Your Guide to Trucking Logistics Terminology
Ten important terms and what they mean in the trucking and logistics industry.
Whether you’re new to the logistics industry or an experienced professional, a solid understanding of frequently-used industry terminology is essential to communicating effectively within your area of expertise.
Read on to see our definitions of some common terms you may encounter so you can navigate the logistics arena with confidence.
Cross-docking skips the storage link of the logistics supply chain, so that items are distributed directly to customers with minimal storage or handling time. For example, a large chain like Walmart might have their trucks meet at a distribution center, load the goods onto Walmart trucks, and then these trucks will deliver these goods to their stores.
Final mile delivery (also called “last mile delivery”) is the last step of the journey when customers receive the goods they have ordered. This is often the most costly and time-consuming stage of the logistics process because there are countless variations of potential routes to deliver packages to hundreds—or even thousands—of customers, making it challenging to streamline inefficiencies.
Fulfillment (also referred to as “order fulfillment”) encompasses the entire end-to-end logistics and shipping process, from the moment a customer presses “buy” to the moment they receive their goods. A robust fulfillment strategy is essential to any logistics or trucking company because it dictates how long a customer will wait to receive their item.
Hauling is the process of transporting freight from one destination to another in a truck. Long-haul truckers may drive thousands of miles between destinations, while short-haul trucking covers a radius of 150 miles.
Just-in-time shipping (JIT shipping) is a supply chain management strategy geared toward syncing orders with production or delivery schedules in order to reduce the costs associated with managing and storing excess stock. For example, a furniture company may not manufacture furniture, and will only place an order with the manufacturer when a customer makes an order. This strategy is frequently used in the apparel, publishing, retail, and automotive industries.
Over the road (OTR) refers to long-haul truck drivers who transport freight long distances, often passing state or even national lines. These truckers can spend 3 to 4 weeks on the road hauling items such as consumer goods, equipment, and building supplies.
Transloading is one of the most common methods of shipping goods, and it refers to the process of transferring freight from one mode of transportation to another while en route to their final destination. As the world has become more digital and globalized, long-haul transload shipments usually involve numerous shipping companies and modes of transport.
Similar to transloading, intermodal transportation moves goods between different modes of transport. Intermodal transportation allows for route changes, is more environmentally friendly than long-distance trucking, and offers heightened security and more reliable transit times.
Supply chain execution (SCE) refers to how logistics companies drive the flow of goods from procurement to delivery. SCE software solutions are frequently used in the trucking and logistics industry in order to streamline data handling, improve workflows, avoid inventory problems, and optimize overall operations.
Carriers are able to provide dedicated trucking capacity to their customers in various industries, which allows the capacity to be shared between customers. This meets their needs in terms of routes, while guaranteeing trucking capacity and keeping costs down.
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