An aggregator is a third-party broker that buys carriage rates and services from different carriers for resale.
A carrier is a third-party logistics provider that contracts with the seller or shipper for delivery services.
Carriers use their own or sub-contracted delivery networks to deliver parcels from collection points to delivery or collection points.
If you use the Metapack Platform for shipping, your choice of carriers and carrier services will depend on when you became a Metapack customer and the pricing plan to which you are subscribing.
From June 2021 onwards, new Metapack customers using the Platform must select a pricing bundle.
New customers subscribing to the Enterprise plan can choose from more than 300 carriers. Alternatively, if you are subscribing to the Essentials plan or to the Professional plan, you can choose from a subset of those carriers.
This refers to division of an "outer" or "parent" consignment, such as a pallet, into "inner" or "child" consignments ("cartons"), which are then linked to the parent for tracking purposes.
A shipment that is handled by a (common) carrier.
Customer Relationship Management application. A technology used to manage interactions with customers and potential customers.
A delivery is a placeholder entity created by a seller before the order is processed, the carrier is identified, and the parcels are allocated.
It is created before the tracking identifier is known and contains the necessary information required for the delivery of an order. It enables sellers to provide pre-allocation events to describe their operational process before the parcel(s) are collected by the carrier.
It requires a unique delivery reference (
deliveryRef), which is unique to the seller, and the order reference (
orderRef) of the related order.
A delivery event is an event published by a seller that relates to the status of a delivery pre-allocation. For example, “order is being processed”, or “awaiting payment”, and so on.
A delivery event requires the unique delivery reference that identifies the delivery related to this event.
When a seller retrieves the parcel journey by the order reference used in the delivery, the parcel journey will include all published delivery events as tracking events in the tracking history.
A delivery leg is a stage of the parcel journey defined by a single tracking identifier.
It contains the necessary information for the delivery of a parcel and the information about the carrier delivering the parcel.
It can be full end-to-end parcel journey if the delivery scenario is for a single parcel, single carrier, or single leg. Alternatively, it can represent one leg of many for things, such as over-labelling or parent/child consolidation.
A delivery leg event for a trackable item, such as a parcel that relates to the status of a parcel post-allocation.
It requires a tracking identifier that identifies the parcel.
Delivery leg events can be used to update the status of a parcel when it is ready to collect in a store or at a pickup point.
Software that enables online businesses to:
- Build or manage their websites (online stores).
- Use search engine optimisation (SEO) tools.
- Connect to social media platforms for marketing, sales, and operations.
An eCommerce platform is also the consumer facing front end where shoppers view their order information, including tracking.
Items are components of a product. One or many items can constitute a product.
Warehouse management systems or other operational platforms record items by SKUs (stock-keeping units) to ensure that all "parts" or "items" that form a product are available and shipped as part of the product as part of the order.
A document that describes individual orders contained within a shipment. It is not a legal document but is created for record purposes.
A manifest usually covers an entire load regardless of whether the load is to be delivered to a single destination or many destinations.
A typical manifest will contain details about the following:
- Goods being shipped
- Origin and destination
- Document number
This is where a carrier or seller might use different discrete carrier services to perform the end-to-end parcel journey. This means that each leg has a different and unique tracking identifier (barcode). Each leg also has a start and end location and will attract a “delivered” or final tracking event.
However, the seller will knit the two discrete legs together to visualise the complete journey for the shopper/recipient. The second leg tracking identifier might be known at the initial allocation through parent/child or because both are created at the start.
Multi-leg can be due to two different carriers delivering a service for the parcel or because of a consolidated injection using a parent-child type model.
A shopper places an order with a seller, pays for the contents of the order, and selects one or more delivery services for the order.
An order will always go to a single delivery or collection location, but might be shipped from multiple shipping locations.
An order contains one or many products shipped in one or many parcels. It might be delivered to the single delivery address by different delivery carriers using different delivery services/speeds, so the contents of the order might have different expected delivery dates.
An order management system (OMS) consolidates orders from all of a seller's sales channels into one place. It also manages stock availability so that that the seller sells only products that are in stock.
A delivery from a shipper to a recipient location containing the contents of the shopper’s order. The recipient location could be a home, a PUDO/collection point, or a store.
Occasionally, if delivery fails, an outbound shipment can also end up in a non-delivery or return to sender status and be reverted back to the shipper. However, this is an exception for an outbound delivery and should not to be confused with returned parcels.
This is where a carrier or aggregator uses the initial tracking identify to locate the data records for the parcel and then overwrites it with a new tracking identifier. This typically occurs when the final mile carrier is not determined at the point of allocation (see aggregator).
Both tracking identifiers might attract tracking events, but it will be the second label that will be used for the majority of tracking events, especially the final mile/destination events.
Parcels contain products (items) from an order. One or many parcels make up an order.
Parcels/packages are collected by carriers and delivered to recipients' homes or their chosen collection points.
A parcel journey covers all tracking events (including one or more delivery legs) for either outbound deliveries (including return to sender for failed deliveries) or returns.
A seller will request parcel journey(s) for an order, so a parcel journey should include all tracking events for all legs for a single parcel.
This refers to the relationship between a parcel and a pallet.
Products are selected by shoppers and placed in their shopping carts.
Products have descriptions to encourage purchase. These descriptions usually include the following information:
- Model number
A product can be made up of one or many items/SKUs (stock-keeping units).
Delivery of a seller's products in “parcels” by a carrier from a shipping location to a recipient’s nominated collection point.
The collection point can be a manned location, such as a newsagent or supermarket, or an unmanned location, such as a locker.
The recipient of a delivery. A recipient might not be the shopper who purchased the product(s) from the seller.
This is where a home delivery for a specific date fails and the carrier takes alternative action or the delivery is altered by the recipient before the delivery attempt.
This is where a delivery is collected from a recipient location or is injected into a (returns) collection location containing some or all of the products from the outbound order.
A return can be initiated by using a pre-supplied label (labels in a box), a standalone returns portal, or a seller’s own returns function embedded in its eCommerce platform (returns on demand).
The organisation from which a shopper purchases products (orders). By purchasing from the seller, the shopper creates a contract with that organisation and can hold it accountable for any delivery problems.
A shipper might have its own shipping solutions, including a shipping platform, carrier contracts, and so on. Alternatively, it might outsource these to third-party specialists.
The organisation that is responsible for the warehousing and despatch of the orders to carriers.
The roles of shipper and seller can be either performed by the same entity or sub-contracted to a third-party fulfilment organisation.
A shipper can also refer to the physical location from which "parcels" are collected.
An order can be sent by multiple shippers.
The person who purchases a product (or products) from a seller, chooses the delivery method, and specifies the delivery location.
The shopper might not be the recipient of the delivery.
A tracking event is the normalised event format for any event related to a parcel.
It can be a delivery event, a delivery leg event, or a carrier tracking event.
The parcel journey contains the full tracking history related to the delivery of a parcel, which unifies in a normalised format tracking event all the variety of events that have been published for this parcel, pre-allocation, and post-allocation.
Typically, this is a barcode applied to a parcel or lowest tier trackable unit, which could be a pallet if the pallet contains products for an order.
A barcode is used for "in-network" scanning and processing and for sharing tracking updates to sellers or third parties.
A barcode should be unique to a carrier for a nominated amount of time, but might not be unique across carriers.
A storage place for products. Principal warehouse activities include receipt of products, storage, shipment, and order picking.
For the Metapack Platform, a warehouse is any location used for shipping orders. Example locations include stores, distribution centres, and logistics channels.
A warehouse management system (WMS) sits within fulfilment location operations to streamline and control all warehousing processes and thus create an efficient operation.