Industry Terminology

Num A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W




B/L: Bill of Lading. Also: SBOL, TBOL.


B2B: Business-to-Business: e-commerce term for communications between companies and their suppliers. Also "Back to Base".


B2B2C: Business to Business to Consumer


B2C: Business-to-Consumer: e-commerce term for communications between companies and their customers (see also B2B).


Back Order: Product ordered but out of stock and promised to ship when the product becomes available.


Back Scheduling: A technique for calculating operation start dates and due dates. The schedule is computed starting with the due date for the order and working backward to determine the required start date and/or due dates for each operation.


Backbone: A segment of network that links several individual workgroup or department LANs together in a single building. It is also used to link several nearby building LANs together in a campus environment.


Backflush: A method of inventory bookkeeping where the book (computer) inventory of components is automatically reduced by the computer after completion of activity on the component's upper-level parent item based on what should have been used as specified on the bill of material and allocation records. This approach has the disadvantage of a built-in differential between the book record and what is physically in stock. Synonym: explode-to deduct. Also see: Pre-deduct Inventory Transaction Processing


Backhaul: The process of a transportation vehicle returning from the original destination point to the point of origin. The 1980 Motor Carrier Act deregulated interstate commercial trucking and thereby allowed carriers to contract for the return trip. The backhaul can be with a full, partial, or empty load. An empty backhaul is called deadheading. Also see: Deadhead


Backlog Customer: Customer orders received but not yet shipped; also includes backorders and future orders.


Backorder: 1) The act of retaining a quantity to ship against an order when other order lines have already been shipped. Backorders are usually caused by stock shortages. 2) The quantity remaining to be shipped if an initial shipment(s) has been processed. Note: In some cases backorders are not allowed, this results in a lost sale when sufficient quantities are not available to completely ship and order or order line. Also see: Balance to Ship


Backup: Duplicating information from PC to a diskette which ensures that information is available in the event of loss or damage to the original information.


Balance to Ship (BTS): Balance or remaining quantity of a promotion or order that has yet to ship. Also see: Backorder


Bandwidth: A measurement, usually in bits/second, of the amount of data that can be carried over a line or through a connection. See Baud Rate.


Bar Code: A symbol consisting of a series of printed bars representing values. A system of optical character reading, scanning, and tracking of units by reading a series of printed bars for translation into a numeric or alphanumeric identification code. A popular example is the UPC code used on retail packaging.


Bar Code Density: The number of data characters per inch (or other measure).


Bar Code Label: A label, generally both human- and machine-readable by an automatic scanning device. It is often used in shipping.


Bar Code Reader: An electrical device designed to recognize and decipher bar code labels, When the scanner passes over the bar code, it converts the bar code into electrical signals representing data. The Portable Tele-transaction Computer can then enter this data into files in its memory.


Bar Code Symbology: The protocol that defines a standard for arranging bars and spaces, such as Code 39, UPC-A, and Code 128 shipping container marking code.


Bar Code, 2-D: See 2-D Bar Codes (under "T").


Barrier to Entry: Factors that prevent companies from entering into a particular market, such as high initial investment in equipment.


Base Demand: The percentage of a company's demand that derives from continuing contracts and/or existing customers. Because this demand is well known and recurring, it becomes the basis of management's plans. Synonym: Baseload Demand.


Base Index: See Base Series


Base Inventory Level: The inventory level made up of aggregate lot-size inventory plus the aggregate safety stock inventory. It does not take into account the anticipation inventory that will result from the production plan. The base inventory level should be known before the production plan is made. Also see: Aggregate Inventory.


Base Series: A standard succession of values of demand-over-time data used in forecasting seasonal items. This series of factors is usually based on the relative level of demand during the corresponding period of previous years. The average value of the base series over a seasonal cycle will be 1.0. A figure higher than 1.0 indicates that the demand for that period is more than the average; a figure less than 1.0 indicates less than the average. For forecasting purposes, the base series is superimposed upon the average demand and trend in demand for the item in question. Synonym: Base Index. Also see: Seasonality


Baseline: The portion of the forecast derived from historical information and trends after adjusting for promotions and other unusual events.


Baseload Demand: See Base Demand


Basic Inventory Management (BIM): Area responsible for tracking and re-ordering merchandise stocked in a Distribution Centre for stores to order as needed based on the order schedule.


Batch: In systems, batch processing is an approach that accumulates data and processes it as a group: the opposite of real time. Often refers to programs that run at a fixed later time. In manufacturing production, a quantity scheduled to be produced together; also called a lot.


Batch Number: A sequence number associated with a specific batch or production run of products and used for tracking purposes. Synonym: Lot Number.


Batch Picking: Warehousing process in which goods are selected by pickers in quantities to satisfy the demand for more than one order. Goods are first picked by SKU, and later sorted by order or delivery address.


Batch Processing: A computer term which refers to the processing of computer information after it has been accumulated in one group, or batch. This is the opposite of "real-time" processing where transactions are processed in their entirety as they occur.


Baud Rate: The number of bits per second transmitted in data communications.


Bay: A bay corresponds to a single section of flow rack where there is a single EASYpick terminal. Pick-to-Lights Orderfilling.


BBP: Business-to-Business Procurement


BBS: Bulletin Board System: A computerized repository to which people can connect to send or obtain files, make announcements, and provide help. Often used as help desk support.


Benchmarking: The process of comparing performance against the practices of other leading companies for the purpose of improving performance. Companies also benchmark internally by tracking and comparing current performance with past performance.


Best Practice: A specific process or group of processes which have been recognized as the best method for conducting an action. Best Practices may vary by industry or geography depending on the environment being used. Best practices methodology may be applied with respect to resources, activities, cost object, or processes.


