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Mercantile marine


Mate’s Receipt – Document signed by an officer of a vessel evidencing receipt of a shipment onboard the vessel. It is not a document of title and is issued as an interim measure until a proper bill of lading can be issued.


Metric tons (2,250 lbs.).

Machine centre

A work centre composed of a set of machines that process a common group of products and is considered as a single resource for routing definition and capacity planning

Machine downtimes

Time during which a machine cannot be utilised. Machine downtimes may occur during breakdowns, maintenance, changeovers, etc.

Machine hours

The actual time recorded by a machine when used for production, and used in efficiency and utilisation calculations.

Machine load report

A report of demand for a given machine or machine centre by production orders released to the floor that normally compares load and capacity in terms of hours or units, and identifies the orders creating the demand.

Machine utilisation

The measure of machine hours recorded against production vs. the hours available or scheduled for a given period

Machine vision

Systems that use video cameras, robots or other devices, and computers to visually analyse an operation or activity. Typical uses include automated inspection, optical character recognition and other non-contact applications.

Machine-to-machine interface (M2M)

A term describing the process whereby machines are remotely monitored for status and problems reported and resolved automatically or maintenance scheduled by the monitoring systems.

Macro (Macroscopic)

A word commonly used to describe physical objects that are measurable and observable by the naked eye.

Macro environment

The environment external to a business including technological, economic, natural, and regulatory forces that marketing efforts cannot control.

Macro plan

A high-level project or other plan that identifies only major milestones and dates and does not include detailed tasks and activities.


A generic term for a wheeled trailer used for carrying cargo, also properly known as a roll trailer. It may remain on board throughout ocean passage or be used as a ‘slave’ trailer to transport cargo to and from the vessel once on quay.

Magnetic belt conveyor

A steel belt and either a magnetic slider bed or magnetic pulley is used to transport ferrous materials vertically, upside down, and around corners.

Magnetic placard

Placard system made of magnetic material and used on metal racks and other metal surfaces.

Magnetic stripe

Information storage medium on the back of cards such as credit cards, read by contact.


A term sometimes generically used to refer to an organisation’s central computer system. Specifically the largest class of computer systems manufactured.

Maintenance allocation chart (MAC)

A chart format, prepared and placed in appropriate equipment technical manuals, indicating maintenance operations applicable to an end item, component, assembly, or module, and which prescribes the maintenance categories authorised to accomplish specific maintenance operations.

Maintenance Assistance and Instruction Team(MAIT)

This program provides a means whereby technical expertise can be furnished individual unit commanders to help them identify and solve equipment maintenance problems that are contributing to the inability of their units to meet materiel readiness standards.

Maintenance concept (A)

A concept which describes the manner in which an end item will be maintained and supported. It indicates maintenance capabilities required of the using unit and supporting units, and provides information concerning tactical employment; usually maintenance environment, mobility consideration, allowable downtime, and other operational considerations. Additionally, the technical information required to develop military and civilian occupational series codes to recognise new or changed skill requirements is included

Maintenance costs

The costs incurred to support and ensure continued availability of an asset, such as scheduled and unscheduled repairs and support staff. In software agreements the annual fees paid to the vendor that allows ongoing use of the system.

Maintenance diagnostics

A process by which the frequency, amount and cost of maintenance to buildings and machines is evaluated on an on-going basis. Such a process ensures that the buildings and machines at a facility are being maintained at the correct levels in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible. Software programs designed specifically for this purpose are available.

Maintenance expenditure limit (A)

The maximum expenditure permitted for one-time repair of an item at organisational, direct, general, or depot categories of maintenance. It includes the cost of repair parts and labour service. Unserviceable items with repair cost exceeding the maintenance expenditure limits are classified as uneconomically repairable.

Maintenance float

End items of equipment authorised for stockage at installations or activities for replacement of unserviceable items of equipment when timely repair of the unserviceable equipment cannot be accomplished by the support maintenance activity. Maintenance float includes both operational readiness float and repair cycle float.

a. Operational readiness float–End items of mission-essential, maintenance-significant equipment, authorised for stockage by maintenance support units or activities to replace unserviceable repairable equipment to meet operational commitments.

b. Repair cycle float–An additional quantity of end items of mission essential, maintenance significant equipment, specified by Headquarters, Department of the Army, for stockage in the supply system to permit withdrawal of equipment from organisations for scheduled overhaul and the depot repair of crash damaged aircraft without detracting from the units’ readiness condition.

Maintenance repair and operating inventory

Inventory used to maintain equipment as well as miscellaneous supplies such as office cleaning supplies.

Maintenance shop stock

Low dollar-value expendable items and repair parts which have a high consumption rate at general and direct support maintenance activities in support maintenance activities in support of the assigned maintenance missions. These stocks are in addition to shop supplies.

Maintenance support plan

A continually updated plan initiated at the beginning of the development phase for an item of military design and at the beginning of the procurement phase for a commercial item. For the purpose of this definition, commercial items modified in any manner to meet military requirements will be considered to be items of military design. The plan provides narrative data concerning the planned use of the item, and establishes a time- phased schedule of the major actions required to determine and insure timely availability of all elements required for maintenance support of the item in the field

Major army command

A command directly subordinate to, established by authority of, and specifically designated by Headquarters, Department of the Army. Army component commands of unified and specified commands are major Army commands

Major army subcommand

A command directly subordinate to a MACOM. Assigned direct line responsibility and authority for a prescribed Army mission and designated by HQDA as a SUBMACOM.

Major assembly

A self-contained unit of individual identity. A completed assembly of component parts ready for operation, but utilised as a portion of, and intended for, further installation in an end item or major item.

Major carrier

A for-hire certificated air carrier that has annual operating revenues of $1 billion or more: the carrier usually operates between major population centres.

