Accumulator Conveyor Any conveyor designed to permit accumulation of packages, objects, or carriers. May be roller, live roller, belt, power-and-free, or chain.
ASRS Automated Storage and Retrieval System (see definition below)
Automated Automatic Guided Vehicle Vehicles equipped with electromagnetic, optical or other systems for guidance and employ various types of collision avoidance systems. AGVs can have reprogramming capabilities for path selection and positioning. An AGV is often referred to as a driverless vehicle because human intervention is not required to direct the AGV in automatic mode of operation.
Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) A combination of equipment and controls, which handles, stores, and retrieves materials with precision, accuracy, and speed under a defined degree of automation. Systems vary from relatively simple, manually-controlled order-picking machines operating in small storage structures, to computer-controlled storage and retrieval systems, totally integrated into the manufacturing and distribution process.
Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) The application of various technologies, such as bar coding, image recognition, voice recognition, and RF/MW transponders, for the purpose of data entry to a data processing system. AIS applications are characterized by data capture at the site of an event. Automatic Identification Systems combine machine-readable coding symbols to be read by strategically deployed code readers for the purpose of automatic sorting, data handling in receiving and shipping, monitoring work in process, and verifying components.
Automatic Sortation The electronic recognition of cartons by size or code enabling them to be sorted in groups.
Automatic Warehouse A warehouse in which a substantial part of the receipt, storage, and dispatch functions are performed without manual handling of the goods involved.
Automation Automation is the use of computers and other technologies to control industrial machinery and processes.
Bar Code An array of rectangular bars and spaces that are arranged in a predetermined pattern following specific rules to represent elements of data that are referred to as characters. A symbol.
Bar Code Reader A device used to identify and decode a bar code symbol.
Bar Code Scanner A moving beam used to identify and decode a bar code or other optical symbol.
Batch Manufacturing The production of parts or material in discrete runs, or batches, interspersed with other production operations or runs of other parts or materials.
Batch Mode Processing A type of processing in which information from a data collection method is not gathered immediately, but at discrete, non-continuous intervals.
Batch Picking An operator picks one product for a group of orders at the same time; requires sortation and possible consolidation of products for the orders. Typically used when large numbers of orders contain the same SKUs.
Bed The part of a conveyor upon which the load or carrying medium rests, rolls or slides while being conveyed.
Belt Conveyor A continuous fabric, rubber, plastic, leather or metal belt operated over a suitable drive and tail end, and over belt idlers or slider bed for handling materials, packages or objects placed directly upon the belt.
Bi-Directional AGV An AGV, which does not have a dedicated front or back and which can automatically operate in the forward or the reverse directions.
Bridge Cranes When an application requires hoist coverage over a rectangular area, such as a manufacturing bay, a bridge crane is required. With it, a hoist can be positioned at any point within the rectangle, permitting lifting, lowering and transportation throughout the area. A bridge crane rides on runways, which are a parallel pair of beams that are attached to the building columns and permit the horizontal movement of the bridge crane structure. Bridge cranes come in a number of different configurations, such as top running or under running, single girder or double girder. There are relative advantages to each approach, and the proper selection can only be determined once the application and physical constraints are examined.
Buffer Storage The part of a warehouse in which back up or reserve stock is stored awaiting transfer into active storage.
Bulk Storage An area in the warehouse set aside for storage of multiple pallets of a given product. Storage in warehouses of any large quantity of supplies, usually in original containers. The area within a facility or warehouse devoted to the placement of large items, floor stocking of pallets and reserve material to re-supply forward picking areas.
Cantilever Rack A rack consisting of arms cantilevered from columns. Most useful when there is need for a full clear shelf that can be loaded from the front without obstructing uprights.
Capacity-Rated The rated or design capacity of the material handling equipment as stated by the equipment manufacturer. (Also referred to as Payload.)
Carousel – Horizontal Carousels carry a number of storage baskets suspended at the top and bottom by a powered track system. Order picking takes place from the basket, which is stopped at an operator station. Carousels are limited in height from approximately 7 to 10 ft., although greater heights can be obtained by installing additional units on mezzanine levels. Typical installations for carousel units have multiple carousels supporting a single operator station so that the operator does not have to wait on one machine to index the desired basket position. Can be manually or computer controlled with an integrated inventory control system.
