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Supply Chain & Logistics Glossary

Supply chain and logistics professionals speak their own language. Here’s your guide to cracking the code.

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What Is Third-Party Logistics (3PLs)?

Third-party logistics (3PLs) refers to companies that provide logistics and supply chain services for clients.  An asset-based 3PL owns all its trucks and sometimes warehouses. They can set pricing more easily and directly handle carrier issues and errors. They may have higher fixed costs, less scalability and cover fewer geographic areas. A non-asset-based 3PL provides management and systems. They use partner networks and multiple carriers. This allows them to closely align with your needs, offer scalability and cover more geographic areas. Services most often include warehousing but can include transportation and distribution.

What Is Traceability?

Traceability is the ability to track and trace the movement of products or materials throughout the supply chain, ensuring transparency and accountability.

What Is a Tractor-Trailer?

A tractor-trailer is a combination of a truck (tractor) and a trailer used to transport goods over long distances.

What Is Trailer-on-Flatcar (TOFC)?

Trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC) is a rail transport method that loads truck trailers onto flatcars for intermodal transportation.


What Is a Transportation Management System (TMS)?

A transportation management system (TMS) is software that optimizes transportation planning, execution, freight spend and monitoring.

What Is a Unit Load?

A unit load is a standardized quantity of goods (e.g., pallets, containers) that can be efficiently handled and transported.

What Is a Value Chain?

A value chain is the sequence of activities that create value for customers, including production, marketing, distribution and customer service.

What Is VMI (Vendor-Managed Inventory)?

Vendor-managed inventory (VMI) is an arrangement where suppliers manage inventory levels at the customer’s location, ensuring timely replenishment.

What Is Voice Picking?

Voice picking is a hands-free order picking method where workers receive instructions via voice commands or headsets.

What Are Walkies?

Walkies are handheld communication devices warehouse personnel use to coordinate and communicate.