member, usually after the cardholder has been unable to resolve the dispute with the merchant. Chargebacks can be reduced by having a responsive, proactive customer service department that can resolve disputes with cardholders before a dispute results in a chargeback. Outsourcing customer service can be one of the quickest, most-effective solutions to chargeback problems.

check character
a character added to a bar code to verify that the bar code is accurate and/or authentic. The specific check character is usually the result of an algorithim based upon the data in the bar code.

check digit
see check character

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.

COD (Cash On Delivery or Collect on Delivery)
status and type of shipment to a consumer or business in which payment for the product and its freight expense must be paid for upon delivery. Also the payment.

COI (cube-per-order-index)
indicating how much three-dimensional space each order takes up.

common carrier
a publicly-accessible freight company responsible for transporting goods from one location to another, and responsible for the goods while under its custody. This is distinguished from private carriers and contract carriers who have no obligation to the public to transport its goods.

the end recipient of an order. For B2B shipments, the consignee might be a retail store or another business, while for B2C, the consignee would be a consumer.

bringing together items or kits to go to the same destination. Consolidation can be at the pallet or trailer level.

compounding a sample
method used with counting scales to use a smaller sample and then use the scale to build a larger quantity that is then resampled to represent the final sample.

consignment inventory
inventory that is in the possession of the customer, but is still owned by the 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.

in supply chain management, 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.

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 (generally in years) for the 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. See also 3PL.

count frequency
the number of times per year an item is counted. Count frequency is used to calculate cycle count period. See also cycle count period.

Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment. Standards developed by the Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Standards (VICS) Association. These standards are designed to improve supply-chain integration and product flow, by supporting cooperative inventory management by all participants in the supply chain.

cross dock / cross docking
warehouse configuration, usually for palletized goods, in which arriving items are sorted from one dock to be dispatched across the warehouse floor to another dock to be shipped out.

see customer relationship management

customer service
(see also customer relationship management)
in third party logistics (3PL) management, customer service is the management of the relationship between the company shipping the orders and the recipient of those orders on behalf of a manufacturer or marketing (client). Customer service can be B2B or B2C, but is more often thought of as being consumer oriented. Though some customer service operations can be automated, such as an e-mail acknowledgment that an order has been received or is being sent, or a B2B operation, with the sending of an advance shipping notification (ASN) via EDI, much customer service is handled one on one, directly between a customer service representative and the customer. A well-maintained online database of all customer ordering history and correspondence is crucial to maintaining good customer service. Communication can be via telephone, e-mail, online, mail or by fax. At its most basic level customer service answers questions about a product, handles inquiries about the shipping status of an order, or the purchasing transactions themselves (“What’s this charge from XYZ Widget Company doing on my credit card?). On a more advanced level customer service is more proactive, extending itself into the realm of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), to increase the communication with the customer to make ongoing purchases by the customer more pleasant and more frequent.

customer relationship management (CRM)
the science of maintaining a positive relationship between a company and its customers. Establishing a “brand name” is primarily about establishing a perception in the mind of the consumer that the branded product is somehow enhancing the consumer’s life more than a non-branded product with the same intrinsic value. Thus all successful brands already succeed on one level of CRM, through creating the perception of a life-enhancing relationship. Shipping a quality product in a timely manner and offering the customer easy ways to get service or addition related information, are all key aspects to customer relationship marketing. Knowing the customer -- though database management -- and communicating effectively with one’s customers is crucial to CRM success. For direct response marketing companies, acquiring customers for the first time (prospecting) is much more costly than maintaining them, thus, the adage that “The most expensive order is the first order.” As a direct response marketing company grows its database of customers, good customer relationship management is key to maintaining a base of customers to ensure financial stability.

cycle count
any process that verifies the correctness of inventory quantity data by counting portions of the inventory on an ongoing basis. In other words, 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.