Major component

A combination of subassemblies, assemblies, components, modules, and parts connected in such a manner as to be a self-contained unit that, although part of an end item, is capable of operating independently of the end item. Major assemblies are separately identified by type, model and series and assigned item ID numbers (SB 700-20). Examples are receivers or receiver-transmitters in radio sets and machine guns or other weapons in secondary, armament subsystems of combat vehicles

Major inventory variance

Total dollar value for the stock number of the item coverage or shortage that exceeds $500.

Major item

Final combination of component parts or materials that is ready for its intended use. It is important enough to be subject to continuing, centralised, individual item authorisation and management throughout all command support echelons.

Major item requisition validation (MIRV)

A wholesale supply source program (CCSS) which provides the major item manager with a method of maintaining valid backordered requisitions in release sequence under the proper line item number (LIN). This system provides automated support for major item requisitioning under MILSTRIP and supports the functions of materiel managers at the commodity commands.

Major repair

Repair work on items of materiel or equipment that need complete overhaul or substantial replacement of parts, or that requires special tools

Make to order

A manufacturing process strategy where the trigger to begin manufacture of a product is an actual customer order or release, rather than a market forecast. For Make-to-Order products, more than 20% of the value-added takes place after the receipt of the order or release, and all necessary design and process documentation is available at time of order receipt.

Make to stock

A manufacturing method in which finished goods are produced and stocked prior to receipt of a customer order. It uses a forecast based on past demand history to initiate production of end items when inventory has fallen below desired levels, instead of waiting until a final quantity and configuration is described on a customer order.

Make/buy analysis

The process that analyses tradeoffs in costs and benefits between internal productions of a given item vs. purchasing it from a vendor. It includes identification of true product costs, the impact of fixed overhead, facility capacity considerations, vendor capability and stability and other factors.

Make-or-buy decision

The act of deciding whether to produce an item internally or buy it from an outside supplier. Factors to consider in the decision include costs, capacity availability, proprietary and/or specialised knowledge, quality considerations, skill requirements, volume, and timing.

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Annual awards by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that recognise quality system achievements in manufacturing and services organisations.


A failure or state of operation outside of specified parameters.


The act or an instance of improper practice.


The act, art, or manner of managing, or handling, controlling, directing, etc

Management control number

A number, similar to a Federal Stock Number, assigned by the National Inventory Control Points under certain specific conditions for identification and accounting purposes. Consists of applicable four-digit class code number from the Federal Supply Classification, plus a letter to designate the assigning agency, followed by a six-digit number

Management level

An acceptable range of performance usually expressed with upper and lower control units, or occasionally as a single figure. Performance inconsistent with a management level will be cause for the operation to receive closer management

Mandatory parts list

A published list of spare/repair parts that must be stocked to support a specific system.


The period of time measured by a single person working for one hour. Standard man-hours specify the amount of time normally expected to be used in a process or operation, based on estimation or past history.


A list of cargo or passengers carried on a ship or plane. An invoice of goods carried on a truck or train. A list of railroad cars according to owner and location.


The act of creating a statement which describes and/or lists the load on a vehicle in transit.


A stationary (does not mean that nothing moves) movement assist device that is often equipped with end effectors for handling different types of loads. End effectors include all forms of grippers, forks, barrel grabs, etc. Manipulators counteract the weight of the load, rendering it almost weightless by way of hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders, or simply by way of counter weights and the exercising of very limited manual control. Most manipulators require manual actuation and control and are therefore manual assist devices. They are mounted to the floor, wall or ceiling. In some cases, manipulators are mounted to a fixed base plate and the entire unit can be moved via a trolley, cart or fork lift truck.


a. Made, done, worked, or used by the hands

b. A handy book of facts, instructions, etc. for use as a guide or reference; handbook

Manual handling

The handling of materials by hand or by using devices that are non-powered.

Manual hoist

A suspended machinery unit that, by use of manual operation, is used for lifting and lowering of a freely suspended (unguided) load. Generally uses chain (roller or link) as its lifting medium.

Manual reschedule

To change the expected date of an open production, purchase or interplant order by a planner or other person, based on a suggestion from MRP or other information. It requires a review process that evaluates the effect of moving the initial date, and increases reaction time while allowing for more control than a process in which MRP or other system suggestions for reschedules are automatically performed.

Manually handled container

Containers designed to be handled by hand and not by machine.

Manufacture cycle time

The average time between commencement and completion of a manufacturing process, as it applies to make-to-stock products. Calculation: [Average # of units in WIP] / [Average daily output in units]


The characteristics considered in the design cycle that focus on process capabilities, machine or facility flexibility, and the overall ability to consistently produce at the required quality level instead of product elegance.


Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labour to make things for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Such finished goods may be used for manufacturing other, more complex products, such as household appliances or automobiles, or sold to wholesalers, who in turn sell them to retailers, who then sell them to end users – the “consumers”.

Manufacturer’s representative

One who sells goods for several firms but does not take title to them.


The making of goods and articles by hand or, esp., by machinery, often on a large scale and with division of labour.

Manufacturing calendar

A calendar used in inventory and production planning functions that consecutively numbers only the working days so that the component and work order scheduling may be done based on the actual number of workdays available. Synonyms: M-Day Calendar, Planning Calendar, Production Calendar, Shop Calendar.

Manufacturing capital asset value

The asset value of the “Manufacturing fixed assets” after allowance for depreciation. Examples of equipment are SMT placement machines, conveyors, Auto guided vehicles, robot cells, testers, X-ray solder machines, Burn-in chambers, Logic testers, Auto packing equipment, PLC station controllers, Scanning equipment, PWB magazines.

Manufacturing environment

The overall set of factors that influence planning, scheduling and strategic production decisions which include type and timing of demand, product and process complexity, physical product form, logistics and vendor capabilities, and internal functional capabilities. Describing the overall environment often includes the response to demand (to stock or to order), physical facility layout (job shop, production line, cell, batch processing or other) and methods and requirements used in planning and scheduling (discrete, repetitive or process). Many companies have characteristics of more than one environment.