Beta Test: A term used to describe the pilot evaluation of a new product or service. Beta systems generally have many unknown bugs that need correction.


BI: Business Intelligence


Bi-Directional: Capable of operating in either of two opposite directions. An attribute of scanners.


Bilateral Contract: An agreement wherein each party makes a promise to the other party.


Bill of Lading (BOL): A transportation document that is the contract of carriage containing the terms and conditions between the shipper and carrier.


Bill of Material (BOM): A structured list of all the materials or parts and quantities needed to produce a particular finished product, assembly, subassembly, manufactured part, whether purchased or not.


Bin: 1) A storage device designed to hold small discrete parts. 2) A shelving unit with physical dividers separating the storage locations.


Bit: Either a one or a zero: the smallest unit of computerized data. See byte.


Blanket Order: See Blanket Purchase Order


Blanket Purchase Order: A long-term commitment to a supplier for material against which short-term releases will be generated to satisfy requirements. Often blanket orders cover only one item with predetermined delivery dates. Synonym: Blanket Order, Standing Order.


Blanket Release: The authorization to ship and/or produce against a blanket agreement or contract.


BOB: Best of Breed


BOL: Bill of Lading. Document used to acknowledge receipt of goods; may also serve as a contract for the transport of cargo.


BOM: See Bill of Materials


Bonded Warehouse: Warehouse approved by the Treasury Department and under bond/guarantee for observance of revenue laws. Used for storing goods until duty is paid or goods are released in some other proper manner.


Bookings: The sum of the value of all orders received (but not necessarily shipped), net of all discounts, coupons, allowances, and rebates.


Bottleneck: A constraint, obstacle or planned control that limits throughput or the utilization of capacity.


BP: Best Practice


BPR: Business Process Re-engineering: redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in quality, speed, service and cost.


Branding: The use of a name, term, symbol, or design, or a combination of these, to identify a product.


Break-Bulk: The separation of a single consolidated bulk load into smaller individual shipments for delivery to the ultimate consignees. This is preceded by a consolidation of orders at the time of shipment, where many individual orders which are destined for a specific geographic area are grouped into one shipment in order to reduce cost.


Break-Even Chart: A graphical tool showing the total variable cost and fixed cost curve along with the total revenue curve. The point of intersection is defined as the break-even point, i.e., the point at which total revenues exactly equal total costs. Also see: Total Cost Curve


Break-even Point: The level of production or the volume of sales at which operations are neither profitable nor unprofitable. The break-even point is the intersection of the total revenue and total cost curves. Also see: Total Cost Curve


Bridge: A network device that transmits packets of data between LANs by making a simple forward/don't forward decision on each packet as it flows through the network. Also, a piece of code meant to integrate different software applications.


Bridge Technology: The hardware and software necessary to integrate POS terminals of various manufacturers into PC-based store systems. See Wedge.


Brokered Systems: Independent computer systems, owned by independent organizations or entities, linked in a manner to allow one system to retrieve information from another. For example, a customer's computer system is able to retrieve order status from a supplier's computer.


Browser: Software that enables an individual to access information from other locations across the Internet, an intranet, or an extranet.


Buffer: 1) A quantity of materials awaiting further processing. It can refer to raw materials, semifinished stores or hold points, or a work backlog that is purposely maintained behind a work centre. 2) In the theory of constraints, buffers can be time or material and support throughput and/or due date performance. Buffers can be maintained at the constraint, convergent points (with a constraint part), divergent points, and shipping points.


Bulkhead: An upright partition, as in a ship, for protection against fire or leakage.


Bullwhip Effect: An extreme change in the supply position upstream in a supply chain generated by a small change in demand downstream in the supply chain. Inventory can quickly move from being backordered to being excess. This is caused by the serial nature of communicating orders up the chain with the inherent transportation delays of moving product down the chain. The bullwhip effect can be eliminated by synchronizing the supply chain.


Business Plan: 1) A statement of long-range strategy and revenue, cost, and profit objectives usually accompanied by budgets, a projected balance sheet, and a cash flow (source and application of funds) statement. A business plan is usually stated in terms of dollars and grouped by product family. The business plan is then translated into synchronized tactical functional plans through the production planning process (or the sales and operations planning process). Although frequently stated in different terms (dollars versus units), these tactical plans should agree with each other and with the business plan. See: long-term planning, strategic plan. 2) A document consisting of the business details (organization, strategy, and financing tactics) prepared by an entrepreneur to plan for a new business.


Business Process Outsourcing (BPO): The practice of outsourcing non-core internal functions to third parties. Functions typically outsourced include logistics, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and human resources. Other areas can include IT development or complete management of the IT functions of the enterprise.


Business Process Re-engineering (BPR): The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic organizational improvements.


Business Unit: A division or segment of an organization generally treated as a separate profit and- loss centre.


Business-to-Business (B2B): As opposed to business-to-consumer (B2C). Many companies are now focusing on this strategy, and their sites are aimed at businesses (think wholesale) and only other businesses can access or buy products on the site. Internet analysts predict this will be the biggest sector on the Web.


Business-to-Consumer (B2C): The hundreds of e-commerce Web sites that sell goods directly to consumers are considered B2C. This distinction is important when comparing Websites that are B2B as the entire business model, strategy, execution, and fulfillment is different.


Buyer Behaviour: The way individuals or organizations behave in a purchasing situation. The customer-oriented concept finds out the wants, needs, and desires of customers and adapts resources of the organization to deliver need-satisfying goods and services.


Byte: A set of eight bits that represents a single alphanumeric character.

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