A Logistics and Supply Chain Management Glossary
The world of logistics and supply chain management has a jargon all its own. From the endless abbreviations to technical industry terms, the logistics and supply chain industry can easily fill a lexicon. Supply chain management professionals need to “talk the talk” when they speak with supply chain partners and other logistics providers. From the raw material to finished goods at the end customer’s doorstep, the entire supply chain is riddled with key terms and expressions that must be understood. Here are some definitions of many of the specialized terms that commonly need explaining.
3PL is a commonly used abbreviation for third party logistics, the type of company that provides outsourced logistics services such as shipping, warehousing, delivery, and more.
3PL software is a type of specialized professional software for 3PLs, or third party logistics businesses. 3PL software typically includes features for the management of logistics operations, accounting, tracking, connectivity, customer service, compliance, and more.
ABI is a common abbreviation for Automated Broker Interface, an opt-in U.S. Customs program available to importers and brokers as a way to reduce the potential for import data errors. According to the CBP, 96 percent of all import entries are filed using the ABI.
ABI software is a type of specialized professional software that automates and streamlines the exchange of data between customs brokers, carriers, freight forwarders, and other importers and U.S. Customs.
The Automated Commercial Environment system is used by the CBP to both streamline import operations and ensure compliance with key rules and regulations.
An air manifest lists the cargo, passengers, and crew of any aircraft arriving in the United States and is required for customs compliance.
AMS is an abbreviation for Automated Manifest System, an electronic information exchange system operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
API is an abbreviation for application programming interface, a computing interface that enables interactions and electronic exchange of data between various types of software.
The automated broker interface is a U.S. Customs program that digitizes and automates the exchange of customs-related information among customs brokers, carriers, freight forwarders, and other importers.
An air waybill includes detailed information about goods being transported by air that allows the shipment to be easily analyzed and tracked. Multiple copies of an AWB are required to ensure that all parties involved have access to shipping data.
A bill of lading is issued by carriers to acknowledge the receipt of goods for shipment. In the United States, BOLs are used for all types of import transportation — ground, sea or air.
The bill of materials contains detailed information about the materials and components present in any shipment of goods, along with their quantities.
A carrier is a company that provides transportation services, such as a trucking company, rail carrier, airline, steamship line, courier, or parcel delivery company.
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is responsible for overseeing and enforcing customs compliance requirements. Other agencies — such as the DEA or FDA — can order the CBP to export or destroy imported goods that don’t meet regulatory requirements.
A container freight station is used to load or unload containerized cargo — first at the point of departure and again at the point of arrival — to verify shipment contents. CFS fees typically apply for each step of this process, and vary by country.
Cloud logistics software is specialized software for logistics operations hosted in the cloud as opposed to on-premises.
A certificate of conformity is a mandatory document that must be obtained by importers to demonstrate that products meet minimum regulatory standards for safety and function.
Common carriers are businesses that transport goods for compensation. They range from owner/operator trucking companies to national airlines and commercial transport fleets.
A consignee is an individual or company that receives freight.
A consignor is an individual or company that ships freight from one point of origin to its next destination.
Consolidation is the act of combining several small shipments, sometimes from different shippers, into large shipments, in order to limit transportation costs.
Customs software is used by customs brokers, freight forwarders, self-filing importers, and other professionals for the management and optimization of customs compliance procedures, documents, and workflows.
Demurrage is the fee that gets charged to the shipper for the use of a shipping container in the terminal beyond the contracted free time period. Detention is the fee that gets charged to the shipper for the use of a shipping container outside of the terminal or depot, beyond the contracted free time period.
Importers must obtain a dangerous goods note which describes the details of any shipment that may contain hazardous materials.
A dimensioner is a physical measuring device used in warehouses for collecting weights and measures of three-dimensional or cube-shaped objects such as packages, parcels, pallets, cartons, and boxes.
eAWB is an abbreviation for Electronic Air Waybill, which allows for electronic communication between 100+ airlines and logistics providers.
Electronic bonds are now supported by CBP ACE systems for shipments that require bonds as security for shipment.
Electronic export information is filed in AES systems and is the same as the information collected by hard-copy Shipper’s Export Declarations.
FCL is an abbreviation of full container load.
The freight bill of lading is an important contractual document between a shipper and a carrier for the transportation of freight that details the obligations of each party as well as the consignee and FOB point. The freight bill of lading serves as a receipt of freight by the carrier for the shipper.