Manufacturing execution system

Software systems designed to integrate with enterprise systems to enhance the shop-floor-control functionality that is usually inadequate in ERP systems. MES provides for shop floor scheduling, production and labour reporting, integration with computerised manufacturing systems such as automatic data collection and computerised machinery.

Manufacturing execution system

A production scheduling and tracking system used to analyse and report resource availability and status, schedule and update orders, collect detailed execution data such as material usage, labour usage, process parameters, order and equipment status, and other critical information. It accesses bill of material, routing and other data from the base ERP system and is typically the system used for real-time shop floor reporting and monitoring that feeds activity data back to the base system.

Manufacturing instructions

The detailed process parameters and operating data required for a specific production operation, which may include both basic production rate data and detailed engineering specifications and notes.

Manufacturing lead time

The total time required in manufacturing an item, exclusive of lower level purchasing lead time. For make-to-order products, it is the length of time between the release of an order to the production process and shipment to the final customer. For make-to-stock products, it is the length of time between the release of an order to the production process and receipt into finished goods inventory. Included here are order preparation time, queue time, setup time, run time, move time, inspection time, and put-away time. Synonyms: Manufacturing Cycle Time. Also see: Lead Time

Manufacturing planning

Definition of the weekly or daily production and machine schedules across multiple plants or lines to meet orders and forecast demand. Some manufacturing planning modules also incorporate materials planning.

Manufacturing resource planning

A fully-integrated planning and control system, providing coordination and communication among finance, marketing, and production departments. Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) takes into account plans from these entities and assists management in developing a production plan, which must be adjusted on a daily or weekly basis to satisfy changes in demand. Initially MRP was a list of components needed to produce a specified quantity of items as well as when and how manufacturing intends to use these components.

Manufacturing scheduling

Generation of plant-level execution schedules by product and resource (e.g., line and machine) and resolution of day-to-day capacity bottlenecks. Scheduling applications normally include a more granular level of resource information, and will provide such functionality as sequence dependent set up, tank scheduling and point-of-use material availability.

Manufacturing system

In an ERP system, the functions and modules used to identify and plan demand and materials, analyse resource availability and requirements, and schedule, release and report production.


Term used to describe lift trucks designed to raise the operator with the load. Order selectors and turret trucks are the most common types of man-up vehicles.


A maquiladora or maquila is a factory that imports materials and equipment on a duty-free and tariff-free basis for assembly or manufacturing and then re-exports the assembled product, usually back to the originating country. A maquila is also referred to as a “twin plant”, or “in-bond” industry. It is important in Mexico because over a million people depend on them for their livelihood.

Margin exception reporting

Features in order entry systems that compare line item prices to standard costs and flag instances that violate a predefined margin percentage.

Margin for error

An allowance built into a system or process that provides for continued operation or a successful outcome even with less-than-perfect results.

Marginal cost

The cost to produce one additional unit of output. The change in total variable cost resulting from a one-unit change in output.

Marine insurance

Broadly, insurance covering loss or damage of goods at sea. Marine insurance typically compensates the owner of merchandise for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier.


Businesses pertaining to commerce or navigation transacted upon the sea or in seaports in such matters as the court of admiralty has jurisdiction.

Maritime administration

A federal agency that promotes the merchant marine, determines ocean ship routes and services, and awards maritime subsidies.


As used on containers in foreign trade, a symbol or initials shown together with the port of importation and the final destination, if different. Example: A.G. y Cia., Bogotá via Barranquilla. Marks are registered at appropriate customs houses; they also appear on bills of lading and invoices. In domestic trade, it is common to mark containers with the name and address of the recipient, but this is rarely done in foreign trade.


The opportunity to buy or sell; extent of demand for merchandise. For example: a big market for gourmet foods.

Market demand

In marketing, the total demand that would exist within a defined customer group in a given geographical area during a particular time period given a known marketing program.

Market dominance

In transportation rating this refers to the absence of effective competition for railroads from other carriers and modes for the traffic to which the rate applies. The Staggers Act stated that market dominance does not exist if the rate is below the revenue-to-variable-cost ratio of 160% in 1981 and 170% in 1983.

Market positioned warehouse

Warehouse positioned to replenish customer inventory assortments and to afford maximum inbound transport consolidation economies from inventory origin points with relatively short-haul local delivery.

Market segment

The geographic, demographic or other customer classification targeted by an organisation for the purchase and use of its products and services.

Market segmentation

Process of dividing the market according to similarities that exist among the various subgroups within the market. The similarities may be common characteristics or common needs and desires. Market segmentation comes about as a result of the observation that all potential users of a product are not alike, and that the same general appeal will not interest all prospects.

Market share

The percent of a given market sold to or owned by a company out of the whole as a result of its success in marketing effectiveness, product characteristics, pricing, cost, delivery time, quality and many other factors. Market share is affected by the type of industry and number of competitors, and can indicate the stage of a product’s life cycle (introduction, growth, maturity, and decline).


The act of buying or selling in a market All business activity involved in the moving of goods from the producer to the consumer, including selling, advertising, packaging, etc.

Marketing automation

A subset of customer relationship management (CRM) functions that focuses on the definition, scheduling and tracking of marketing campaigns. It includes the identification of target markets, advertising delivery, budget definition, results analysis and other related activities.

Marketing campaign

A specific, defined series of activities used in marketing a new or changed product or service, or in using new marketing channels and methods. Like a promotion, the future estimated effects of a new marketing campaign must be included in demand and resource planning.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a business tool used in marketing and by marketing professionals. The marketing mix is often crucial when determining a product or brand’s offer, and is often synonymous with the four Ps: Price, Product, Promotion, and Place; in service marketing, however, the four Ps have been expanded to the Seven Ps to address the different nature of services.

The additional 3Ps include People, Process and Physical presence.

Understanding marketing’s objectives will enable supply chain and logistics professionals to serve the customer better, and meet the expectations of customers as indicated by the marketing department.