Carousel – Vertical Similar principal to the Horizontal Carousel, but operates vertically with a gimbaled tray suspended between the traction chains.
Cart Rack An accumulative storage system that allows you to store up to five pallets deep per level. All of the pallets on each level, except the last, are placed on a set of trolleys/carts that are pushed along the rolling rails. These rails are built on a slight incline, lower at the front, so that the pallets at the back move forward when the pallets closest to the aisle are removed. In a pushback pallet rack storage system, all the pallets placed on a particular level must contain the same SKU and are managed using the Last In First Out (LIFO) system.
Catwalk Catwalks are multi-level storage systems that are designed to use the vertical space in a warehouse by using catwalk aisles and employee access stairways. The storage and retrieval process is performed by the employees and eliminates the use of heavy equipment such as forklifts and order pickers. Multi-level catwalk systems maximize storage density in your warehouse. Catwalk systems have narrow pick aisles, reduced cross aisles, and less wasted warehouse space. These systems can be made from custom fabricated rack components, or standard shelving components. Catwalk rack storage systems are composed of custom fabricated pallet rack components and provide for the maximum span and capacity. Rack components provide the maximum span and capacity for catwalk storage.
Ceiling Mounts When a work area must be free from any support structures that may interfere with operations, Ceiling Mounted Bridge Cranes are an excellent solution to keeping floors clear. With an overhead warehouse monorail system, the hoist and trolley run on a single stationary beam. The monorail allows two axes of hook movement: up/down and forward/back along the monorail beam. Because of their inherent speed and efficiency, monorail material handling systems are an effective method of moving and positioning loads to specific locations. They are available in various capacities. Monorails are best used in applications where materials are to be transported from one fixed point to another fixed location, or through a process.
Cell A manufacturing unit consisting of two or more workstations or machines and the material transport mechanisms and storage buffers that interconnect them.
Clear Overhead Height Distance from the floor to the lowest overhead obstruction (e.g., ceiling truss, sprinkler heads, heating pipes, etc.).
Clear Stacking Height (Working Head Room) The distance from the floor to a point usually a least 18 in. below the lowest overhead obstruction. The clearance required between the top of the highest load and the lowest overhead obstruction would vary depending upon local fire codes.
Cluster Picking An operator picks from containers for multiple orders and will pick a product(s) for each order during a single pass through the pick area. Typically used when the total cube of multiple orders can be manually transported.
Computer-Aided Design The use of an interactive-terminal workstation, usually with graphics capability, to automate the design of products and projects. CAD includes functions such as drafting.
Computer Simulation The creation of a mathematical model, representing the operation under study, for purposes of testing the implications of possible operating scenarios without having to implement them. See Simulation.
Control System A hardware/software system that’s primary function is the collection and analysis of feedback from a given set of functions, for the purpose of controlling these functions. Control may be implemented by monitoring and/or systematically modifying parameters or policies used in those functions, or by preparing control reports that initiate useful action with respect to significant deviations and expectations.
Controller 1. A device or group of devices which serves to govern in some predetermined manner, the power delivered to a motor to which it is connected. 2. An electromechanical device or assembly of devices for starting, stopping, accelerating, decelerating a conveyor drive, or which serves to govern in some predetermined manner the electric power delivered to a drive.
Converging Section A section of roller or wheel conveyor where two conveyors meet and merge into one conveyor.
Conveyor A horizontal, inclined, or vertical device used to move or transport bulk materials, packages, or objects in a path predetermined by design of the device and having points of loading and discharge fixed, or selective; included are vertical reciprocating and inclined reciprocating conveyors.
Conveyor Belt A belt used to carry materials and transmit the power required to move the load being conveyed.
Conveyor Guard A structure mounted below the conveyor path to protect personnel and equipment below from falling material or packages.
Conveyor Width In unit handling conveyor, the dimensions from inside-to-inside of frame rails.
Crane A machine for lifting and lowering a load and moving it horizontally, with the housing mechanism an integral part of the machine.
Cross-Belt Sorter High-speed sortation conveyor for small items, to 18 in. by 18 in., that powers the belt to transfer each item into a container or chute.
