Glossary of Logistics Terms: All you need to know!
LogiNext is a global technology and automation company providing a SaaS platform to enterprises to digitize and optimize their logistics operations and provide a delightful end customer experience. With 200+ enterprise clients in 50+ countries, the global tech firm has made a mark in the field of modern logistic technology and in this post, we come up with the definitive glossary for the several terms used in Logistics Technology parlance:
Airway Bill: An Airway Bill (AWB Label) is a document (physical or digital) that holds details about the parcels, packets, letters, or goods in general. It is a critical piece of document which travels with the goods throughout its origin to destination and is used by shippers, carriers and end customer to track and have a visibility on the logistics movement. The Airway Bill would have the details of the shipper and recipient, shipment contents, terms & conditions of the trade, and other such crucial information. (read more)
Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): Usually known by the acronym ARR, Annual Recurring Revenue is the amount of recurring revenue a company generates in a year. ARR is used in the parlance of SaaS (software as a service) companies and is an indicator of the success of a company- the higher the ARR, the better a company is doing in terms of revenues and retaining/getting new customers. [LogiNext CEO on building the Google for Logistics]
API (Application Programming Interface): An API is a software interface which connects two computers or two computer software. APIs are built as a part of the software to make it more friendly so that it can talk to other softwares. For instance, in the logistics technology scenario, a cloud software like LogiNext Mile which is used for transportation automation has several APIs which can be called for by other legacy or new age software to make them work together. If an organization is using a old technology and wants to upgrade, it is APIs that come to the rescue by eliminating the need to completely replace an old system but rather build on top of the existing systems.
API Integration: The process by which two systems talk to each other and data flows through them easily using Application Programming Interfaces is API Integration.
Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS): ASRS systems are automation technology for better utilizing floor space in warehouses or any place which stores a large volume of products, documents, or goods. ASRS comprises several computer-controlled systems that automatically place and retrieve loads. This results in huge operational efficiency gains and hence, organizations across the globe are implementing advanced versions of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems.
Automatic Order Allocation: A logistics technology term, automatic order allocation is the new age way of allocating orders to delivery associates and delivery partners for delivery via dynamic route plans. Typically, order allocation used to happen via manual processes but now transportation automation platforms like LogiNext Mile are used for auto allocation of orders.
Automated Delivery Allocation: A logistics technology term, automated delivery allocation is the new age way of assigning orders to delivery associates and delivery partners for delivery via dynamic route plans. Typically, order allocation used to happen via manual processes but now transportation automation platforms like LogiNext Mile are used for automated delivery allocation.
Autonomous Trucks: Also known as self-driving trucks, Autonomous trucks are vehicles that don’t require a driver to run. High resolution and long-range sensors along with highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence technology have enabled pilots of such trucks to completely automate the long-haul movements from pickups to delivery.
Autonomous Vehicles: Also known as self-driving vehicles, Autonomous vehicles don’t require a driver to run them. High resolution and long-range sensors along with highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence technology have enabled pilots of such vehicles and the day is not very far when these vehicles would be available commercially.
Bar Code: A barcode is a visual representation of data that can be read by a machine. In the world of logistics, barcodes are used to keep a track of shipments and goods in a digital format.
Bill of Lading: The BOL (Bill of Lading) document serves as a receipt of freight services, it is a contract between the freight carriers and shippers. The term originated first in a context where the mode of transport is the sea but it is now used for every mode of transport.
Capacity Optimization: Capacity Optimization is the process of using computational power to analyze data and optimize the total available capacity in the best possible way to have better operational performance. When it comes to logistics management, capacity optimization is critical for shippers because it helps to better manage resources.
CFR (Code of Federal Regulations): The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
Cloud Software: The cloud in computing parlance is used to describe data centers available to multiple users over the internet. And cloud software is any software that is hosted on such data centers. For instance, GoogleDrive- users are storing their data on data centers in the cloud and not on physical hard drives. Many logistics software like LogiNext Mile are cloud SaaS software used by enterprises to automate their logistics operations.
Contract Warehouse: A 3rd party storage facility that offers specialized services that can be hired by companies to fulfill their warehousing needs is called a contract warehouse. These specialized warehouses are often equipped with warehouse management technology which may take time to implement in a private warehouse.
