In order to coordinate between different people working on the Logistics Module it is important to ensure that we are using the same terminology to refer to the same things.

These definitions have been developed out of the Logistics discussion on June 2, 2009, 1500 UTC - see logs (starts at 06:57) and meeting notes

These are the definitions used in the new Logistics Module, and are not intended to be backwards compatible with the Request/Aid Management, Inventory Management, or Catalogue System.


A specific list of physical objects which are required for disaster management. There may be a number of different catalogs within Sahana, representing the different lists of materials used by different organizations (MSF, Red Cross, etc). Organizations can manage their own catalogs, and it may be possible to include a generic Sahana catalog.

Catalog Item

The description of a single physical object required for disaster management. A Catalog Item may appear in one or many different Catalogs. Each Catalog Items may have a “Category” and a “Sub-Category”, however these may vary for different catalogs which the item appears in. Each Catalog may have their own unique set of Categories and Sub-Categories of categorizing items. When a new Catalog Item is added to the system, it is placed in a “Temporary” Catalog, this way the administrator can validate the item before it adding it to a Specific Catalog. This will allow Catalogs to be created while Sahana is used.


A specific quantity of a Catalog Item in the Logistics Module, which allows the tracking of site, location, designation, price, financial code, movements of the item and other information. (Item should be used in place of the previous terms of “Inventory” or “Commodity”) Note: I would propose changing the term “Item” to “Stock” to specify that this is an item in the Warehouse Management. Thoughts?


A physical location with an address and GIS data.

Site Location

A place within a Site ( Shelf, room, bin number )

Storage Location


Storage Bin Type


Storage Bin


Restocking Information


Warehouse (WH)

A Site where Items are Stored.


A movement of Item(s) from one Site to another. This could include Intake, Transfer, Disposal or Distribution of Items. (Do internal movements of Items between different Site Locations within the same Site require a shipment? I think not.)


The initial shipment of Items from an external Site to an internal Site.


The shipment of Items between two internal Sites.


(This is referred to as Disbursements in the schema, but I think that this should be changed to align better with the terminology used in the domain) When items are handed over to an external site, person or organization. This may include a shipment from a warehouse, or it may be done directly at a warehouse. After Distribution the Item is no longer managed by Sahana.








When Items are sold, destroyed or dumped because they are damaged, expired or not required. This may include a shipment from a warehouse.


When Items are physically missing. Losses may occur during shipment, or during storage in a warehouse.


When Items become no longer suitable for their required purpose. Damaged may occur during shipment, or during storage in a warehouse.

Warehouse Management

Managing the Intake, Storage, Transfer, adjustments, Kitting, De-kitting, Disposal, Damages, Losses and Distribution of Items. (Warehouse Management should be used in place of the previous term “Inventory Management”)

Shipment Tracking

Tracking the Intake, Transfers and final Distribution/Loss/Disposal of an Item. (Is this a part of Warehouse Management? All of the information would come from the warehouse management module correct? This would just be about creating specific reports based on this information?) (Shipment Tracking should be used in place of the previous term “Commodity Tracking”)

Procurement (Proc)

Managing Purchase Requests, Quotes, Bids, Purchase Orders, Delivery ( linked from WH Management ) and Payment.


Physical property of an organization which is utilized for Disaster Management and not intended for Distribution. This includes: Equipment, furniture ( sometimes ), computers and vehicles. I think that every asset should appear in the Item Catalog, so we have a standard list for managing physical objects – regardless of their use. Thoughts?

Asset Management

Assigning, checking, storing, maintaining Assets - and recording all the relevant information.

Supply Chain

There was some discussion as to how Supply Chain fits into Logistics. Mark Prutsalis states: “I think of the logistics part ( commodity tracking ) as the tactical part - managing and moving goods around the operation - while supply chain looks at the strategic - bringing good/items into the theatre of operations from the outside.” However “for orgs that do a lot of local procurement, that line gets very muddled”. From a database perspective this distinction is less important, as it makes less difference to a database where the Items are coming from. Supply Chain may include Procurement and Warehouse Management from the Logistics Module, but it may also integrate finances, donor management, beneficiary tracking and monitoring and evaluation functions.

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