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Abbreviation for “Dangerous and Hazardous” cargo.


Abbreviation for “Doing Business As.” A legal term for conducting business under a registered name.


Department of Transportation.


Any type of information that can be stored, manipulated, summarised, accessed, or used for calculations.

Data collection 

See Automated Data Collection (ADC)

Data elements

Individual pieces of data in a database, on a report, or on a computer screen. Individual fields in a database file such as the item number or quantity from an inventory record are examples of data elements.

Data formatting

The specific way data elements are displayed or printed on a report or computer screen. Data formatting not only includes the font and style (bold, italics, etc.) of the text but also the inclusion of spaces or special characters to make the data element more readable.

Data identifier

A character or set of characters added to a bar code to identify the type of data included in the bar code.

Data selection

Term that describes the “filtering” of data to only display certain records on reports or computer screens. Setting a count program to only release counts for a specific aisle is an example of data selection.

Data sequencing

Refers to the sorting of data on reports and computer screens. Sorting a count sheet by location is an example of data sequencing.

Data transmission

The use of sensors to transmit data via pulse-modulated light beam systems typically from host stations to mobile carriers such as AGV’s or stacker cranes.


Computer term that describes the structured electronic storage of data. A database is the highest level of a group of data, in most business software, all data is maintained in a single database. A database is a collection of files (also called tables), with each file consisting of one or more records, with each record consisting of one or more fields.


A two-dimensional (2D) bar code symbology.


Abbreviation for Distribution Centre


Abbreviation for “Destination Delivery Charge.” A charge, based on container size, that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. This charge is considered accessorial and is added to the base ocean freight. This charge covers crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal operation.


One leg of a move without a paying cargo load. Usually refers to repositioning an empty piece of equipment.


The number of tons of 2,240 pounds that a vessel can transport of cargo, stores and bunker fuel. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces “light” and the number of tons it displaces when submerged to the “load line.”

Deadweight Cargo

A long ton of cargo that can be stowed in less than 40 cubic feet.

Decision matrix

A matrix teams use to evaluate problems or possible solutions. For example, a team might draw a matrix to evaluate possible solutions, listing them in the far left vertical column. Next, the team selects criteria to rate the possible solutions, writing them across the top row. Then, each possible solution is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 for each criterion, and the rating is recorded in the corresponding grid. Finally, the ratings of all the criteria for each possible solution are added to determine its total score. The total score is then used to help decide which solution deserves the most attention.


One or more boards or panels comprising the top or bottom surface of the pallet.

Deck mat

Assembly of deckboards and stringerboards, forming the deck of a block pallet.


Element or component of a pallet deck, oriented perpendicular to the stringer or stringerboard.

Deckboard spacing

Distance between adjacent deckboards.

Deckboard span

Distance between deckboard supports (stringers, stringerboards or blocks).


The material, generally made from welded wire, that is placed on shelves, rack load beams or walks to support loads of variable sizes. The decks or flooring of a mezzanine can be made of several different types of materials depending upon the requirements, features and capacity of the mezzanine. These flooring/decking options may include bar grating, plank grating, wood planking, plywood, composite materials and cement.

Decking section

A completely fabricated decking assembly with reinforcing members ready for installation upon supporting storage rack framing.  One or more decking sections are used to form a shelf surface

Decoded scanner

Scanner that has built-in logic to convert the bar code into ASCII characters and then pass the ASCII characters to the connected device.


Interface device that allows you to connect one or more undecoded scanners or other devices (such as scales and credit card readers) to a computer or terminal. Decoders are often called wedges because they frequently use a keyboard wedge interface to connect and communicate with a computer or terminal. The decoder will convert the scanner output into ASCII characters and then pass this data to your computer.

Deconsolidation Point

Place where loose or other non-containerised cargo is ungrouped for delivery.