Cube 1. The product measured length by width by depth. 2. The total area inside a truck trailer. The length times the width times the height of the trailer is the cube space. 3. The true storage capacity of a building: L x W x H.
Cube Utilization The ratio of space occupied with material to total cubic space available, usually expressed as a percentage.
Curved Belt Conveyor A unit load belt conveyor usually operating horizontally through 90° or 180° turn.
Cycle Time 1. Time for a material handling machine to perform one cycle (pick, store, move). 2. The total time for a process from start to completion.
Decision Point Branch(es) in the guide path or conveyor path (i.e., intersections, spurs).
Dedicated Aisles An aisle in a warehouse serving only one function. This aisle can be for order selection, product storage, or both.
Dedicated Storage A storage policy (usually contrasted with random storage) in which a warehouse location is dedicated to house, a specific SKU, or SKUs.
Discrete Picking An operator picks one order, one product at a time. Typically used when order size, distance traveled, and number of total SKUs is small.
Distribution The broad range of activities concerned with efficient movements of finished products from the end of the production line or receiving dock, to the consumer; in some cases it may include the movement of raw materials from the source of the supply to the beginning of the production line. These activities include transportation, warehousing, material handling, protective packaging, inventory control, order processing, market and sales forecasting, customer service, and attendant management information systems.
Distribution Center Intermediate warehouse(s) where products from different sources are assembled for shipment and distribution to specific customer locations.
Dock A platform designed to align the floor of a building with the bed of a truck trailer.
Dock-To-Stock Time The elapsed time measured for an inbound item from trailer docking to product put away.
Double-Deep Racks Usually two rows of selective racks, one placed behind the other, on which pallets may be placed two deep by a double-deep reach truck. 50% of all loads are immediately accessible and, in the worst case, it is necessary to remove the front pallet on any level to have access to the one immediately behind it. Applies to a storage requirement for many pallets of few SKUs.
Double-Deep ASRS Similar to Double-Deep racks with the pallets being stored and retrieved by an Automated Storage and Retrieval Machine.
Dwell Time The time spent at the bin front or storage slot or any equipment waiting for a material handling transaction.
EDI Electronic Data Interchange. The direct communication of data between the computers of two companies or institutions.
End-of-Aisle Picking System High-density mechanized binnable parts systems such as mini-load or carousel units that provide dense storage and maximize the use of available storage height. These systems are particularly useful when high transaction rates and large inventory levels result in unacceptably high travel times for man-to-part order picking methods. By delivering the part to the order picker, operator travel time is eliminated. These systems are also effective in situations requiring additional packaging, checking, or processing, which would be impractical to provide on an order-picking industrial truck.
Ergonomics The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.
Extendable Conveyor Used for packaged materials, objects, or units. Conveyor may be one of several types including roller, wheel, or belt. Is constructed so the conveyor may be extended or shortened within limits to suit operation needs.
FIFO First-In, First-Out
First-In, First-Out (FIFO) An inventory valuation method, in which costs of material are transferred in chronological order.
Fixed Beam Bar Code Reader/Scanner A bar code reader that uses a stationary beam and relies on the relative motion of an item to be read as it passes before the reader. Typically called Fixed Bar Code Reader.
Flat Belt Conveyor A type of belt conveyor in which the carrying run of the conveyor belt is supported by flat belt idlers or by a flat, slider surface.
Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) An arrangement of machine tools, capable of stand-alone operation that are interconnected by a work piece transport system and controlled by a central computer. Often consists of an AGV, conveyor or ASRS delivering work pieces (machine tool pallets) and tools to machines. The transport subsystem, possibly including one or more robots, carries work to the machines or pallets or other interface units so that accurate registration is rapid and automatic. FMS may have a variety of parts being processed at one time.
Floor Loading Trucks 1. A technique used for packing a truck in which pallets and stretch film are not used. 2. Hand carrying (conveyors are frequently used) a load on a truck and shipping the load by leaving it on the trailer floor unprotected.
Floor Loading Measure of the load bearing capacity of a (warehouse) floor, defined in both area (psf) and point loading (psi) for storage rack and machines.
Floor Stacking The stacking of unit loads directly on top of each other with the floor as a base.