Read about the Marketing Mix on Wikipedia


Every article of foreign origin, or its container, imported into the United States shall be permanently marked in a conspicuous place in a manner which would indicate to the ultimate purchaser the English name of the country of origin of the article.


When the item ordered shows quantity on hand, but the selector is not able to find the expected quantity.

Marpol 73/78

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978.

Marquis partners

Key strategic relationships. This has emerged as perhaps the key competitive advantage and barrier to entry of e-marketplaces. Get the big players in the fold first, offering equity if necessary.

Marshaller or marshaling agent

Is a service unique to international trade and relates to an individual or firm that specialises in one or more of the activities preceding Main Carriage, such as consolidation, packing, marking, sorting of merchandise, inspection, storage, etc. References state that Marshaling Agent, Consolidation Agent and Freight Forwarder all have the same meaning.

Masked out

The design of an inductive loop sensor so that certain objects are not detected.

Mass customisation

The creation of a high-volume product with large variety so that a customer may specify his or her exact model out of a large volume of possible end items while manufacturing cost is low because of the large volume. An example is a personal computer order in which the customer may specify processor speed, memory size, hard disk size and speed, removable storage device characteristics, and many other options when PCs are assembled on one line and at low cost.

Mass production

Large volume production of the same basic product or product line based on the type and timing of demand and facility design and capabilities, which can be for either finished goods or lower level items.

Master black belt

In the six sigma quality improvement methodology, a person who teaches and mentors black belt leaders in skills training, assessment and project demonstration/review.

Master carton

Utilised as a larger uniform shipping carton for smaller packages or carton, the master carton serves to lessen material handling time and adds protection during shipping to the smaller items.

Master file

A database file, often created manually as needed, that contains static records used to identify items, customers, vendors, bills of material, work centres, etc. as opposed to files used to track the dynamic status of orders and inventory balances.

Master pack

A large box that is used to pack a number of smaller boxes or containers. Aids in protecting the smaller cartons or packages and reduces the number of cartons to be handled during the material handling process.

Master production schedule

Is a manufacturing plan that quantifies significant processes, parts, and other resources in order to optimise production, to identify bottlenecks, and to anticipate needs and completed goods. Since an MPS drives much factory activity, its quality dramatically affects a factory’s profitability. Typical MPS’s are created by software with significant user input and tweaking.

Master scheduling

The process of reviewing a proposed MPS, comparing to stated higher-level production plan, resource availability and management parameters, and firming it and releasing to the rest of the system. The frequency of regenerating and reviewing the MPS, typically weekly, depends on the industry, process flexibility, forecast accuracy and many other factors.


The raw materials and purchased components used in the production of other items. The classification of any lower level item, whether purchased or manufactured. A subassembly that has material, labour and overhead content may be considered strictly as material in the context of being used in an upper level item.

Material acquisition costs

One of the elements comprising a company’s total supply-chain management costs. These costs consist of the following:

1. Materials (Commodity) Management and Planning
2. Supplier Quality Engineering
3. Inbound Freight and Duties
4. Receiving and Put Away
5. Incoming Inspection
6. Material Process and Component Engineering
7. Tooling

Sometimes, there isn’t enough incentive for a contract manufacturer to upgrade plant equipment to a level of quality that a company requires, so the company will pay for the upgrades and maintenance to ensure high quality. The ratio of the sum of the localised raw material weights to the weight of the finished product.

Material flow

The function of maintaining a constantly available supply of materials needed for production. Such materials may include raw materials, purchased items, or assembled items. The movement of materials to, through, and from productive processes; in warehouses and storage; and in receiving and shipping areas

Material handling principles

A principle is a general rule, fundamental, or other statement of an observed truth. Over time certain fundamental truths of material handling have been found to exist. The “principles” of material handling are often useful in analyzing, planning and managing material handling activities and systems. At the very least they form a basic foundation upon which one can begin building expertise in material handling. These principles, that serve as a starting point to identifying potential problems and assessing need, are:

1. Planning
2. Standardisation
3. Work
4. Ergonomic
5. Unit Load
6. Space Utilisation
7. System
8. Automation
9. Environment
10. Life Cycle Cost

Material handling systems

Equipment that moves items between required locations on either a programmed (automatic) or manually-initiated basis. They sometimes perform weighing and other measurement functions, are designed specifically for the products to be handled, and include conveyors, pick and placement systems, and other dedicated equipment.

Material intensive

A product or product line that has a higher content of material and a corresponding lower level of labour when compared to other products. A material-intensive product often contains high-value components that require minimal labour or further processing to create the finished item.

Material management

The organisational functions responsible for the planning, sourcing, stocking and logistics activities of materials used in the internal and external fulfillment of demand.

Material planner

A person whose focus is the review, release and follow-up of purchase or production orders and inventory status vs. plan, instead of detailed scheduling of production facilities.

Material release order

An order that authorises the release of materials

Material requirements planning

The process that uses the MPS as demand, explodes the bill of material for specified MPS items, nets those requirements against on-hand inventory and existing open orders, and recommends placing new production and purchase orders and changes to existing orders based on parameters that consider safety stock levels, lot sizes and lead times. It is based on the idea of dependent demand (demand for an item is due to its usage in other items) and starts at the highest level in the bill of material, stopping at the first level where the quantity of inventory plus incoming receipts is adequate to meet demand and it is not necessary to send a requirement to the next lower level. While sometimes considered complex due to many levels in the bill of material or a large number of items, MRP in general is just a calculator and depends completely on the accuracy of the MPS, bills of material and order date and quantity information to be useful.

Material review board

A cross-functional group that reviews production or purchased items on hold due to usability concerns and determines their disposition, which may include rework, scrap, or returning to the vendor.