A product’s or service’s nonfulfillment of an intended requirement or reasonable expectation for use, including safety considerations. There are four classes of defects: class 1, very serious, leads directly to severe injury or catastrophic economic loss; class 2, serious, leads directly to significant injury or significant economic loss; class 3, major, is related to major problems with respect to intended normal or reasonably foreseeable use; and class 4, minor, is related to minor problems with respect to intended normal or reasonably foreseeable use. Also see “blemish,” “imperfection” and “nonconformity.”


A defective unit; a unit of product that contains one or more defects with respect to the quality characteristic(s) under consideration.

Deficit Weight

The weight by which a shipment is less than the minimum weight.


The amount of deformation or bending in a pallet or pallet component under load.


A stationary or moveable angled arm which deflects product flow access across a belt or roller conveyor to the desired location.


A feature of a product or service that a customer does not expect to receive but that gives pleasure to the customer when received. Also called an “exciter.”

Delivering Carrier

The transportation line by which a shipment is delivered to the consignee


The act of transferring possession, such as the transfer of property from shipper to carrier, one carrier to another or carrier to consignee.

Delivery Instructions

Order to pick up goods at a named place and deliver them to a pier. Usually issued by exporter to trucker but may apply to a railroad, which completes delivery by land. Use is limited to a few major U.S. ports. Also known as shipping delivery order.


The need for a specific item in a specific quantity. 

See Dependent Demand and Independent Demand.


Demurrage/Despatch money. (Under vessel chartering terms, the amount to be paid if the ship is loading/discharging slower/faster than foreseen.)

Deming cycle

The Deming Cycle is a set of activities (Plan, Do, Check, Act) designed to drive continuous improvement. Initially implemented in manufacturing, it has broad applicability in business. First developed by Walter Shewhart, it is more commonly called the Deming cycle in Japan where it was popularised by Edwards Deming.

Deming Prise

Award given annually to organisations that, according to the award guidelines, have successfully applied company wide quality control based on statistical quality control and will continue to do so. Although the award is named in honour of W. Edwards Deming, its criteria are not specifically related to Deming’s teachings. There are three separate divisions for the award: the Deming Application Prise, the Deming Prise for Individuals and the Deming Prise for Overseas Companies. The award process is overseen by the Deming Prise Committee of the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers in Tokyo


A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier’s equipment beyond the allowed free time. The free time and demurrage charges are set forth in the charter party or freight tariff.


The weight of cargo per cubic foot or other unit.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Federal agency that regulates the highway transportation of shipments including commodities designated as hazardous material.


The degree to which a product is operable and capable of performing its required function at any randomly chosen time during its specified operating time, provided that the product is available at the start of that period. (Nonoperation related influences are not included.) Dependability can be expressed by the ratio: time available divided by (time available + time required).

Dependent demand

Demand generated from scheduled production of other items.

Dependent events

Events that occur only after a previous event.


Dispersion, dissemination, broadcasting or spreading communication throughout an organisation, downward and laterally. Also see “cascading.”

Depot, Container

Container freight station or a designated area where empty containers can be picked up or dropped off.

Depth of field

Describes the working distance of a particular scanner from the bar code. This cannot be listed as a single range since the depth of field is also dependent upon the density (size) of the bar code and the reflectivity of the media on which the bar code is printed.

Design of experiments (DoE)

A branch of applied statistics dealing with planning, conducting, analysing and interpreting controlled tests to evaluate the factors that control the value of a parameter or group of parameters. Design for Six Sigma (DFSS): See “DMADV.”

Design record

Engineering requirements, typically contained in various formats; examples include engineering drawings, math data and referenced specifications. Designing in quality versus inspecting in quality: See “prevention versus detection.”


The place where carrier actually turns over cargo to consignee or his agent.

Destination Control Statements

Various statements that the U.S. government requires to be displayed on export shipments. The statements specify the authorised destinations.

Detachable frame pallet

A pallet that features a frame or superstructure that is removable.


A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying carrier’s equipment beyond allowed time. Demurrage applies to cargo; detention applies to equipment. See Per Diem


The unloading of a container or cargo van.


