The shipping industry is full of its own unique terms and acronyms which can sometimes be confusing to those who aren't full-time members of that industry. Add on top of that the unique terms we use in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry and even EasyPost's own unique terms and culture and it can be enough to make your head scratch. To assist you, we've created this glossary of commonly used terms and acronyms.
API: Application Programming Interface. An interface that facilitates the transfer of information between applications (as opposed to a UI - User Interface).
APV: Automatic payment verification. A USPS system designed to chargeback or credit PC Postage Providers (such as EasyPost) for situations when postage is either under or overpaid.
AWB: Airway Bill (often synonymous with “tracking number”)
AVS: Address Verification Service - EasyPost provides an AVS to help users make sure their packages get to the correct destination.
BPM: Bound Printed Matter. USPS Term - "Consists of permanently bound sheets of which at least 90% are printed with advertising, promotional, directory, or editorial matter (or a combination of such matter)."
Carrier: A term we use for the kind folks who get your mail from point A to point B. Typically "carrier" references the shipping company itself. (USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.)
CDL Last Mile Solutions: A US regional carrier serving the states of NY, NJ, CT, PA, DE, DC, MD, and VA.
cURL: Client URL - a computer software project providing a library (libcurl) and a command-line tool (curl) for transferring data using various network protocols. macOS supports cURL in its "terminal" command-line tool without any extra set up or configuration needed.
DAP: Digital Access Program (UPS program)
DAP: Deliver at Place (see also Incoterm)
DDP: Delivered Duty Paid - an Incoterm (see also Incoterm)
DDU: Delivered Duty Unpaid - an Incoterm (deprecated and replaced by DAP. see also Incoterm)
DDU: Destination Distribution Unit - USPS distribution center for last-mile distribution. 33k such facilities across the US (a fancy acronym for Post Office).
DMM: Domestic Mail Manual, aka the mailing standards of the United States Postal Service.
DNDC: Destination Network Distribution Center - USPS facility that covers the broadest range of USPS DC’s, 21 such facilities in the US
DPO: Data Protection Officer - an appointment that’s part of EU GDPR compliance.
DSCF: Destination Sectional Carrier Facility - USPS service station for a range of DDU’s or a “section”, 350 such facilities in the US
DSM: Driver Summary Manifest. A document that a shipper must supply to a DHL driver upon pickup.
EasyPost: The best shipping API in town! (see also API)
Endpoint: For APIs, an endpoint can include a URL of a server or service. Each endpoint is the location from which an application can access the resources it needs to carry out its function.
ePacket: A cheap commercial international service.
ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning
FCPIS: First-Class Package International Service for USPS
FedEx: A Global carrier founded in the United States in 1973 with whom EasyPost is integrated.
GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation - EU data privacy regulations which came into effect May 2018
Help: The kind of thing you can get by emailing email@example.com.
Incoterm: International Commercial Terms
IPA: International Priority Airmail for USPS
ISAL: International Surface Air Lift for USPS
IMS: Inventory Management System
Java: A programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. EasyPost helps to maintain an open-source Java client library to help developers get started with EasyPost fast.
Kilograms: Unit of mass (equivalent to approximately 2.205 lb), first introduced as a unit of mass for the metric system.
LBT: in a Royal Mail context, this means “LetterBox”.
Manifest: As a noun, a manifest is a document, typically an XML, that contains a list of references and barcodes to labels that we have generated, that we intend to use, and thus get charged for by the carriers. The total number of labels that get manifested is a subset of the total number of labels that are generated. As a verb, “to manifest” means to generate this document.
NSA: Negotiated Service Agreement - Typically this references a special service agreement between the USPS and a large volume shipper, but could also apply to agreements with other entities.
OBA: Online Business Account - a Royal Mail term for their business user accounts.
OMS: Order Management System - Software that helps users manage online customer orders.
Order(s): In the EasyPost API context orders refers to Multi-parcel Shipment (MPS) orders which is a service offered by some carriers such as DHL Express, UPS, and FedEx. MPS orders are basically shipments to the same destination, containing multiple parcels. These carriers can track and invoice these shipments as grouped MPS orders and EasyPost hooks into this functionality for these carriers.
ORM-D: Other Regulated Materials for Domestic Transport Only (aka hazardous materials).
Parcel: Synonymous with "package". A box, packet, or other contraption that wraps your items to protect them in transit through the carrier network.
PDF: a file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted.
PMI: Priority Mail International (also for USPS)
PNG: Portable Network Graphics is a raster-graphics file format that supports lossless data compression. PNG was developed as an improved, non-patented replacement for Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).
Poster: Royal Mail or English term for “sender of parcels”
Pre advice: For Royal Mail. Often used in relation to manifests. The process for generating and submitting Preadvice Files. See Preadvice Files. (Note: For USPS we have to tell them three times about a label generation via two different methods because their internal depts don't share data.)
Pre advice Files: For Royal Mail. Often used in relation to manifests. Files we submit to tell Royal Mail that we’ve created labels. When we manifest, we call the OBA service with data about the shipments that were manifested, so that RM can bill the customer.
QR Code: (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode). It is sometimes used on carrier shipping labels.
Quantity: The amount or number of a material or immaterial thing not usually estimated by spatial measurement. When shipping internationally you will need to declare the quantity of a given item.
Royal Mail: United Kingdom-based carrier offering UK domestic and international services.
Seko Logistics: A USPS consolidation career and e-commerce logistics provider.
Shipment: Typically a shipment is a parcel or crate being transferred to a new destination. Shipment within the EasyPost world can also refer to the "shipment object" within the EasyPost API. The shipment object contains all of the information EasyPost needs for a given shipment (parcel) such as destination, origin, parcel size/weight, etc.
Tea: A drink with jam and bread
Tracking: The service provided by carriers and EasyPost to update customers and shippers on the status of their shipment (parcel) as it moves through the carrier network to its destination.
UPS: United Postal Service. The guys in brown trucks dropping off boxes in your neighborhood.
USPS: United States Postal Service. The only mail carrier service guaranteed by the constitution of the United States. They put stuff in your mailbox.
Veho: A US Regional Carrier integrated with EasyPost!
WMS: Warehouse Management System. Multiple WMS providers have partnered with EasyPost to help deliver shipping solutions to their end-users.
XML: eXtensible Markup Language. XML is a markup language much like HTML. XML was designed to store and transport data and is still used by many of the carriers that EasyPost interfaces with.
Yaml: YAML is a human-readable data serialization standard that can be used in conjunction with all programming languages and is often used to write configuration files.
ZPL: Zebra Programming Language - a programming language authored by scoundrels to give thermal printers instructions on how to render and print a label.