Skip to main content
Fulfillment Glossary: Key Definitions and Terms

The fulfillment glossary is a valuable resource for all representatives within this industry. Whether you’re a warehouse manager, logistics coordinator, or a fulfillment company representative, our 3PL terms glossary will help you navigate the terminology of your field. It covers all aspects of the order fulfillment process – from warehousing and inventory management to order processing and delivery.

Please familiarize yourself with the main fulfillment and 3PL definitions and terms. This will enable you to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients and make informed decisions regarding each order fulfillment operation.



ABC analysis is an inventory management method that classifies items into categories (A, B, and C) based on their importance.

Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) – the maximum allowable level of defects in a batch of products during quality inspection.

Accessorial Charges – these are extra charges beyond standard transportation costs, covering additional services.

Accumulation Bin – a designated storage area specifically for temporarily storing goods before their processing or shipment.

Active Stock – inventory items that are currently available and being utilized for sale.

Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) – the exact time at which cargo arrives at its destination point.

Actual Time of Departure (ATD) – the exact time when cargo or a transportation vehicle departs from the point of origin.

Additional Labeling – the process of affixing extra labels or markings to provide information that may not fit on the primary label or to address specific issues or requirements.

Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) – a document sent by a supplier to a buyer containing detailed information about an upcoming shipment.

Advanced Planning and Scheduling System (APS) – a technology used for optimizing and automating planning and scheduling processes in manufacturing and logistics companies. They integrate various algorithms and models that allow for consideration of multiple factors such as operation lead times, resource availability, customer requirements, and other variables.

Air Waybill (AWB) – a shipping document used in air cargo transportation. It contains detailed information about the cargo, including the origin, destination, and contents.

Aisle – in warehouse management, it refers to a designated path between racks or shelves, allowing for the movement of equipment and materials within the warehouse.

Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) – a unique identifier assigned to products on the Amazon platform, facilitating search and linking for both sellers and buyers.

Application Programming Interface (API) – a set of protocols and tools that enable different software applications to interact and exchange data with each other.

Assemble to Order (ATO) – a manufacturing strategy involving the production of goods based on customer orders and specifications while maintaining a certain level of standardization in the production process. With ATO, companies can offer a wide range of product options and variations that meet specific customer requirements without the need for extensive customization or long lead times.

AutoID – encompasses technologies such as barcodes, RFID, and QR codes, which enable automatic identification and tracking of goods in the supply chain.

Automated Guided Vehicle System (AGVS) – a system utilizing automated guided vehicles or mobile robots for transporting goods within a facility.

Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) – an advanced technology used in warehouses and distribution centers to automate the process of storing and retrieving goods. The system is controlled by a central computer, which receives instructions from the Warehouse Management System (WMS) and coordinates the movement of robots.

Available-to-promise (ATP) – the quantity of inventory available for allocation and delivery to customers, taking into account existing orders and reservations.

Average Order Value (AOV) – a key metric used in e-commerce to measure the average value of orders made by customers. It is calculated by dividing the total revenue generated from all orders by the total number of orders.


Back Order – a situation where a customer places an order for an item that is currently out of stock. Instead of canceling the order, the company delays it and promises to fulfill it as soon as the item becomes available again.

Barcode – a visual representation of data encoded as a series of parallel lines or bars. It is used for storing and retrieving information about a product, such as its price, quantity, or manufacturer.

Barcode Parsing – the process of extracting information from a barcode.

Barcode Scanner – a device equipped with optical sensors or cameras that can scan and decode barcodes. It converts encoded data into digital information for inventory management, tracking, and identification purposes.

Batch Picking (multi-order picking) – a strategy used in warehouses to enhance efficiency and productivity. It involves picking multiple orders or items simultaneously. This saves time and reduces the number of trips needed to retrieve items from different locations within the warehouse.

Batch Production Manufacturing – the process by which goods are produced in batches or groups, typically with a fixed quantity of identical items.

Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) – a type of polymer film widely used for packaging purposes due to its high transparency, strength, and moisture resistance. It is ideal for wrapping products to protect them during storage and transportation.

Bill of Lading (BOL) – a legal document that serves as evidence of a contract between a shipper and a carrier. It is used to provide detailed information about the shipped goods, including their quantity, description, and destination. The BOL acts as a receipt for the cargo and serves as evidence that it has been received by the carrier. It also serves as a title document, allowing the transfer of ownership rights of the goods from the shipper to the consignee.

Bin Center – a specially designated area within a warehouse or distribution center where goods are stored, organized, and readily accessible for picking, packing, and shipping.

Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) – a long-term agreement that allows a company to make multiple purchases from a supplier over a specified period of time. Unlike a regular purchase order, which is issued for a single transaction, a BPO is designed to streamline the procurement process by establishing pre-negotiated terms and conditions.

Blanket Rate – a fixed fee charged for a specific s