Cost and Freight (CFR): A legal term used in international trade, a CFR is used to specify the terms and conditions under which a seller will deliver goods via sea. Cost and freight is a commonly used International Commercial Term, a set of globally recognized terms that help to create a standard for foreign trade contracts and are published and regularly updated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Custom Alerts and Notifications: This is a customer experience feature that is a part of a transportation automation platform like LogiNext Mile which helps enterprises deliver a great end customer experience. For instance, alerts regarding a change in ETA or proactive feedback collection to ensure customer satisfaction and other such minor details which go a long way in ensuring a great customer experience.
Delivery Logistics Platform: A one-stop software platform through which operation managers can plan trips, have visibility over operations, and track deliveries to give end-customers accurate ETAs is a delivery logistics platform.
Delivery Management Software: Cloud based SaaS technology used by enterprises in the business of moving goods and parcels in an efficient manner is called Delivery Management Software. Previously, companies like Oracle and SAP provided this software which is also known as a transportation management system and in the last few years, new age software like LogiNext Mile have taken over which are known as transport management systems 2.0.
Delivery Order Allocation: In the last mile automation parlance, delivery order allocation is the process by which software makes the most optimized trip plans for delivery associates. The trip route is optimized for weather, traffic, delivery type, and other variables.
Delivery Tracking System: A cloud based SaaS platform used by enterprises to keep a track of deliveries made by drivers to an end customer or by drivers in a B2B scenario is called a delivery tracking system. Systems like LogiNext Mile are used by enterprises to reduce costs, increase operational experience and provide a delightful end customer experience.
Dispatch Routing Software: Usually a cloud-based solution, a Dispatch Routing Software is used by courier companies, nations posts, eCommerce firms, and such to have complete visibility and tracking capabilities over their deliveries and have an efficient delivery management system in general.
Demand Forecasting: A field within predictive analytics, Demand Forecasting tries to understand consumer behavior along with external factors and comes up with a direction that would be helpful to corporate supply chain and business managers.
Delivered at Place: In the modern package delivery workflow, ‘Delivered at Place’ is a term used to verify that the item has been received by the end customer. Most of the current systems use ePOD (electronic proof of delivery) as a verification method.
Delivered at Terminal: This is a checkpoint in the delivery workflow where the seller marks an item as delivered after handing over the goods to the end customer. The buyer (which can be an individual or a business)
Delivery Route Planning: Modern businesses into delivery management use algorithms and cloud software to calculate the most efficient route for deliveries and this process is called Delivery Route Plannning. This was earlier done manually and tools like Google Maps are used wherein the number of stops are limited and for enterprises where the number of stops can run into tens and hundreds, delivery route planning software like LogiNext Mile are used.
Demand Planning: A management process within an organization, demand planning is crucial to have complete visibility and control over resource allocation. If planned properly, this one metric has an impact on the entire supply chain optimization and can result in major gains for an organization.
ePOD: Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) is an electronic verification system, a critical part of any delivery tracking system that allows the business to know the real-time status of the product and helps the company and end-customer to know whether the products are delivered or not marked for return at the end of the day. [Read the detailed post]
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): An electronic format via which businesses can exchange information with each other without the use of paper is called electronic data interchange.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning): Traditionally an on premise software, ERP systems help organize digitize and co-ordinate their operations and several areas like accounting, procurement, resource management, supply chain, and such. In a modern day organization, cloud software like the Google Suite are replacing ERPs.
Electronic surveillance: Using electronic means like CCTV cameras, GPS, digital video equipment, and such to track business activities, home or individuals is known as electronic surveillance.
Fleet Management Software: Cloud based SaaS platforms like LogiNext Mile used by enterprises to gain visibility and tracking over their entire fleet of drivers or delivery partners (inhouse or 3rd party) is called Fleet Management Software. Modern fleet management software are also called transportation automation platforms and they provide detailed analytics regarding fleet performance and ways in which operational efficiency can be increased.
FTL (Full Truck Load): The full form of FTL is Full Truck Load which is referred to in logistics parlance when a truck carrying goods is full with enough products (bulk or liquid). The opposite of FTL is LTL which stands for less than truckload.
Force Majeure: This is a french term that means “greater force” and in business parlance, is used to describe events that are beyond the control of humans. In cases of natural calamities or in very recent history, events like the covid 19 pandemic evoke a Force Majeure response from businesses where all terms of contracts go invalid and new rules are written.
Fourth Party Logistics (4PL): A fourth party logistics provides is basically an added layer to 3PL and goes beyond logistics to look at the supply chain as a whole by managing resources, technology infrastructure, and even more 3PLs.
Free Trade Zone: A part of the special economic zone, Free Trade Zones are areas within which goods and products may be landed, handled, stored, manufactured, configured, and re-exported without custom authority intervention. FTZ’s are referred to as “foreign-trade zones” in the United States (Foreign Trade Zones Act of 1934).