Material safety data sheet

A document that is part of the materials information system and accompanies the product. Prepared by the manufacturer, the MSDS provides information regarding the safety and chemical properties and (if necessary) the long-term storage, handling, and disposal of the product. Among other factors, the MSDS describes the hazardous components of a product; how to treat leaks, spills, and fires; and how to treat improper human contact with the product. Also see: Hazardous Materials

Material safety data sheet

A document used for the manufacture and import of hazardous material that specifies its substances and properties and associated health and safety hazards. It details control and safe handling methods, expiration dates or other timing constraints

Material usage variance

The variance generated by using a lesser or greater actual quantity of the standard material than specified in producing a given item (which is different than a substitution variance created by using items different than the ones on the standard bill of material ).

Materials handling

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 handling

Is the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. The focus is on the methods, mechanical equipment, systems and related controls used to achieve these functions. See also, Supply Chain, Supply Chain Management, Logistics and Third Party Logistics. Note that all of referenced terms are highly interrelated and their definitions are frequently intermingled

Materials handling equipment

Mechanical devices for handling of supplies with greater ease and economy. Examples: Forklift truck, roller conveyor, straddle truck.

Materials handling equipment

All equipments that relate to the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. Material handling equipments are the mechanical equipment involved in the complete system. Material handling equipment is generally separated into four main categories; Storage and Handling Equipment, Engineered Systems, Industrial Trucks and Bulk Material Handling.

Materials handling management society

The Materials Handling and Management Society (MHMS) is an independent professional society which was formed over 40 years ago as the American Material Handling Society (MHMS). The society provides opportunities for continuing education while offering a wealth of resources designed to enhance professional performance, including professional certification.

Materials management

Inbound logistics from suppliers through the production process. The movement and management of materials and products from procurement through production.

Materials planning

The materials management function that attempts to coordinate the supply of materials with the demand for materials.


All items (including ships, tanks, self-propelled weapons, aircraft, etc., and related spares, repair parts, and support equipment, but excluding real property, installations, and utilities) necessary to equip, operate, maintain, and support military activities without distinction as to its application for administrative or combat purposes. See also equipment; personal property. Property necessary to equip, maintain, operate, and support military activities. May be used either for administrative or combat purposes. Materiel in the commercial distribution context comprises the items being moved by the services of or as the products of the business, as distinct from those involved in operating the business itself.

Materiel obligation

That unfilled portion of a requisition (for a stocked or nonstocked item) not immediately available for issue. It is recorded as a commitment for future issue, either by direct delivery from vendor or back ordered from stock. This includes both NSN and non-NSN items

Materiel readiness

The availability of materiel required by a military organisation to support its wartime activities or contingencies, disaster relief (flood, earthquake, etc.), or other emergencies.

Materiel readiness command

The major subordinate commands of AMC responsible for National Inventory Control Point (NICP) and National Maintenance Point (NMP) functions for assigned items.

Materiel release confirmation

A notice from a storage site advising the preparer of a materiel release order of the positive action taken on the order

Materiel release denial

A notice from a storage site advising the preparer of a materiel release order of the negative (warehouse refusal) action on the order.

Materiel release denial

A notification from a distribution activity advising the originator of a materiel release order, or a referral order, of failure to ship all or part of the quantity originally ordered shipped because of lack of stock, lack of proper shelf life, condition change, or item identification.

Materiel release order

An order issued by an accountable supply system manager (usually an inventory control point or accountable depot/stock point) directing a non-accountable activity (usually a storage site or materiel drop point) within the same supply distribution complex to release and ship materiel.

Mate’s Receipt

Receipt of cargo by the vessel, signed by the mate (similar to dock receipt).


In mathematics, a matrix (plural matrices) is a rectangular array of numbers, as shown at the right. In addition to a number of elementary, entry wise operations such as matrix addition a key notion is matrix multiplication.

Matrix bill of material

A composite bill of material that displays and summarises the usage for components in a given set of parent items in the form of a matrix.

Matrix organisational structure

An organisational structure in which two (or more) channels of command, budget responsibility, and performance measurement exist simultaneously. For example, both product and functional forms of organisation could be implemented simultaneously, that is, the product and functional managers have equal authority and employees report to both managers.


The lowest inventory quantity that is desired at a ship to location or selling location. This quantity will over-ride the forecast number if the forecast climbs above the MAX. Maximum stock


To increase or make as great as possible

Maximum capacity

The most capacity that can be obtained from a given resource, as opposed to its planned or demonstrated capacity (as in a machine normally operated 10 hours a day with a maximum capacity of 24 hours/day). Sometimes used in what-if planning for stress or volume testing.

Maximum inventory

The planned maximum allowable inventory for an item based on its planned lot size and target safety stock.

Maximum on order

A specified limit for the total dollar sum of open orders for a given customer or vendor that is checked by the system at entry time, and may prevent acceptance of the order.

Maximum order quantity

An order quantity modifier applied after the lot size has been calculated, that limits the order quantity to a pre-established maximum.

Maximum payload

The amount of weight of cargo which a container is designed to carry.

Maximum rate

The highest rate that may be charged.


Mobile commerce applications involve using a mobile phone to carry out financial transactions. This usually means making a payment for goods or transferring funds electronically. Transferring money between accounts and paying for purchases are electronic commerce applications. An emerging application, electronic commerce has been facilitated by developments in other areas in the mobile world, such as dual slot phones and other smarter terminals and more standardised protocols, which allow greater interactivity and therefore more sophisticate services.


Maritime Cabotage Task Force

M-day calendar

See Manufacturing Calendar


The arithmetic average of a group of values. Synonym: arithmetic mean.

Mean absolute deviation

The sum of the absolute value of error or deviation from an expected value, divided by the number of data points. Often used as a base measure of forecast accuracy.

Mean time between failures

A quality and maintenance measure of the average time between failures for a resource or product, that cause them to be unusable.

Measurement ton

Equals 40 cubic feet; used in water transportation rate making.


