Last Mile Logistics and Supply Chain Glossary and Definitions

Advanced Shipment Notification (ASN)

Notifications that include important information about a shipment before it arrives.


This is when a truck picks up freight prior to returning to its original destination.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

Bill of lading works as a receipt of freight services, a contract between a freight carrier and shipper and a document of title. The bill of lading is a legally binding document providing the driver and the carrier all the details needed to process the freight shipment and invoice it correctly.

Carrier Code

This is the 4-digit SCAC (Standard Carrier Alpha Code) code of the carrier.


In a contract of carriage, the consignee is the entity who is financially responsible (the buyer) for the receipt of a shipment. Generally, but not always, the consignee is the same as the receiver.

Contract Delivery Agent (CDA)

Contract Delivery Agents are independent contractors who provide service on specific routes.

Cross Dock

A practice in logistics of unloading materials from an incoming semi-trailer truck or railroad car and loading these materials directly into outbound trucks, trailers, or rail cars, with little or no storage in between.

Curbside Delivery

These are LTL deliveries to be dropped off outside the location. A standard freight service will offer curbside delivery. Also can be called “basic delivery.” See ‘White Glove Delivery Services,’ or read more here.

Customer Experience (CX)

Any interaction between a business and their customer over the duration of their relationship.

Delivery Experience Management (DEM)

Delivery Experience Management (DEM) is the art of proactively ensuring that your customers get their orders how and when they expect, taking intelligent action to correct issues along the way and continuously communicating to uphold brand promises. It empowers shippers to have visibility and insights into disparate shipping data and gives them ability to take action when a problem occurs. Successful DEM results in actionable insights, more efficient transportation, and happier customers.Learn what Delivery Experience Management means here, and understand why it can be your team’s last mile advantage.

Deluxe Delivery

This service combines convenience and ease to make it the unparalleled and top-of-the-line delivery experience, provided your customer is willing to pay for it. The consumer can choose to have it delivered to a specific room and have the item set-up. See ‘White Glove Delivery,’ or read more about it here.

Direct to Customer (DTC or D2C)

This is when a retailer/brand ships directly to their customer (consignee), instead of using a vendor as a third-party seller or shipper.

Distribution Center (DC)

A distribution center can also be called a warehouse, a DC, a fulfillment center, a cross-dock facility, a bulk break center, and a package handling center. Suppliers ship truckloads of products to the distribution center, which stores the product until needed by the retail location and ships the proper quantity.

Drop Ship

A supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers the customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer, another retailer, or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer.


Supplies like air bags or bubble wrap that help protect products during transit.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners.

Estimated Delivery Date (EDD)

A date that carriers transmit to retailers/end-customers as to when the shipment will arrive. EDD can be updated in-transit as exceptions occur. This date may change in transit.


When a delivery failure has occurred such as weather delay, damaged in transit, wrong address, etc. – anything that could prevent the package from arriving on time.

Flatbed Shipping

Flatbed shipping is utilized when cargo might not fit in a standard enclosed truck. A flatbed has an open design that makes it easier for the cargo to be moved.

Freight Class

Freight classes are designed to help you get common standardized freight pricing for your shipment when working with different carriers, warehouses and brokers. The (NMFC) system is a standardized method designed to give consumers a uniform pricing structure when transporting freight. There are 11 classes that a shipped package may fall under with class 60 being the least expensive, to class 400 as the most expensive. The number assigned to an item is important to freight carriers in determining the tariffs, which in turn determine the price charged to the customer.

Freight Lane

Every company has a list of shippers and consignees. The movement of loads from shipper to consignee is a freight lane.

Full Truckload (FTL)

Full truckload can mean 2 things; either you have enough products to fill a full truckload, or you have a partial load but you prefer a dedicated truck. Full truckload is often chosen when businesses have 10 pallets or more to ship, when they have high risk packages, or when time is an issue.

Handling Charge

Charge for handling a shipment from a warehouse to the customer.