In numerical data sets, the difference or distance of an individual observation or data value from the centre point (often the mean) of the set distribution.


The activity of discovering the cause(s) of quality deficiencies; the process of investigating symptoms, collecting and analysing data, and conducting experiments to test theories to determine the root cause(s) of deficiencies.

Diagnostic journey and remedial journey

A two-phase investigation used by teams to solve chronic quality problems. In the first phase, the diagnostic journey, the team journeys from the symptom of a chronic problem to its cause. In the second phase, the remedial journey, the team journeys from the cause to its remedy.


An amount added or deducted from base rate to make a rate to or from some other point or via another route.

Dim weight

See Dimensional weight

Dimensional weight

Formula used to determine freight charges when the minimum weight to volume ratio has not been met. Actual weight and dim weight are compared, and the larger weight is used for the freight calculation. Dim weight is calculated by:  Dim weight= (Length x Width x Height)/194. All dimensional measurements are in inches. 


See pallet dimensions.


Via the route of a single carrier.

Direct ship

Direct shipping and drop shipping are two terms generally used interchangeably. They describe a process whereby three parties interact with the sales transaction (the buyer, the seller, and the supplier). The buyer initiates a purchase from the seller, who then arranges with the supplier to ship the product directly to the buyer. The seller does not carry inventory of the product and the supplier does not have any direct communication with the buyer. The buyer pays the seller and the seller pays the supplier. Though both terms (direct ship and drop ship) are generally used to describe the same process, I’ve always considered a small distinction between the two that relates to where you are in the supply chain. To the seller, direct shipping describes both the process and an inventory/sales strategy, however, the supplier will frequently just use the term “drop ship” to describe the process whereby he is shipping the product to an address other than that of his customer (the business that is paying him for the product). Sometimes the term drop ship also describes the process of shipping to any location that is different from the customer’s normal shipping location. This subtle distinction is sometimes evident in the terminology used in software documentation. Direct shipment, Drop shipment.

Direct thermal

Printing method used to produce bar code labels. Direct thermal uses a heated print head to darken areas on special thermal activated label stock.

Directed tasks

Tasks that can be completed based upon detailed information provided by the computer system. An order picking task where the computer details the specific item, location, and quantity to pick is an example of a directed task. If the computer could not specify the location and quantity forcing the worker to choose locations or change quantities, it would not be a directed task. Directed tasks set up the opportunity for confirmation transactions.


See Variance

Discrepancy Letter of Credit

When documents presented do not conform to the requirements of the letter of credit (L/C), it is referred to as a “discrepancy.” Banks will not process L/C’s which have discrepancies. They will refer the situation back to the buyer and/or seller and await further instructions.

Discrete manufacturing

Describes manufacturing of distinct items (items you can easily count, touch, see) such as a pencil, a light bulb, a telephone, a bicycle, a fuel pump, etc.  Discrete as opposed to Process manufacturing.  Also see Process Manufacturing.


An incentive payment paid to a carrier to loading and unloading the cargo faster than agreed. Usually negotiated only in charter parties.


The scheduling and control of trucks for pickup and delivery or travel between major terminals.

Dispersion angle

The degree of the angle of light.


The weight, in tons of 2,240 pounds, of the vessel and its contents. Calculated by dividing the volume of water displaced in cubic feet by 35, the average density of sea water.


The features or functions a customer expects that either are not present or are present but not adequate; also pertains to employees’ expectations. Distribution (statistical): The amount of potential variation in the outputs of a process, typically expressed by its shape, average or standard deviation.

Distance Rate

Rate that is applicable according to distance.


Describes the process of storing, shipping, and transporting goods. Also describes the facilities (distribution operations, distribution centres) that conduct these activities. In statistical analysis, describes the measurement of a group of events or occurrences (see Normal distribution).

Distribution Requirements Planning

Process for determining inventory requirements in a multiple plant/warehouse environment. DRP may be used for both distribution and manufacturing.  In manufacturing, DRP will work directly with MRP. DRP may also be defined as Distribution Resource Planning which also includes determining labour, equipment, and warehouse space requirements.