Marine Engineers Beneficial Association

Mechanical lifter

A lifter composed of two or more rigid parts that move with respect to each other to attach the load to the hoisting device. All movements of this grab as it attaches to the load are manually actuated.


The middle value in a set of measured values when the items are arranged in order of magnitude. If there is no single middle value, the median is the mean of the two middle values.

Mega carrier

One of the predatory massive shipping lines that compete on the largely saturated east/west trades.


Marine Environment Protection Committee, a major committee within the International Maritime Organisation.


The combination of two or more carriers into one company for the ownership, management, and operation of the properties previously operated on a separate basis.


Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee, an industry advisory body to the U.S. Coast Guard.


Manufacturing execution system (see separate listing)


Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association

Mesh container

Often referred to as a wire mesh container, this material handling device is made from welded metal wire mesh and possesses a substructure to give the container strength and rigidity. A container that is made of woven, knit or knotted material of open texture with evenly spaced holes.

Mesh size

The centre-to -centre spacing of the wire elements on a wire mesh container. For example, a 2×2 = wires on two inch centres in both directions.

Message filter

A function in planning systems that suppresses the generation of an exception message based on a date, quantity, dollar or other parameter in order to reduce the overall message volume and focus on those with higher severity levels. For example, the filter might indicate that unless a production order needs to be rescheduled in by at least three days, the message is not generated.

Metal container

A receptacle (such as a box, enclosure) or a formed or flexible covering for the packing or shipment of articles, goods, or commodities. Containers may be constructed of plastic, welded wire, corrugated steel or aluminium.


The process of measuring the usage of volume of a system, such as software functions that monitor and sometimes control the number of concurrent users as specified in the licensing agreement.

Method study review

Engineers audit the time standards established (from the time study) for the job description to make sure the standards are fair and accurate.


A means or manner of procedure, especially a regular and systematic way of accomplishing something

Metric container

A container which has its dimensions and capacities expressed in metric terms. These containers are often designed to accommodate metric size and weight materials or goods, i.e, a one metric ton capacity container as opposed to a one imperial ton capacity container.

Metric ton

2,204.6 pounds.


A standard or basis of measurement, such as cost, size, volume, etc.


A stand alone structure constructed within an existing building or structure which is designed to maximise clear space under and above the mezzanine. Also referred to as a “free standing, wide span mezzanine”, this type of mezzanine incorporates wide column spacing and high PSF(pounds per square foot) capacity. Usually engineered for a specific need.


Designation for countries which receive preferential tariff rates – Most Favoured Nation. This is no longer the best tariff structure available.


Material Handling Accessory Manufacturers


Material Handling Industry of America.


Marine Index Bureau.


Is an English prefix of Greek origin that refers to an object as being smaller than an object or scale of focus, in contrast to macro


A system of through rates and service offered by a carrier for cargo shipments from any inland U.S. location to a port by sea, to a foreign port, and finally overland to foreign inland destination.

Micro-land bridge

An inter-modal movement in which the shipment is moved from a foreign country to the U.S. by water and then moved across the U.S. by railroad to an interior, non-port city, or vice versa for exports from a non-port city.

Micro-load AS/RS

A type of automatic storage and retrieval system that handles small items that are typically contained in very small containers, totes or trays, with load weights typically less than 100 lbs. See also AS/RS.


The interim, Single Stock Fund automation architecture used to link current retail level logistics systems (i.e., SARRS) to the National logistics system (CCSS). Middleware intercepts all outgoing Corps Theater Automated Data Process Support centre (CTASC) supply and financial transactions, makes changes to those transactions, and reroutes the modified supply and financial transactions back through the CTASC to the national system.

Mileage allowance

An allowance based upon distance and given by railroads to shippers using private rail cars.

Mileage rate

A rate based upon the number of miles the commodity is shipped.


A key event that defines the end of a phase or reaching a target or goal. Project management systems normally define milestones as activities with zero duration.

Military logistics

The science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of armed forces. In its most comprehensive sense, those aspects of military operations that deal with:

a. design and development, acquisition, storage, movement, distribution, maintenance, evacuation, and disposition of materiel;
b. movement, evacuation, and hospitalisation of personnel;
c. acquisition or construction, maintenance, operation and disposition of facilities; and
d. acquisition or furnishing of services

Military packaging

The materials and methods or procedures prescribed in Federal/military specifications, standards, drawings, or other authorised documents, which are designed to provide the degree of packaging protection determined necessary to prevent damage and deterioration during worldwide distribution of materiel

Military supply chain management

A cross-functional approach to procuring, producing and delivering products and services. The broad management scope includes sub-suppliers, suppliers, internal information and funds flow.

Military time

The use of a 24-hour clock instead of AM and PM when reporting actual labour or machine time or specifying deliveries.

Milk run

A milk run consists of a pickup and/or delivery route where several stops are made. Usually it refers to a regularly run route, but it may also refer to a one-time run where several stops are made. Some consider a milk run to mean a route where shipments are delivered and inbound materials picked up in the same run.


Military-owned demountable container, conforming to United States and international standards, operated in a centrally controlled fleet for movement of military cargo.

Min max system

A type of order point replenishment system where the “min” (minimum) is the order point, and the “max” (maximum) is the “order up to” inventory level. The order quantity is variable and is the result of the max minus the available and on-order inventory. An order is recommended when the sum of the available and on-order inventory is at or below the min.

Mini-land bridge

An inter-modal movement in which the shipment is moved from a foreign country to the U.S. by water and then moved across the U.S. by railroad to a destination that is a port city, or vice versa for exports from a U.S. port city.

Mini-load AS/RS

A type of automatic storage and retrieval system that handles loads that are typically contained in small containers or totes, with load weights typically falling in the100 to 500 lb. Range, and occasionally as much as 750 to 1000 lbs. See also AS/RS


To reduce to the smallest possible amount

Minimum inventory level

The lowest desired amount of inventory, used by planning systems to generate replenishments that will keep projected on-hand at that level or higher.

