Glossary of Fulfillment Terms

ASN

Advanced Shipping Notification. A number or code assigned to an incoming shipment designed to speed up the receiving and turn-around time.

Blind Count

An inventory keeping method in which the person that counts the stock is only provided with a description and SKU, but not with the count that should be in inventory. This method can help reduce bias and errors during physical count inventory.

Dead Stock

Dead stock refers to inventory that has not been sold or shipped in a long time.

Drop Shipping

The term ‘drop shipping’ is often used interchangeably with ‘order fulfillment’. In many cases, however, a ‘drop shipper’ is a company that offers products for sale, and that delivers them to the seller’s customers. This practice is very much in use with eBay and other auction sellers, where the seller will offer the drop shipper’s products for sale, and collect a commission if and when the product is sold.

Emergency Order

For a number of reasons, a particular order can be assigned priority, and treated and processed ahead of other orders in the queue. These ‘emergency orders’ can be assigned by the merchant, or by the fulfillment centre, for example in the case of damaged merchandise that must be replaced.

Kitting

Kitting refers to grouping several different items under a single SKU, and shipped as such. For example, as a merchant you may offer a ‘Widget Variety Pack’ composed of a blue widget, a red widget and a yellow widget. The order fulfilment centre receives separate shipments of widgets, and ‘kits’ them together under a single SKU when required.

Light Assembly

Some items may be shipped to the fulfillment center directly from your supplier, and some assembly may be required in order to have the final products ready to ship. Light Assembly refers to manual, non-automated assembly that requires little more than the most basic tools.

Logistics

Logistics refer to the organization, processes and services needed to ensure the efficient flow of merchandise and orders from storage to shipment and delivery.

Less Than Truckload Shipping (LTL)

LTL is the transportation of small freight. LTL shipments typically weigh between 151 and 20,000 lb (68 and 9,072 kg). LTL carriers collect freight from various shippers and consolidate that freight onto enclosed trailers for linehaul to the delivering terminal or to a hub terminal. The main advantage to using an LTL carrier is that a shipment may be transported for a fraction of the cost of hiring an entire truck and trailer for an exclusive shipment. Also, a number of accessory services are available from LTL carriers, which are not typically offered by FTL carriers such as; liftgate service at pickup or delivery, residential service at pickup or delivery, inside delivery, notification prior to delivery, freeze protection, and others.

Pick and Pack

Pick and Pack refers to packaging several different SKUs from the same merchant into a single box for one customer. For example, a customer may order 2 blue widgets and 3 red widgets from the same merchant, in a single order. The order fulfillment center will then pick and pack the order as required; both customer and merchant can benefit from lower proportional shipping costs, known as combined shipping.

Order

An order is a directive issued by the inventory owner, or merchant, to ship one or several items or SKUs to a particular customer. Orders can be received manually, either individually or through bulk upload, or in real-time through shopping cart integration.

Order Fulfillment

Order fulfillment represents the steps that need to be taken in order for a customer to receive his or her order, after they complete their purchase. It generally involves packing the order in the appropriate, safe packaging, and dispatching the purchase through a carrier service.

Order Tracking

State-of-the-art software allows the merchant to track, in real time, individual orders as they are processed by the order fulfillment company. Order tracking can also refer to email confirmations that can be sent to both merchant and end-user customer when the order has shipped, complete with carrier tracking number.

Packing List

A list included with every order that details the SKU, description and unique identifiers of every item or unit of sale included in an order. This list is produced by the fulfillment center and typically enclosed with the order.

Perpetual Inventory System

A system by which a constant inventory is maintained by collating initial inventory count, orders shipped and inbound orders. This allows merchants to know at all times their inventory levels. Occasional spot checks can be required to maintain the integrity of the perpetual inventory system.

Re-Order Point

Point at which re-ordering of a product is indicated. InterFulfillment offers automated re-order point notifications to avoid back-orders and missing out on sales.

Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA)

Code or number issued by the owner of the merchandise which allows for the end-user to return an order to the fulfillment center.

Serial Number

The number or code assigned to a single item to differentiate it from others. This differs from Stock-Keeping Units, or SKUs, as those are used to represent a type of item rather than an individual ones. For example, a SKU may represent blue widgets in general, while each individual blue widget is referred to by a serial number.

Shopping Cart Integration

InterFulfillment can integrate its software with your existing shopping cart solution, allowing us to receive the order information within seconds of payment being approved by the merchant’s credit card processor. This allows for almost immediate packing and shipping, reducing processing time and increasing customer satisfaction.

SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit)

A SKU, or Stock-Keeping Unit is a unique identifier that refers to a type of item or items for sale. It is used for sales, shipping and inventory-keeping purposes. A SKU can also be used to refer to several different items sold as a single unit.