A change made either in the route of a shipment in transit (see Reconsignment) or of the entire ship.


A device on a conveyor sortation system used to move a case/carton/piece off the main line.


Carriers’ practice of dividing revenue received from through rates where joint hauls are involved. This is usually according to agreed formulae.


A data driven quality strategy for designing products and processes, it is an integral part of a Six Sigma quality initiative. It consists of five interconnected phases: Define, Measure, Analyse, Design and Verify.


A data driven quality strategy for improving processes and an integral part of a Six Sigma quality initiative. DMAIC is an acronym for Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control.


For land transportation, A loading or unloading platform at an industrial location or carrier terminal.

Dock board

A device for bridging the gap between the warehouse and/or loading dock platform and a vehicle’s load bed.

Dock bumper

Pieces of rubber located at the floor level of a dock opening to cushion the building from truck trailer impact.

Dock face

The outside wall of the dock door area.

Dock leveller

Device that provides a bridge to the trailer as well as a ramp to facilitate the transition in height from dock to trailer. Dock levellers are rated by weight capacity and by the service range. The service range, also known as the height differential, rates the safe range above and below dock level you can use the leveller to transition to the trailer height. See also article Dock Safety

Dock lift

A lift whose travel is generally 5 feet (1524 mm) or less and which is primarily used to load/unload material from trucks and transfer it to dock or ground elevation.

Dock plate

A moveable metal ramp that allows access to a rail car or trailer.

Dock Receipt

A form used to acknowledge receipt of cargo and often serves as basis for preparation of the ocean bill of lading.

Dock seal

A rubber or canvas covering that extends out from a dock face to seal the gap between the dock and the trailer’s entrance.

Dock shelter

A cover that protects the space between the door of a rail car or truck and a warehouse from inclement weather.


Present a rate proposal to a conference meeting for adoption as a conference group rate.


Receiving method whereby materials are delivered directly to the point of use (storage or manufacturing) skipping the normal receipt check in process.


A physical piece of paper produced by a computer system used to execute a task, or the electronic representation of a set of data used to execute a task.

Document-level transactions

Confirmation transactions where multiple detail-level transactions are executed by confirming the completion of a set of tasks at the document level. For example, using the confirmation of a shipping order to automatically complete transactions for all items shipped on the order. Document-level transactions are only possible with directed tasks.

Documents Against Acceptance (D/A)

Instructions given by a shipper to a bank indicating that documents transferring title to goods should be delivered to the buyer only upon the buyer’s acceptance of the attached draft.

Documents Against Payment (D/P)

An indication on a draft that the documents attached are to be released to the drawee only on payment.


A set of wheels that support the front of a container; used when the automotive unit is disconnected.


Through transportation of a container and its contents from consignor to consignee. Also known as House to House. Not necessarily a through rate.

Double Bottom

A combination of two semi-trailers or a semi-trailer and a full trailer, pulled by a tractor.

Double deck pallet

A pallet constructed of both a top and bottom deck or deckboards.

Double girder crane

An overhead travelling bridge crane that utilises two bridge beams set atop the runway (end) trucks.  Generally this type of crane utilises a top running trolley hoist which moves along the top of the two bridge beams on its own set of trucks/trolley wheels.  The hook from the hoist “falls” between the two bridge beams.  Headroom under the crane is increased by utilising this hoist/crane configuration.

Double leg gantry

An overhead travelling crane designed so that the bridge carrying the trolley or trolleys is rigidly supported on two or more legs moving on fixed rails embedded in the floor (via end trucks attached to the bottom of each leg) or on wheels.

Double row, double face shelving

One generally continuous row of units joined together, back to back and side to side to be serviced from two service aisles.

Double wing pallet

A pallet constructed in such a way as to have the top deck extending out from opposite sides.

Double-deep rack

A type of pallet rack designed to be used with double-deep reach trucks that allow storage of palletised loads 2-deep in rack. Double-deep rack may be a unique design (designed specifically for double-deep storage) or may just be a double-deep configuration of standard selective pallet rack. Also see Reach truck and check out article on Aisle Widths.