Minimum order quantity

The order quantity used as the minimum for a planned order, even if the lot size rule calculated a smaller amount.

Minimum pressure accumulation conveyor

Conveyor minimum pressure accumulation is when product is accumulated and the driving force is not removed. It is called minimum pressure because the pressure of the driving force is kept to a minimum. Pressure will build up as more product accumulates, but can be overcome with controls designed specifically for the application. The advantage to minimum pressure conveyor is a higher discharge or single load release rate than with zero pressure accumulation.

Minimum weight

The shipment weight specified by the carrier’s tariff as the minimum weight required when using the TL or CL rate; the rate discount volume.


A simplistic inventory system in which a minimum quantity and maximum quantity are set for an item. When the quantity drops below Min you order up to the Max. Also see Optional replenishment.

Min-max ordering

A replenishment and inventory management system that sets a minimum inventory level, used to trigger a reorder when the available plus incoming receipt total is less than the min. The amount of the order is the difference between the calculated (less than min) inventory and a predefined max. Min-max systems are typically not time-phased.

Minor repair

Repair which, in general, permits quick return to serviceability without extensive disassembly; can be accomplished with few tools and little or no equipment, and normally does not require evacuation to a rear echelon


Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development

Miscellaneous issue

An issue from stock for a non-production use, such as marketing samples, engineering test, etc. that is usually charged to that department and not included in demand history calculations.

Misguided capacity plans

Plans or forecasts for capacity utilisation, which are based on inaccurate assumptions or input data.


A group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like.


The reduction of damage from risk due to lessening the chance of occurrence, or by minimising its effect when it does occur.

Mixed loads

The movement of both regulated and exempt commodities in the same vehicle at the same time.

Mixed shipment

A shipment consisting of more than one commodity, articles described under more than one class or commodity rate item in a tariff.

Mixed-mode manufacturing

An environment that uses a combination of discrete, repetitive or process manufacturing instead of only one type. A company may produce major lower level subassemblies in high volumes using repetitive, schedule-based techniques while using a discrete production order-based method to conduct final assembly operations for specific customer orders.

Mixed-model production

A scheduling technique that uses the goal of making every product every day and only when required by demand, as opposed to large runs of individual items that will stay in stock for a period of time. It normally requires operating flexibility, short lead times and small lot sizes.


Master, Mates and Pilots Union

Mobile equipment

Material handling equipment that is designed to move within and outside a facility to transport materials, people and maintenance/service supplies. Such equipment can range from industrial trucks, personnel carriers, lifts and AGV’s.

Mobile rack

A rack with wheels at the base that permit movement of the entire rack structure along tracks.

Mobile shelving

A shelving system that is mounted on floor or overhead tracks. The self- contained unit may nest or move against other units to facilitate space savings or move away from each other to provide greater access.

Modal split

The relative use made of the modes of transportation; the statistics used include ton-miles, passenger-miles, and revenue.

Mode of transport

The various modes used for a movement. For each mode, there are several means of transport. They are:

a. inland surface transportation (rail, road, and inland waterway);
b. sea transport (coastal and ocean);
c. air transportation; and
d. pipelines.

Mode of transport

See Transportation Mode


A system that describes or predicts an associated process based on the definition of variables, rules and equations. A properly-defined model enables analyzing the possible effects of changes in the underlying process based on changes in the model.


The alteration, conversion, or modernisation of an end item of investment equipment that changes or improves the original purpose or operational capacity in relation to effectiveness, efficiency, reliability, or safety of that item.

Modification table of organisation and equipment

A table that prescribes in a single document the modification of a basic table of organisation and equipment necessary to adapt it to the needs of a specific unit or type of unit. See also table of organisation and equipment

Modification work order

A Department of the Army publication providing authority and instructions for the modification of Army materiel


Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit.


Designed with standardised units or dimensions, as for easy assembly and repair or flexible arrangement and use.

Modular bill of material

A bill of material used for products configured from many possible combinations of modules, or options. It normally contains a group of common components always used that do not have to be chosen, feature categories (such as monitor size) that represent a part of the product to be configured, and options within the feature (such as 15″, 17″, 19″) that are the actual sub-assemblies or components to be used. Often used in ATO environments.

Modular design

A modular building block principal which normally employs quick disconnect technique features and is the method used by materiel developers to simplify design and construction, or assembly, and to optimise on a means for fault isolation/diagnosis, replacement, and repair of those modules which malfunction or become defective.

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 organisation, more security and protection and a greater utilisation of storage space. Such modular drawer cabinets may be wheeled or fixed in place.

Modular drawers

Housed in cabinets (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 compartmentalised to segregate items in the drawer.

Modular drawers in cabinet

Mounted integrally into cabinet structures, these modular drawers make effective use of space and can be housed nearby other nearby items to be stored

Modular drawers in shelving

Mounted integrally into shelving arrangements, these modular drawers make effective use of space and can be housed nearby other nearby items to be shelved.

Modular mezzanine

A standardised, pre-fabricated mezzanine structure built in “packaged”/”off the shelf” sizes, loading capacities and spans. Usually limited to lighter PSF (pounds per square inch) capacities and rapid delivery and rapid installation are benefits of the modular mezzanine.


1. A standard or unit for measuring.

2. In building, a selected unit of measure, ranging in size from a few inches to several feet, used as a basis for planning and standardisation of building materials.

3. In automatic data processing, a program unit that is discrete and identifiable with respect to compiling, combining with other units and unloading; e.g., the input from an assembler.

4. An item, assembly, subassembly, board, card, or component which is designed as a single unit to facilitate and simplify production line techniques, transportation, supply, and maintenance processing

Molded pallet

A pallet formed in a mold and made from plastic, wood particles or wood flakes.


A medium that can be exchanged for goods and services and is used as a measure of their values on the market, including among its forms a commodity such as gold, an officially issued coin or note, or a deposit in a checking account or other readily liquefiable account.

