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March 22, 2021
12 minutes

Logistical vocabulary and terms

Checking out logistical vocabulary and terms

Logistics is a pretty complex field of work. The specific vocabulary used doesn’t make things easier. Since we like to make things easy for you, we created a list of terms that we see flying around often. And, of course, we complemented these terms with an explanation. So if you’re ever in doubt, find your term in the list below and see what it means!

3PL / 4PL
3PL and 4PL is the outsourcing of all or much of a company’s logistics operations to a specialized company; a firm that provides multiple logistics services for use by customers. Among the services they provide are transportation, warehousing, cross docking, inventory management, packaging, and freight forwarding.

Additional references
Additional references is a field you can fill out when booking a shipment. Here you can put your own internal references to a shipment, like the order number or customer number.

ADR is an abbreviation for “Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises dangereuses par route”, which translates as “The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road.” The international term ADR is so widely used in the transport industry that almost anyone in the industry understands what is meant, regardless of their country of origin.

Airway bill
An airway bill is a bill of cargo for air transport. It serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicates that the carrier has accepted the goods listed and it obligates the carrier to carry the shipment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a computing interface that defines interactions between multiple software intermediaries.

Automated status updates
Automated status updates are updates, or notifications, of the order status for internal use and external use, for your customers. It informs people on the current status of the order: order received, pick & pack, ready for shipment, picked up by carrier, etc.

Booking profile
A booking profile consists of a carrier, service level and potentially an additional service (service level other). Cost centers, mail types and incoterms can also be configured in a booking profile. When booking shipments manually, booking types are a very efficient way of working since it easily and quickly fills out the generic fields.

A firm that transports goods or people via land, sea, or air.

CMR document
The CMR document or CMR note is the standard contract of carriage for goods being transported internationally by road. CMR stands for “Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchandises par route”.

Colli designates the smallest packaging units of a consignment of goods. An individual packaging unit is a collo.

A conversion occurs when a visitor to your website completes a desired goal, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.

Cost center
A cost center is a department within a business to which costs can be allocated.

Country of destination
Country of destination is the country you are sending your goods to; the receiver country.

Country of origin
Country of origin is the country you are sending your goods from.

Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to information systems that help sales and marketing functions as opposed to the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), which is for back-end integration.

Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is defined as a measurement that determines how happy customers are with a company’s products, services, and capabilities.

Customs / customs clearance
Customs, or customs clearance, is the act of obtaining the authorities’ permission to import goods from another country into the importing nation.

Dangerous goods
Dangerous Goods are articles or substances capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety, or property. They ordinarily require special attention when transported. Also known as hazardous goods.

Delivery management
Delivery management is the function of applying processes to ensure goods are effectively and efficiently transferred from one location to the next.

Delivery management software
Delivery management software (DMS) connects your carriers with the staff in your back office.

Delivery note
A delivery note is a document that accompanies a shipment of goods, and provides a list of the products and quantity of the items included in the delivery.

Delivery options
Delivery options are the various carriers and shipping services you and/or your customers can choose from for the delivery of goods.

Dispatch is a procedure of couriers, for example, for assigning employees or vehicles to customers.

Distribution center
A distribution center, usually referred to as ‘DC’, is the warehouse facility which holds inventory pending distribution to the appropriate stores.

E-commerce platform
An e-commerce platform is software that enables the commercial process of buying and selling over the internet.

EORI number
EORI stands for Economic Operators Registration and Identification number. It is a European Union registration and identification number for businesses which undertake the import or export of goods into or out of the EU.

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. An ERP-system is software for planning and managing enterprise-wide the resources needed to take customer orders, ship them, account for them, and replenish all needed goods according to customer orders and forecasts. It often includes e-commerce. Examples of ERP systems are SAP, Oracle, Exact, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and others.

Freight is the act of goods being transported from one place to another.

Freight forwarder
A freight forwarder is an organization which provides logistics services as an intermediary between the shipper and the carrier, usually on international shipments.

Fulfillment is the act of fulfilling a customer order. It includes order management, picking, packaging, and shipping.

GUI is short for Graphical User Interface. It is a type of user interface through which users interact with electronic devices via visual indicator representations.

Inbound logistics
Inbound logistics is the management of materials you receive (buy) from suppliers and vendors and that you take into the production processes or storage facilities.

Incoterms, short for International Commercial Terms, are the international agreements developed by the International Chamber of Commerce to define sellers’ and buyers’ responsibilities. It is a set of 11 internationally recognized rules which specify who is responsible for paying for and managing the shipment, insurance, documentation, customs clearance, and other logistical activities.

Last mile
Last mile is a term used in supply chain management and transportation management to describe the last part of a journey, comprising the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to a final destination.

Location selection
Location selection is the act of your customer choosing the desired location where their parcel(s) will be dropped off.

Logistics everything within, and around, the process of planning, implementing, and controlling procedures for storage of goods and services, inbound flows and outbound flows, all leading to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.

Logistics management
Logistics management is the part of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow of goods, services, and related information. Logistics management activities include inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply/demand planning and management of third party logistics services providers.

LTL shipment
LTL stand for ‘less than truckload’. Trucking companies handling LTL shipments consolidate and transport smaller (less than truckload) shipments of freight.

A manifest is the document that lists the pieces in a shipment. A manifest usually covers an entire load regardless of whether the load is to be delivered to a single destination or many destinations. Manifests usually list the items, piece count, total weight, and the destination name and address for each destination in the load.