Double-face pallet

A pallet with top and bottom deckboards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringerboards.

Doubles Trailer

Any vehicle less than 35 feet in length handled as one unit, propelled or drawn by a single power unit.


Lost production time during which a piece of equipment is not operating correctly due to breakdown, maintenance, power failures or similar events.


An unconditional order in writing, addressed by one party (drawer) to another party (drawee), requiring the drawee to pay at a fixed or determinable future date a specified sum in lawful currency to the order of a specified person.

Draft, Bank

An order issued by a seller against a purchaser; directs payment, usually through an intermediary bank. Typical bank drafts are negotiable instruments and are similar in many ways to checks on checking accounts in a bank.

Draft, Clean

A draft to which no documents are attached.

Draft, Date

A draft that matures on a fixed date, regardless of the time of acceptance.

Draft, Discounted

A time draft under a letter of credit that has been accepted and purchased by a bank at a discount.

Draft, Sight

A draft payable on demand upon presentation.

Draft, Time

A draft that matures at a fixed or determinable time after presentation or acceptance.

Drag Line

A mechanised system consisting of a continuous chain, either overhead of recessed in the floor, used in a shipping terminal to move shipments on carts from one part of the platform to another.


A partial refund of an import fee. Refund usually results because goods are re-exported from the country that collected the fee.


The individual or firm that issues a draft and thus stands to receive payment.

Drawer storage

Storage utilising drawers in cabinets or within shelving systems and are suitable for applications where volume of inventory turnover is low and where smaller items are being stored.


Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Same as Cartage.


Abbreviation for “Destination Rail Freight Station.”

Same as CFS at destination, except a DRFS is operated by the rail carrier participating in the shipment.

Drive through rack

This rack is similar to drive-in rack except that the fork truck is capable of driving straight through the structure at any storage location along the aisle.

Drive-in rack

Racking system designed to allow a lift truck to drive into the bay creating very high density storage for non-stackable loads.  Useful for operations with limited SKUs and high quantities of pallets per SKU.  FIFO is difficult to maintain in drive-in racking systems.  a.k.a. Drive-thru Rack.

Driving forces

Forces that tend to change a situation in desirable ways.

Drop cantilevered jib crane

Similar to a full cantilevered jib crane with the exception of a column or beam connection that allows the load beam or boom to be mounted at any point on the column or mast.

Drop ship

See Direct ship.


Abbreviation for Distribution Requirements Planning (see separate listing)

Drum turner

An attachment to a fork truck, lift table or below-the-hook on a hoist that enables that piece of equipment to turn over drums for filling and emptying.

Drum-handling attachments

Describes the various designs of lift-truck attachment used to handle 55 gallon drums.  Some are smaller versions of a paper roll clamp while others may engage the upper rim of the drum, or the lower rings.  Some drum attachments are capable of picking up multiple drums at the same time.

Dry Cargo

Cargo that is not liquid and normally does not require temperature control.

Dry-Bulk Container

A container constructed to carry grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk. Used in conjunction with a tilt chassis or platform.


Delay in Startup Insurance is a policy to protect the seller of a construction project from penalties if the project is not completed on time. See “Liquidated Damages.”


Attempting to import merchandise into a country at a price less than the fair market value, usually through subsidy by exporting country


Fill material. Types of dunnage include loose fill (packing peanuts), paper, bubble wrap, foam, and air pillows.


A tax levied by a government on the import, export, use or consumption of goods.

Dynamic slotting

This is a term sometimes used by WMS providers to describe a higher level of slotting functionality. Unfortunately, there is not a standard definition for this, but it usually refers to the ability to change slotting recommendations as item profiles, order profiles, or other operational characteristics change.

Dynamic storage system

A storage system that provides varying means of either mechanically moving storage locations or loads within the systems so as to increase storage density and/or to increase storage, retrieval and order picking throughput.

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