Important Warehouse Terminology

Every industry has its jargon that outsiders rarely understand. Like other job fields, the warehousing industry has its own lingo, and warehouse workers must learn it to excel in their jobs.

Get Familiar With Warehouse Language

Some warehouse terms, like backorder, purchase order (PO), or receiving, are commonly used among employees. However, there are various terms that a person without warehousing knowledge might not understand at first.

Below is an alphabetical list of the unfamiliar terminology an entry-level warehouse worker will be most likely to encounter on the job:

Backhaul refers to when a truck carries products on its drive back from delivering another shipment, rather than driving with an empty trailer. Backhauling reduces unpaid mileage and the amount of time truckers must wait for another load.

Batch picking involves collecting items from several customers’ orders at one time, which usually happens if many orders require the same items stored near each other.

A cantilever rack is a storage system using prongs rather than shelves and helps store oddly shaped items.

Cross-docking means transferring shipments from a warehouse loading dock and immediately sending them to customers rather than storing them in the facility before shipment. This usually happens when an item or shipment is back-ordered.

Cycle counting refers to inventory tracking on a cyclical basis, rather than counting all stocked items at once.

A drop trailer is an empty truck trailer that warehouse workers load before a shipment. The driver returns later to pick up the load and make the delivery.

The term first in, first out (FIFO) refers to the best practice of managing inventory so that items arriving at the warehouse are shipped out to customers as soon as possible. This practice is fundamental in food warehouses but applies to warehouses that store other products.

Forward pick location is an easily accessible spot where warehouse employees store frequently purchased items. A forward pick location allows workers to access items often sent to customers and quickly shipped.

A Gaylord box is a shipping container that fits on a pallet. Warehouses and shippers use these boxes to store and transport irregularly sized or awkwardly shaped items.

Less than truckload (LTL) is a term used when shipping goods that weigh more than 150 pounds but do not require a truckload of space. Multiple LTL orders might send in the same truck. However, each recipient pays only for the cargo space their orders require.

Lights-out warehouses use automated systems rather than humans to move items. The machines do not require light to find and move inventory.

Put-away involves taking inventory from the receiving docks and placing it in the correct storage space within the warehouse.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a wireless inventory tracking system. When a warehouse receives items, they are labeled with an RFID tracking code, and sensors placed throughout the facility monitor the items’ movements.

Reverse logistics refers to the process of receiving a returned item from a customer, inspecting it for damage, and restocking it in the appropriate spot in the warehouse.

Safety stock is an extra quantity of frequently ordered items that a warehouse keeps in case of supply shortages.

A supply chain is the series of processes between the production of an item and its delivery to a customer. Warehouses play an essential role in the overall supply chain.

A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is a bar code or series of numbers and letters that a retailer uses to identify its products. Many products in a warehouse will have both an SKU and a universal product code (UPC).

A third-party logistics provider (3PL) is a company that manages a product distribution process from manufacture to delivery to the customer.

A Universal product code (UPC) is a barcode and 12-digit number that the Global Standards Organization assigns to products.

A Warehouse management system (WMS) is an automated system that manages warehouse operations. Warehouse workers employ tablets, scanners, or other devices to utilize the WMS.

Zone picking is a system that assigns pickers to retrieve items from multiple orders stored in the same zone. The picks are then combined and sorted to fulfill orders

Sign Up with HapiGig to Learn More

Once you have gained warehouse experience, you might wonder how to use your skills to earn extra money. Picking up extra shifts or a temporary job at a warehouse is a great way to make a substantial income.

HapiGig is a platform that matches skilled warehouse workers with employers looking for employees with flexible schedules to fill temporary positions. Call or text HapiGig to access several opportunities for flex work in the warehousing industry.