GPRS: The full form of GPRS is General Packet Radio Service. It is a mobile data standard and the 2G and 3G cellular communication network’s global system for mobile communication (GSM). It provides continuous data and voice connectivity while on the move.
Goods Received Note (GNR): An important document, GNR is a note of receipt of goods which is signed by the recipient once the goods transported by a supplier reaches the intended destination. It is a two-way document that signifies the receipt of goods.
Honeycombing: Honeycombing is an ingenious process of storing pallets or goods within a warehouse where the storing method is optimized for handling efficiency and storage efficiency. Typically, a picking operation must be designed in a way that items are not taken out too many times, and have only one item in one line would mean wastage of space. Honeycombing is basically a method of storage that accounts for both of these and gives the best possible solution.
Hub: A hub is a junction which in logistics tech parlance is used to denote an important point where a package is generated from, arrives at, or is a point from where it is passed on further.
HAZMAT: A substance or material the Secretary of Transportation determines to be an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce is called HAZMAT and hence there are restrictions on their transport.
Invoice: It is a commercial document between a buyer and seller with a timestamp that itemizes and records a commercial transaction.
Inventory Management: For any organization handling goods, be it a retail firm or an eCommerce company, inventory management is the methodology to procure, store and ship inventory in an efficient manner.
Just In Time Delivery (JIT) System: First developed in the 1970s by Toyota, JIT is a Japanese manufacturing workflow whose goal is zero inventory across the organization and its supply chain. It organization processes in such a way that just the right number/amount of goods reaches a point/hub as is needed at that point.
Last Mile Delivery Optimization: For eCommerce firms and QSR chains, last mile delivery is of critical importance to provide a good customer experience. Home delivery companies use last mile delivery optimization to make efficient use of resources to deliver on time, reduce overall cost and increase operational excellence.
Last Mile Tracking: A module within a transportation automation platform which is used for tracking deliveries sent to the end customer is called Last Mile Tracking. For instance, a McDonald’s using LogiNext Mile to keep a track on the orders out for delivery and sending relevant notifications to the end customer is called last mile tracking.
LTL (Less than truck load): LTL refers to the state of capacity of a truck where it is not fully loaded. Opposite of LTL is FTL which means Full Truck Load wherein the truck is completely or amost completely full with products and goods. [LogiNext CTO on Apple Podcast]
Lead time: The amount of time elapsed between the start of a process to its conclusion is called lead time. For instance, the amount of time from which an order is received by a QSR chain from a customer to the time that a delivery associate delivers the food would be called the lead time for that particular order.
Logistics Management: The process of managing and strategizing several business processes like procurement, storage, movement and optimizing resources via technology is known as logistics management. Softwares such as LogiNext Mile help with the all mile logistics management for enterprises.
Logistics Software: Computer software used by enterprises and SMBs to streamline their logistics operations is called logistics software. Typically, this used to be bulky and expensive on-premise software from the likes of Oracle and SAP but over the years, this has moved to the cloud with plug & play SaaS platforms like LogiNext Mile.
Mode of Payment: There are several ways in which an individual or business can make a payment such as COD (cash or delivery), credit/debit card, bank transfers, eWallet, etc. for a product or service which is termed as ‘mode of payment’.
NPS (Net Promoter Score): Widely used in the market research area, NPS is a metric that takes the form of a single survey question asking users the likelihood of their recommending the product or service to a friend or colleague.
Ondemand Delivery: Post the technology revolution, consumers expect deliveries to reach them at the doorstep at a desired time and brands across retail, eCommerce, Courier and QSR chains providing such a service is called Ondemand Delivery.
Order Lifecycle Management: The processes and systems put in place to ensure one order gets delivered successfully from the time an order is placed to when it is put together to when it is delivered to the end customer is called order lifecycle management. For e.g. Softwares like LogiNext Mile give the complete digital visibility and tracking of an order lifecycle.
Order Management: The process and strategy employed by a business to efficiently handle orders from end customers or other businesses is called Order Management. Typically made efficient by the use of technology, software like LogiNext Mile are helping delivery companies in optimizing and automating order management.
Order Picker: A machine or a person that picks up orders from the warehouse or storage to be readied for delivery is known as an order picker. In the modern age, robotics has taken leaps in the area where most of the order picking is becoming automated and being handled by logistics management software.
PTL (Part Truck Load): Partial or Part Truck Load means that the truck is occupied only partly with the shipper’s consignment and has room for other consignments to make the truck completely full.