Multi-carrier is the abbreviation of multiple carriers. Our delivery management software is multi-carrier: we can connect you to many different carriers so you can easily ship your goods with all of them.

Optimization is the process of making something as good or as effective as possible with resources and constraints.

Order fulfilment
Order fulfilment includes order processing, inventory allocation, ordering from internal or external suppliers, shipment scheduling, order status reporting, and shipment initiation.

Outbound logistics
Outbound logistics is the process related to the movement and storage of products from the end of the production line to the end user.

Packing list
A packing list is a document that contains information about the location of each product ID in each package. This allows the recipient to easily find the item without searching inside all packages. Plus it confirms the actual shipment of goods on a line item basis.

A pallet is usually made of wood, carton or composit materials. It is the platform on which boxes or products are stacked and then used for shipment or movement as a group.

A parcel is a package or box that weights 45 kg. max and that can be moved without any assistance. Most parcels for consumers however weight way less.

Parcel tracking
Tracking, or following, a parcel from pick up at the seller (warehouse) to delivery at the receiver or another location the receiver chose.

Personalization in this case means the action of designing something, for example a track & trace page, to meet a company’s or an individual’s requirements.

Pick up / Drop off (PUDO)
PUDO, also known as pick-up and drop-off, refers to any kind of designated area for consumers to receive ecommerce parcels and leave / drop off return parcels. Usually, PUDO points are either staffed counters opened in existing businesses, or unstaffed lockers which can be located anywhere.

Pick up date
The pick up date is the time at which a freight forwarder picks up the required parcels or pallets from the vendor.

Pick up location
A pick up location is the prearranged place where your customer goes to collect the webshop order.

Pick & pack
This is the picking and packing of goods into shipment containers (boxes).

POD stands for Proof of Delivery. This is information your carrier supplies, containing for example the name of the person who signed for the shipment, the time and date of delivery and other shipment delivery-related information.

Returns are goods that your customer sends back to you because of problems or because the customer does not like it. For many companies, the returns process is quite complex.

Reviews are your customer’s critical appraisals of the products, services you offer or of your company as a whole.

Routing rules
Routing Rules are a set of rules and requirements for shipping products from the supplier to other businesses and/or customers. It entails everything from specific carriers that need to be used, to rates and service requirements.

Service Level
A service level defines the delivery conditions for a carrier. For example: you ship your parcel with carrier A and service level ‘same day’. Meaning the parcel needs to be delivered at the customer ‘today’.

Service Level Other
Service Level Other is an additional service for your shipment. For example: you ship with carrier A, and service level ‘standard delivery’. As a Service Level Other, you could add ‘Saturday’. Meaning it’s a standard delivery, but on Saturday instead of a normal weekday.

A shipper is a party that has goods that need to be transported to other businesses or to consumers. The company behind a webshop for example, is a shipper.

Shipping label
Shipping labels identify and help describe what’s inside a parcel. Shipping labels differ depending on the carrier you use, but they all consist of sender and receiver addresses, names, weight, and a tracking barcode.

Supply chain
In logistics, a supply chain is the various interchanges of material and information in the logistical process. From the acquisition of raw materials to the delivery of finished products to the end user. All parties involved (vendors, service providers, customers) are links in the supply chain.

The term tariffs is used in transportation in reference to the fees (and rules) a carrier applies for its services.

TL carrier
TL stands for truck load. A TL carrier is a trucking company that moves full truckloads of freight directly from A to B.

Track & trace
With the Track & Trace functionality, you monitor and record a shipment’s movements from origin to destination.

Transit time
The transit time is the total time that passes between a shipment’s pickup and delivery.

Transport management
The management of all types of transportation operations, including tracking and managing vehicle maintenance, fuel costing, routing, mapping, warehousing, communications, EDI implementations, cargo handling, carrier selection, and more.

Transport software (TMS)
Transport software, or Transport Management Software (TMS), is a computer system that is designed to provide optimized transportation management. Including activities such as managing shipping units, labor planning, shipment scheduling through inbound, outbound, inter-company shipments, documentation management (international shipments), and third party logistics.

Warehouse Management System
Warehouse Management System, also known as WMS. These systems are used to effectively manage warehouse business processes. Including receiving, picking, shipping, inventory counts and much more.

A web service is any piece of software that makes itself available online and uses a standardized XML messaging system. The XML is then used to encode all communications to a web service.

A webshop is a website, with the additional functionality that allows visitors to purchase goods, services, or software.

Webshop checkout
The webshop checkout is a process that encompasses all the specific steps a consumer has to take to complete an ecommerce purchase. It is the ‘grand finale’ for an online shop, since this is where the final choices are made about the product, add-ons, shipping and delivery options, and payment.

WMS stands for Warehouse Management System/Software. It is a software application which is designed to support and optimize your warehouse functionality, efficiency and distribution center management.

XML is a computer term, which stands for Extensible Markup Language. It’s a digital language that facilitates data communication among computers on the internet. The XML tags are additional instructions that help the browser or application to define specifics about the category of information.

Did we miss some terms concerning logistics, fulfillment, e-commerce, delivery management transport or shipping?

Please let us know so we can update the list. That way you contribute to making everyone a logistics expert!

Author: Sarah Pilasky

  • delivery management
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  • e-commerce
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  • fulfillment
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  • logistics
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  • terms