Flow Analysis The detailed analysis of the flow of either workers or material, from place to place and/or from operation to operation. The examination seeks reasons for determining how the progressive travel or the operation may be changed or modified to achieve the utmost economies in both time and material.
Flow Process Chart A graphic, symbolic representation of the work performed, or to be performed, on a product as it passes through some or all of the stages in the process.
Flow Rack A high-density rack system which incorporates a gravity conveyor to store palletized material, multi-pallet deep & multi-pallet high always FIFO. Requires consistent pallet for proper operation. Flow racks are also used for cartons, boxes or bins typically referred to as carton flow racks
Freestanding Crane Freestanding Jib Cranes require a foundation anywhere from 3 ft. deep to 4 ft. square and up to 5 ft. deep to 11 ft. square. If columns or walls are not available, a Freestanding Jib Crane will provide an optimal range of capacity and span compared to a wall-mounted or column-mounted crane.
Gantry Crane A gantry crane has a hoist in a trolley, which runs horizontally along gantry rails, usually fitted underneath a beam spanning between uprights, which themselves have wheels so that the whole crane can move at right angles to the direction of the gantry rails. These cranes come in all sizes and some can move very heavy loads, particularly the extremely large examples of industrial and manufacturing applications.
Guidepath Path over which an AGV travels. Often such a path contains a guidewire, tape or painted route. Required for communication with the guidance system.
HIPPA HIPAA is the United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. There are two sections to the Act. HIPAA Title I deals with protecting health insurance coverage for people who lose or change jobs. HIPAA Title II includes an administrative simplification section, which deals with the standardization of healthcare-related information systems. In the information technology industries, this section is what most people mean when they refer to HIPAA. HIPAA establishes mandatory regulations that require extensive changes to the way that health providers conduct business. HIPAA seeks to establish standardized mechanisms for electronic data interchange (EDI), security, and confidentiality of all healthcare-related data. The Act mandates standardized formats for all patient health, administrative, and financial data and unique identifiers (ID numbers) for each healthcare entity including individuals, employers, health plans, and health care providers, and security mechanisms to ensure confidentiality and data integrity for any information that identifies an individual.
Hoists The selection of the proper hoist may be the single most important factor in designing an overhead crane. It is the hoist after all, that does the primary work of lifting the load. The hoist is usually the most vital component of an overhead crane. Hoists are lifting and pulling devices that use some form of line to move or lift a load. A load is attached to a hoist by means of a lifting hook. Industrial hoists are primarily used for vertical lifting. Industrial hoists can be divided into two main categories – powered and manual. Powered hoists include Electric, Pneumatic, Hydraulic, and fossil fuel. The manual category includes hand cranked, levered, or ratcheted hoists that do not use power to function. Hoists can be used to lift virtually any object from a small car engine to a NASA space shuttle component.
I/O Input/Output
Input/Output (I/O) 1. All activities used to move data in and out of a processor computer. 2. Also known as Pickup/Deposit station.
Inventory Control In a complete inventory management system, it includes stock levels, stock locations, reorder points, balance-on-hand, item physical description, rotation, etc.
Inventory Turnover Ratio Measures the return obtained from inventory investments and provides an indication of the movement of materials. Usually expressed as the ratio of annual sales to average inventory investment on hand.
Jib Crane When a hoisting application can not be accommodated by the line coverage of a monorail, but does necessitate the rectangular coverage of a bridge crane, a jib crane is often the best solution. Jib cranes consist of a horizontally-mounted beam, not unlike a monorail, but that can swing in a semi-circle or full circle. Jib cranes are sometimes attached to building columns or can be freestanding whereby the boom is attached to the column of the jib crane that is fastened to your floor. Wall traveling jib cranes can travel on their own track under overhead bridge cranes. Wall traveling jibs allow the operation to transport materials on two levels simultaneously and independently. When used as workstation cranes, several stations can use them. Jib Cranes can be mounted to facility floors, columns, or walls to accommodate any space constraints. Expand the Jib Crane’s utility further by using it as an auxiliary lifting device under an overhead crane or by attaching hoists or drives. Economically move materials within an individual workstation or between work areas. Provide supplemental lifting coverage with a full 360° of operation.
Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) An inventory valuation method, in which costs are transferred in reverse chronological order.
Layout 1. A floor plan showing assignment of gross space for storage operations and supporting functions. 2. A graphical representation to scale of a facility, usually in two dimensions, but sometimes in three.
Lean Manufacturing The practice of a theory of production that considers the expenditure of resources for any means other than the creation of value for the presumed customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. More value with less work.
LIFO Last-In, First-Out (see definition above)
Load Capacity The maximum total weight that can be handled by material handling equipment without sacrifice of any of the applicable published specifications of the equipment.
Load Height Maximum overall dimension from the bottom of a pallet or load module to the top.
Load Length Maximum overall dimension of a pallet or load module, measured in the direction perpendicular to the length of the aisle for conventional fork truck handling. Automated systems may store loads with length in parallel to the aisle length. Always note the standard in a warehouse. Load length may exceed the pallet dimension with product overhang.
Load Width Maximum overall dimension of a pallet or load module and load in the direction parallel to an aisle for conventional fork truck handling, or perpendicular to the aisle for automated systems. Always check.
Loading Dock Platform An area of a warehouse or other facility where merchandise is received or shipped. The height of the structure is usually designed to conform to the truck bed height on the truck side of a facility, and to rail car bed height at a rail dock.
Logistics The science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of operations. Deals with the design and development, acquisition, storage, movement, distribution, maintenance, and disposition of material.
Machine-Readable That characteristic of printed information that permits the direct transfer of information from a printed surface to a data processing system without operator intervention. Bar coding and optical character recognition are technologies of machine reading, as are imaging cameras.
Manifest A document that captures information on the freight carrier, class of shipment, shipper, recipient, and other information pertinent to the shipment.
Manufacturing Cell A collection of machines, grouped together with material handling systems for processing a family of parts or assembly.
Material(s) Handling 1. An aspect of materials management relating specifically to the physical transfer of materials. 2. The movement of materials (raw materials, scrap, semi-finished and finished) to, through, and from productive processes; in warehouses and storage; and in receiving and shipping areas.
Materials Control The function of maintaining a constantly available supply of raw materials, purchased parts, and supplies needed for production – including requisitioning materials in economic quantities at their proper time; also includes receipts, storage, protection, etc.
Merging A process of bringing together various parts of an order, which have been selected in different picking areas (zones). Also known as consolidation.
Mezzanine A platform supported with structural members, used for storage or operations; constructed at a height which permits movement of people and equipment below.
Mini Load ASRS A storage and retrieval concept where materials are accessed by automatically bringing storage containers to an operator. The mini load storage/retrieval machine can be fully automated by using a dedicated computer.
Modular Drawers Housed in cabinets or retrofitted to most brands of shelving (wheeled or stationary), modular drawers offer high-density storage and retrieval of parts, tools, supplies, instruments, and equipment in commercial, industrial, and institutional environments. These drawers are capable of being partitioned and compartmentalized to segregate items in the drawer.
Modular Drawer Cabinet Modular drawer cabinets make efficient use of storage space by providing secured enclosed storage for small or high-value parts. The operator has a clear view of all stored items as the drawers are withdrawn from the cabinet. An added value of modular drawers is that each drawer can be positioned or sub-divided into smaller storage cells. Modular drawer cabinets, used extensively in tool cribs, parts supply rooms, and maintenance areas, provide higher density, improved organization, more security and protection, and a greater utilization of storage space. Such modular drawer cabinets may be wheeled or fixed in place.
Modular Drawers in Cabinet / Modular Drawers in Shelving Mounted integrally into cabinet structures, these modular drawers make effective use of space and can be housed nearby other items to be stored.
Monorail Describes automated and mechanical transport systems. An elevated conveying system consisting of a rail and load-transporting carrier. The rails typically enclose chain, driven by a motor with mechanisms to engage and transport carriers. Automated Electrified Monorail (AEM) and Electrified Monorail Systems (EMS) provide a supporting rail with continuous electrical feeds. The carriers and off-board controls provide responsive flexibility of pathing and load-handling including automated loading and unloading.