Monorail Manufacturers Association

An independent incorporated trade association affiliated with the Material Handling Industry. The membership of MMA is made up of companies which produce the preponderance of patented and enclosed track under hung cranes and monorail systems.


A single run of overhead track on which carriers (trolleys) travel.

Monte Carlo simulation

A method that estimates possible outcomes from a set of random variables by simulating a process a large number of times and observing the outcomes.

Mooring line

A cable or line to tie up a ship.

Most favored nation

A trade policy status that affords all members within the World Trade Organisation, under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, equal treatment as other member countries.

Motor carrier act

The Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform and Modernisation Act, more commonly known as the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 (MCA) is a federal law of the United States which deregulated the trucking industry

Motor carrier act of 1935

Act of Congress bringing motor common carriers and contract carriers under Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) jurisdiction. (USA)

Motor carrier act of 1980

Act of Congress that deregulated for-hire trucking industry. (USA)

Motor driven pusher

An electric motor driven conveyor sorting device. See Pneumatic pusher.

Motorised pallet truck

Motorised pallet trucks are the motorised version of the pallet jack. They come in “Walkie” versions or “Rider” versions. As you would expect, the walkie is designed for the operator to walk along with the truck as they move loads, while the rider has a small platform that the operator stands on. The riders work well for frequent moving of loads over extended distances within warehouses and manufacturing operations. a.k.a. Walkie, Walkie-rider, Rider.

Move in

The process that goods are first moved into a new warehouse facility.

Move out

The process that all goods are moved out from the warehouse facility where they used to be stored.

Move ticket

A document used to move inventory within a facility. Warehouse management systems use move tickets to direct and track material movements. In a paperless environment the electronic version of a move ticket is often called a task or a trip.

Move time

The portion of total lead time an item is being moved from one department or operation to another.


The act or an instance of moving; a change in place or position.

Movement control

1. The planning, routing, scheduling, and control of personnel and cargo movements over lines of communications.

2. An organisation responsible for the planning, routing, scheduling, and control of personnel and cargo movements over lines of communications. Also called movement control centre. See also non-unit-related cargo; non-unit-related personnel.

Moving average

The average of the last ‘x’ number of numerical values out of a set that contains a larger number of historical values. A six-month simple moving average forecast is the average of the demand from the previous six periods; with each new period the last period is added and the oldest period deleted before recalculating the new average.

Moving time

The time zone of goods in transit to the time that is received by customer.

MRP generation

A term used to describe the running of the programs that convert demand into planned orders. Depending on the operation, MRP Generation may be run daily, weekly, or even monthly. Since this processing requires a lot of system resources it is generally confined to off hours or weekend processing.


Maritime Subsidy Board.


Maritime Safety Committee, a major committee within the International Maritime Organisation.


Military Sealift Command, U.S. Department of the Navy.


Maritime Security Program, established by the Maritime Security Act of 1996, is designed to maintain a nucleus fleet of militarily useful U.S.-flag vessels.


Maritime Transport Committee, OECD


Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO.


Military Traffic Management Command, U.S. Department of the Army.


The Japanese term for waste used in lean manufacturing and agile software development

Multi level shelving

More than two levels tiered one on top of the other with each tier serviced from a separate level.


The ability to process orders using a variety of currencies for pricing and billing.

Multilateral agreement

An international pact or agreement involving three or more parties.

Multilevel backflush

A system that back flushes multiple levels of components based on the production of a parent item, instead of just the immediate lower level (a single level back flush). When the parent is produced, its components are back flushed and for component that is a manufactured item, it is automatically produced by the system which then proceeds to back flush the next level components of that item. It enables the entry of fewer transactions but may create issues with lead time and lot tracking.

Multilevel bill of material

A bill of material that contains multiple successive levels, with the top level typically coded as level 0, its immediate components as level 1, and so on. It can be used to track all requirements and costs involved in producing a parent item down to the lowest-level purchased parts.

Multilevel master production schedule

A version of MPS that allows the master scheduling (and thus forecasts and customer orders) of any level in the bill of material, instead of just the top-level items. Lower level items may be master scheduled if they are critical subassemblies or if the completion of that item constitutes the bulk of the lead time and cost and requires only minor labour or material additions to turn into a finished product (adding language labels or instructions to an otherwise-finished product).


Using more than one transportation mode to move a load of goods.


A shipment of more than one line item consolidated for a single addressee in one package.

Multiple company

Systems and software used for multiple, separate organisations or financial entities within a larger organisation. While using the same base system, each company may set different system parameters.

Multiple currency

Financial systems that allow orders and transactions to use more than one currency, and use exchange rate tables to perform conversions and revaluations into a base currency when specified.

Multiple drop

Dispensing of fuel from a fuel delivery vehicle at more than one location or more than one receiving tank.

Multiple regression

An equation or analysis where two or more independent (predictor) variables affect the dependent variable.

Multiple row, single face shelving

One generally continuous row of units joined together back to back to be serviced from one aisle for long items of considerable weight.

Multiple trip pallet

A pallet designed and built for use in multiple trips and transports

Multiple units of measure

The use of more than one unit of measure for a given item for orders and transactions. A given item may be internally stocked in units but entered on customer orders in cases, packs or some other measure. Conversion tables translate all requirements into a base measure for planning, scheduling and inventory valuation.

Multiple-car rate

A railroad rate that is lower for shipping more than one carload rather than just one carload at a time.


A communications or logistics network in which each element can directly link to all others, and is not restricted to a specific path or set of links.


Pertaining to individuals who are certified to perform a variety of tasks.


A system or program designed to accommodate simultaneous use by multiple users, and protects against duplication, override or corruption of data when the same records or resources are accessed.

Multinational company

A company that both produces and markets products in different countries.

Multipurpose ship

Any ship capable of carrying different types of cargo which require different methods of handling. There are several types of ships falling into this category, for example, ships which can carry roll on/roll off cargo together with containers.

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