Quality Check Automation (QC automation): The process of digitally tracking the adherence to quality standards of a manufacturing process is called Quality Check Automation. Be it a burger or a car, the manufacturing process at scale has several elements and enterprises deploy QC automation at various steps via cameras, software like LogiNext, and other digital means.
Route Optimization: The process of using computer algorithms to take in variables like weather and traffic conditions to derive an optimal route plan in which (parcel) deliveries should be made is called Route Optimization. SaaS software like LogiNext Mile are front runners when it comes to offering route optimization software to enterprises. At an individuals level, Google Maps also does the same. [Read Detailed Post]
Route Planning: The methodology used to factor in several variables like resource utilization, order density, driver skillset and arrive at an optimal route is called route planning. Softwares like LogiNext Mile do this algorithmically to make life easier for an operations manager.
Real time GPS: Global positioning system (GPS) gives the location of an object (person or vehicle) using cellular wireless or satellite communication. Real Time GPS tracking systems are useful for enterprises in the last mile delivery and B2B fulfillment space where visibility over the supply chain improves operational excellence.
Request for Information (RFI): RFI is really a preliminary document used by companies that don’t understand the
marketplace they’re about to enter. In the case of a company
searching for a TMS, for instance, it would use an RFI if it
had no prior experience with TMS and wanted to gain an
understanding of the range of options in the TMS space.
RFI will state the broad business challenges you’re having,
and then the vendor can tailor its response within the context of those challenges.
Request for Proposal (RFP): RFP is a document that a
company searching for enterprise-level services can use to
get an overview of offerings and costs from several vendors
at once. If a vendor participates in an RFP, it answers a series
of questions about the products, services, methodology, and
costs that will go into fulfilling the company’s needs.
Request for Quotation (RFQ): RFQ is an even more detailed
a document that drills down to the exact specifications required
by the company. In a situation where an RFQ is used for a B2B
the software project, the company knows enough about its current
system and exactly how it wants to change or improve it in the future.
SaaS: Software as a Service is a method of delivering software wherein the technology is hosted on cloud servers and users by licenses to use the software on a recurring basis. For instance, NetFlix. It is a SaaS offering for which the videos are hosted on the cloud and users pay a monthly fee to access these videos.
SLA (Service Level Agreement): A documented commitment between a service provider and a client with all the terms and conditions along with expectations is called a service level agreement (SLA).
Shipping Tracking Software: Cloud based SaaS technology used to have visibility and track shipments while being delivered efficiently to the end customer is called shipping tracking software. e.g. LogiNext Mile.
Transportation Management System: A visibility and tracking platform with modern technology to give an overview of the entire supply chain along with automation opportunities integrated is a transportation management system. Softwares like LogiNext MIle are examples of TMS 2.0.
Transportation Automation Platform: An end to end all mile losigtics platform that helps an organization to have complete visibility and tracking capabilities over its supply chain from procurement to packaging of goods to deliveries and handling customer experience is a Transportation Automation Platform. [What is LogiNext Mile?]
Trip Planning: The accounting of various factors like capacity, resource availability, weather conditions, SLA (service level agreements) and such to develop an efficient plan for deliveries is called Trip Planning.
Third Party Logistics (3PL or TPL): In Logistics Management parlance, third party logistics are businesses to whom organizations outsource elements of their warehousing, deliveries, distribution and such services.
Visibility Platform: A logistics management software that gives complete sight of the supply chain to an organization with actionable insights is a visibility platform. LogiNext Mile is an all mile transportation platform a part of which can be used as a visibility platform.
VRS (Vehicle Routing and Scheduling): VRS is used by enterprises in the CEP (Courier, Express and Parcel) and eCommerce/Retail space to optimize and automate their first mile and last mile deliveries. Vehicle Routing and Scheduling is usually achieved by using AI and ML powered SaaS platforms like LogiNext Mile.
Warehouse Management: The process of planning and organizing a warehouse for optimal utilization is called warehouse management. Warehouse Management Systems are cloud based software that helps organizations manage logistics efficiently.
Warehouse Automation: The process of having machines perform repetitive tasks by bringing in digitization and robotics to make logistics more efficient is called warehouse automation.
Webhook: In simple language, webhook is a way in which one web application can speak with another in an automated fashion. In the logistics parlance, if a company wants to use a modern technology platform like LogiNext Mile on top of an existing older system without removing it, webhook can be used.
We will keep updating the post to keep it fresh and absolutely relevant!