Narrow Aisle Truck A self-loading truck primarily intended for right angle stacking in aisles narrower than those normally required by counterbalanced trucks of the same capacity. Narrow-aisle type equipment is represented by three basic categories of vehicle: straddle, reach, and side-loading trucks.
Non-Value Added Activity Category or process task that does not add value or move the product closer to the customer.
Occupied Slot A storage location occupied by a unit-load pallet or mini-load tote/tray.
Order Allocation A procedure used when insufficient inventory is available to ship all in-house orders. Management allocates the merchandise through a priority system.
Order Batch An accumulation of orders released in a batch for order picking.
Order Picking Selection and gathering of items for a customer order.
Pallet A horizontal platform device used as a base for assembling, storing, and handling materials and/or products in a unit load. Usually made of wood, this platform supports the load when it is picked up by a forklift or pallet jack.
Pallet Height The total vertical dimension between the outer surfaces of the top and bottom decks.
Pallet Length Horizontal dimension of the pallet in direction front-to-back stringer boards.
Pallet Loader An automatic or semiautomatic machine consisting of synchronized conveyors and mechanisms to receive objects from a conveyor(s) and place them onto pallets according to a prearranged pattern.
Pallet Rack Decking Material Standard pallet rack can be equipped with shelf panel inserts so that the pallet rack can be used for storing binnable, rackable, or palletized materials as needs change. Wood, steel, corrugate, and reinforced wire mesh are common deck material.
Pallet Storage Rack A structure composed of two or more upright frames, beams, and connectors for the purpose of supporting palletized materials in storage. Among the common methods of assembly are welded, bolted, or clipped.
Pallet Width Horizontal dimension perpendicular to stringers (pallet length).
Palletization 1. The building of a unit load on a pallet to facilitate storing and handling merchandise. 2. The placing of material on a pallet to facilitate handling with a fork truck.
Palletizer / Depalletizer Palletizer is an automatic or semiautomatic machine, consisting of synchronized conveyor(s) and mechanisms to receive cartons from a conveyor(s) and place them onto pallets according to a prearranged pattern. The depalletizer is an automatic machine consisting of synchronized conveyors and mechanisms to disassemble a pallet load and discharge single cartons.
Payload See Capacity-Rated.
Pick Aisle A pick aisle is any aisle in which an order selector can pick orders.
Pick Cart A manually propelled order-picking device with wheels, designed to hold small packages and tote boxes. May be powered.
Pick Time The amount of time at a pick face required by an order picker to select material, place it into a picking container, completing the transaction by marking a picking list or entering task complete into a RF terminal or other device.
Pick-To-Light (PTL) A computer directed picking system using display technology to identify the bin and quantity of a line item to be picked. Generally applied to carousels, flow rack, and shelving storage systems.
Power Conveyor Any conveyor, which requires power to move its load. Powered pallet and package conveyor are general classifications, using roller, chain, and belt conveying surfaces.
Productivity The ratio of output to total inputs as pallets or picks per hour. Amount of work and rate of work attained individually and collectively by the work force.
PTL 1. Pick-To-Light 2. Put-To-Light
Put-To-Light (PTL) A sorting technique that uses light displays to indicate a container or bin for an order. The operator places line items of the order into the bin matching quantity on display.
Queue A line formed by loads or items while waiting for processing.
Queuing Occurs when one or more vehicles or loads, held up behind another vehicle or load, are unable to pass and must wait for the vehicle in front to move on.
Rack-Supported Structure A complete and independent load storage system in which the storage rack is the basic structural system.
Radio Frequency (RF) Transponder A technology of automatic identification systems that operates on the same principle as security tags placed on clothing. Passive devices are commercially available that will encode and transmit information back to a computer system when in proximity of the RF transponder.
Radio Frequency (RF) Terminals 1. Used in conjunction with a Warehouse Management System (WMS) to direct a worker to perform a pick, store, or cycle inventory task. 2. Communicates with the WMS via low-power radio frequency transmissions. 3. Is real-time link between warehouse tasks and inventory control system.
Rail 1. Longitudinal members in a conveyor frame 2. Supporting surface under the wheels or rollers of a chain conveyor 3. Supporting track for equipment mounted on wheels such as storage/retrieval machine.