House Air Waybill (HAWB)

The House Air Waybill (HAWB) tracking is a tool which is used to track air freight or air cargo consignment by using a HAWB number.

Inbound Shipment

When a shipment is bound for a DC or retailer. Some examples include a manufacturer shipping to the retailer or a customer shipping a return back to a retailer.

Inside Delivery

Inside delivery service with an LTL carrier does not necessarily mean what the name suggests. When this service is requested on a shipment going to a business, the carrier will take the freight into the storefront for delivery. On a residential delivery, the LTL carrier will only take the shipment onto the property, or into the garage of the residence. This may also be known as Threshold Delivery. Also see ‘White Glove Delivery,’ or read more about it here.

Last Mile

The movement of a delivery from a final hub of transportation, such as a DC or warehouse, to the end-consumer.

Large Format Home Delivery (LFHD)

Includes large item home deliveries like furniture or appliances.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

LTL is a type of ground freight transportation that combines shipments from multiple customers. Businesses choose this budget-friendly option when the consumer demand for their products is average or stable. Less than truckload shipping is affordable for small business because you share the transportation costs with other companies, and use a third-party logistics (3PL) company.

Middle Mile

Anything that travels from port to DC, DC to DC, or DC to store; end-customers are never the receiver of middle mile deliveries.

National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC)

National Motor Freight Classification numbers are codes that classify all commodity types and establish levels of rating for a freight shipment.

Order Management System (OMS)

Order management systems are the infrastructure that allow companies to manage products bought by customers and store the SKU & customer-level details.

Outbound Shipment

When a shipment is being sent to the consignee.

PRO Number (PRO #)

PRO Numbers are freight tracking numbers.

Rail/Intermodal (IMTM)

These are shipments sent using domestic railways. This mode is slower than trucks but is considered a more economical shipping option.

Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)

A privately controlled US code used to identify road transport companies. It is typically two to four letters long. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association developed the SCAC code in the 1960s to help road transport companies computerize data and records.

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)

A number assigned to a product by the company for stock-keeping purposes and internal operations.


The offer of goods for transportation or the offer to place cars or containers for loading or unloading. When a shipment is tendered, notice is sent to a service provider with an offer to carry the shipment. For example, this happens when FedEx passes off the shipment to the USPS, but prior to it being “out for delivery.”

Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Outsourced management of supply chain functions. Provides services such as carrier procurement and management, warehouse management and order fulfillment, multimodal consolidation and optimization, information technology build out and management, and performance management.

Threshold Delivery

LTL delivery inside the front door of the home. Also see ‘Inside Delivery’ or ‘White Glove Delivery.’ You can read more about it here.

Transportation Management System (TMS)

A transportation management system (TMS) is a subset of supply chain management concerning transportation operations and may be part of an enterprise resource planning system. A TMS usually “sits” between an ERP or legacy order processing and warehouse/distribution module.

Value Added Network (VAN)

A value-added network (VAN) is a hosted service offering that acts as an intermediary between business partners sharing standards based or proprietary data via shared business processes. The offered service is referred to as “value-added network services.”

Warehouse Management System (WMS)

A warehouse management system (WMS) is software and processes that allow organizations to control and administer warehouse operations from the time goods or materials enter a warehouse until they move out. Operations in a warehouse include inventory management, picking processes and auditing.


WISMO stands for “Where Is My Order?” calls to customer service. They can make up 70-80% of all customer inquiries during the holidays, which sucks up a lot of resources. The good news is, there are many things you can do to reduce the volume of WISMO calls.

White Glove Delivery

White Glove deliveries are shipments that require special attention which the LTL carrier does not offer. With White Glove couriers, the shipment will be professionally packaged, strapped to the truck to minimize damage, and delivered to the location to where the shipment needs to go, i.e. inside the residence in a specific room. A White Glove service can also install the freight in many instances. White glove services can include: room of choice, setup/install, debris removal (including removal of replaced product like old mattress or old washer/dryer).