Freight broker software is a type of specialized professional software for freight brokers and brokerages. It can include features for freight tracking and visibility, customs compliance, business operations, and more.
A freight forwarder is an individual or business that provides a service to retail, wholesale, and other businesses to move goods and cargo across the supply chain via air, marine, rail, or highway carriers.
Freight forwarding is a service provided to retail, wholesale, and other businesses to move goods and cargo across the supply chain via air, marine, rail, or highway carriers.
Freight forwarding software is a type of specialized professional software for freight forwarders. It can include features for freight tracking and visibility, customs compliance, business operations, and more.
Freight Rate Management Software
Freight rate management software is professional software that streamlines and digitizes the management of air, ocean, rail, and road buy and sell freight rates and quotes.
Free trade agreements allow the movement of goods and services freely between signatory nations. In most cases, common goods can be imported without tariffs or hindrances, but most FTAs do include specific categories of exclusion.
A foreign trade zone is an area adjacent to ports of entry where imported goods can be packed, unpacked, and evaluated without being subject to local import duties.
GRI is an abbreviation of General Rate Increase, the amount by which ocean carriers increase their base rates across specific lines, usually as a result of increased market demand.
The harmonized tariff schedule was designed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to uniformly classify goods that are shipped and sold internationally.
In-Bond — An in-bond shipment is one that moves through the United States — for example, from Mexico to Canada — but won’t be sold or commercialized in the USA. In-bond shipments are (as needed) stored in bonded warehouses along their route.
The importer of record is classified as the owner or purchaser of goods being transported and is responsible for meeting CBP compliance expectations.
ISF is an abbreviation for Importer Security Filing, a required document for shipments being imported to the United States by ocean for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Shipments arriving without an ISF will not be processed.
Last-Mile Logistics is the term used to explain the final delivery segment of shipments to the end consumer, often by a courier or package delivery service.
LCL is an abbreviation of less than a container load.
Logistics management software is designed to help users optimize and automate logistics functions such as tracking, rate management, warehousing, customs compliance, and more.
Logistics software is professional software for the management of logistics operations.
A logistics system is specialized industry software for the management of logistics operations.
NVOCC is an abbreviation of non-vessel operating common carrier. NVOCCs provide ocean
shipping freight-forwarding services using other companies’ carriers.
NVOCC software is specialized global logistics software for the operations of non-vessel operating common carriers. Features can include container bookings, consolidations, bill of lading generation, and more.
A Pickup Order is a document that outlines the terms for the delivery of goods from one location to another.
Power of attorney authorizes the IOR to act on behalf of their eventual customer or buyer and make decisions regarding how shipments are processed, handled and disbursed.
SCM software is a common abbreviation for supply chain management software.
SCM system is a common abbreviation for supply chain management system.
A shipper is a supply chain professional or company that sends freight from one point of origin to its next destination.
The shipper’s letter of instruction allows a carrier to create and sign a bill of lading on behalf of the shipper.
The Standard International Trade Classification is a numerical system created by the United Nations to help standardize the classification of commodities worldwide.
A straight bill of lading is nonnegotiable and directly consigns imported goods to a named consignee.
Supply Chain Management System
A supply chain management system (commonly abbreviated as SCM system) is business software that supports the efficient supply chain process flow of goods across the supply chain from origin to destination.
Supply chain software is software for the management, optimization, and automation of supply chain operations.
A supply chain solution is a type of specialized software for the management, optimization, and automation of supply chain operations.
A through bill of lading combines domestic and international carriage requirements to create a single bill of lading for shipments. These bills of lading are not applicable for ocean shipments, which typically require both inland and international bills to meet compliance standards.
Warehouse Inventory Management Software
Warehouse inventory management software is a type of specialized software for the management, optimization, and automation of warehouse inventory.
Warehouse management software is a type of specialized software for the management, optimization, and automation of inventory levels and overall warehouse operations.
A warehouse management system (commonly abbreviated as WMS system) is business software that supports the management, optimization, and automation of warehouse operations.
Warehouse software is software for the management, optimization, and automation of warehouse operations.
Shippers may allow their agents to act “without reserve”, allowing them to make key decisions or modifications to shipments without direct approval.
A WMS system is a common abbreviation for warehouse management system, a type of specialized software for the management, optimization, and automation of warehouse operations.
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