Random Storage (Floating Slots) Any SKU may be placed in any unoccupied storage slot of adequate size. Enables strict control of FIFO inventory. Increases storage density above fixed location storage locator methods.
Rated Capacity See Capacity-Rated.
Rated Load See Load Capacity.
Read Area Area covered by a scanner. Bar codes must reliably pass through the read area with the length of the symbol parallel to the scan plane.
Real-Time Computer communicates continuously with a device while the operation is performed.
Real-Time Processing The immediate and continuous processing of information gathered from a data collection method.
Receiving The function of accepting, recording, and reporting material into a facility.
Receiving Area Area used for checking, inspecting, and preparing incoming material (both new procurement and returns) prior to its delivery to storage areas.
Replenishment The function of transferring stock from a reserve storage area, or directly from shipping, to a primary picking location, which has become empty.
Roller Conveyor A series of rollers supported in a frame over which objects are advanced manually, by gravity or by power. The live roller conveyor is similar to the gravity roller, except that power is applied to some or all of the rollers to propel the loads. Roller conveyors can perform accumulation functions that belt conveyors cannot (e.g., the accumulation of tote boxes and cartons).
Safety Stock Quantity of an inventory item carried in stores or stock as a hedge against stockout resulting from above-average or unexpected demand during procurement lead-time. Also known as minimum or protective inventory, buffer inventory, cushion or reserve.
Scan The electronic, optical or magnetic search for a symbol that is to be optically recognized.
Selective Rack Pallet rack that is one load (single) pallet deep. Implies all loads are equally accessible from the (fork truck) aisle. Contrast with Double-Deep Racks.
Shelving Used for economical storage of small hand-stackable items that are not suited to mechanized handling and storage due to their handling characteristics, activity, or quantity.
Shipping Dock An area reserved for the loading of delivery vehicles.
Shrinkage An inventory adjustment because of pilferage, over or under shipment, or receiving errors.
Shuttle The load-supporting mechanism on the carriage that provides for movement of loads into or out of storage locations and P&D stations.
Single Deep Storage Loads stored one deep in racking on each side of the aisle.
Sizing Station A station where the profiles of loads are automatically checked to ensure they are oriented correctly and are within the proper dimensions for storage. May incorporate a weigh scale to capture load weight.
Six Sigma A business management strategy, originally developed by Motorola, that today enjoys widespread application in many sectors of industry. Six Sigma seeks to identify and remove the causes of defects and errors in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization (“Black Belts” etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction or profit increase). Taking the 1.5 sigma shift into account, short-term sigma levels correspond to the following long-term DPMO values (one-sided):

  • One Sigma = 690,000 DPMO = 31% efficiency
  • Two Sigma = 308,000 DPMO = 69.2% efficiency
  • Three Sigma = 66,800 DPMO = 93.32% efficiency
  • Four Sigma = 6,210 DPMO = 99.379% efficiency
  • Five Sigma = 230 DPMO = 99.977% efficiency
  • Six Sigma = 3.4 DPMO = 99.9997% efficiency

Six Sigma has two key methodologies: DMAIC and DMADV, both inspired by Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. DMAIC is used to improve an existing business process; DMADV is used to create new product or process designs.


The basic methodology consists of the following five steps:

  • Define process improvement goals that are consistent with customer demands and the enterprise strategy.
  • Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data.
  • Analyze the data to verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered.
  • Improve or optimize the process based upon data analysis using techniques like Design of experiments.
  • Control to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability, move on to production, set up control mechanisms, and continuously monitor the process.


The basic methodology consists of the following five steps:

  • Define design goals that are consistent with customer demands and the enterprise strategy.
  • Measure and identify CTQs (characteristics that are Critical To Quality), product capabilities, production process capability, and risks.
  • Analyze to develop and design alternatives, create a high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design.
  • Design details, optimize the design, and plan for design verification. This phase may require simulations.
  • Verify the design, set up pilot runs, implement the production process and hand it over to the process owners.

DMADV is also known as DFSS, an abbreviation of “Design For Six Sigma”

SKU Stock Keeping Unit (see definition below)
Slider Bed A stationary surface on which slides the carrying portion of a belt conveyor.
Sortation Generic act of organizing items into a higher-level kit or order. Can be manual or automated.
