Common Warehouse Management System Terms and Definitions

Every industry comes with its own jargon – words and abbreviations that have a special meaning when used in a specific context. These terms change and expand with new technology and other industry developments, so it's important to freshen up your knowledge every once and a while. In this guide, we will go over some common warehouse management system terms and definitions so you can be up to date with the current lingo.

License Plate

In warehouse management, a license plate refers to a pallet tag. Much like a car's license plate, a pallet's license plate contains a special set of numbers that uniquely identify each pallet. In most systems, information about the products on the pallet are linked to the pallet number in order to keep track of where items are in the warehouse.

Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN)

An advanced shipping notice is a notification that customers receive before a shipment comes in. The information in the ASN can vary depending on the shipper, the recipient, and the nature of their contract. Usually, the notice will include information about the contents in the shipment and when they are expected to arrive at the terminal.

Inventory Replenishment

Inventory replenishment is a process by which a warehouse will refill inventory levels using a reserve of products in a secondary storage locations. The products are moved to the primary storage location to be distributed to customers and clients.

Zone Picking

Zone picking is a form of order picking in which pickers pull items from designated zones throughout the warehouse. This creates an assembly line of sorts, where orders are moved from one zone to the next. Zone picking is a highly efficient order fulfillment process used in large warehouses because it prevents pickers from having to go through the entire warehouse to fill an order.

Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)

A serial shipping container code is a special identification number used for boxes and pallets inside of large containers. This number is usually used in an ASN to group sets of products with one another. In most systems, the SSCC is 18 digits long, and each container has a unique ID assigned to it.

Cross Docking

Cross docking is a distribution method that does not involve storage in a warehouse. Instead of being put away in the distribution center, products are prepared to be shipped to the customers as soon as they arrive. Cross docking requires a great deal of organization and communication, but when executed correctly, this is an effective way to cut costs and reduce labor for shipments.

Inventory Master File

The inventory master file is a list of all the products in a warehouse what quantity of each product is in the distribution center at the time. This is often used in conjunction with a location master file, which identifies where products are stored in a warehouse.

Pick List

A pick list is like a to-do list for a picker. It explains which items are to be picked for the order, along with the sequence in which those items are to be retrieved. A pick list ensures maximum efficiency for order fulfillment because it creates a quick and easy route for the pickers to follow

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