Sorting Conveyor A conveyor, which receives mixed unit loads or packages and discharges them to segregated spaces or conveyors in response to an automatic dispatch control. Automatic identification systems are capable of sorting products by shape, color, or size.
Spur A path off the main route. A continuous spur is a looped path that rejoins the main path.
SRM Storage / Retrieval Machine
Staging Areas Areas between different warehouse operations where goods are temporarily stored awaiting processing by the next operation.
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Represents one unique inventory item. Example: one style of skirt in six colors and five collar sizes would be 30 different SKUs.
Storage/Retrieval Machine (SRM) A machine operating on mounted rail(s) used for transferring a load from a storage compartment to a P&D station to a storage compartment. The SRM is capable of moving a load both vertically and parallel with the aisle and laterally placing the load in a storage location. Common types of SRM are mini-load and unit-load. Usually computer-controlled, used for rapid storage, and retrieval of merchandise.
Stringer The spacing boards of a pallet, normally 2 in. by 4 in. in size and two to three in number. Top and bottom boards are fastened to the stringers. Coincide with length dimension of pallet.
System Configuration Evaluation of the factors affecting products and production tasks, selection of a design concept based on these factors, and evaluation of the performance of the selected concept. Following the results of the evaluation, a system can be refined and reevaluated, or discarded.
Systems Integrator A vendor or consultant hired to provide or sub-contract for all equipment/hardware and software needed for an installation.
Terminal Any device into which an operator enters or receives information from a computer.
Throughput The amount of merchandise processed through a system or warehouse in a given time.
Travel Time The time for moving material, industrial truck, or a person from one location to another.
Tilt-Tray Sorters A high-speed, continuous-loop sortation conveyor using a technique of tilting a tray at a chute to slide the object into the chutes. Used for consolidating line items of an order. These are also used for consolidating shipments or packages consigned to a specific truck route in distribution centers & small package carriers.
Unit of Measure The unit of measure (i.e., weight, length, volume).
Vacuum Lift Vacuum Lifts, used in conjunction with workstation cranes, enable operators to perform lifting and positioning task in a very ergonomic fashion. These mechanisms vary in their means of actuation from servo-drive lifting tubes to vacuum-assisted suction tube lifters. With OSHA enforcing more stringent regulations on workers lifting activities, vacuum lifts are gaining in popularity in the manufacturing/ packaging areas. The ergonomic features in vacuum lifts have improved greatly over the years. Such things as “motorcycle throttle” vacuum regulation and force transducers on operator handles have made these “worker assists” more an extension of their human motor function than ever before.
Value-Added Activity 1. Any change to a product to make it more valuable to the end customer. 2. Any activity that actually makes money for the manufacturer. 3. Any change to the product that the customer is willing to pay for.
Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) Fork Trucks Generic category of side-loading fork trucks, using turret and other mechanisms to store and retrieve (pallet) unit loads.
Warehouse Management System (WMS) A computer-based inventory management system for material in the warehouse. Uses RF and computer terminals to guide and support receiving, storage, picking, cycle inventory, and shipping operations. Improves inventory accuracy, productivity, and customer service.
Wave Picking An operator picks one order one product at a time for a group of orders. Typically used when orders are released to be picked during a specific time period.
Weigh Check Station A weigh scale in line with conveyor that weighs a passing load and checks that the weight is within acceptable limits. Typically used in packing and shipping systems as a quality check station to detect shortages and overages.
WIP Work-In-Progress (See definition below).
WMS Warehouse Management System (See definition above).
Work-In-Progress (WIP) Material that is in a manufacturing or assembly classification between raw material and finished goods.
Zone Batch Picking An operator is assigned a zone and picks a part of one or more orders, depending on what products are stored in the zone.
Zone Batch Wave Picking An operator is assigned a zone and picks all line for orders stocked in the zone, picking for more than one order at a time and for multiple scheduling periods during a shift.
Zone Picking Picking is organized into zones (i.e., sections of flow rack or shelving) with one operator per zone and picking to all orders. Typically used for high speed picking for limited SKUs is needed.
Zone Wave Picking An operator is assigned a zone and picks all products for all orders stocked in the zone during a specific time period.