Talk the Talk


Are you new to the logistics scene? Or have you been on the scene for a while but all those business calls and business talk assault your vocabulary senses? Well worry no more! The verbiage in the logistics industry can be incredibly complex. So many words are thrown around blogs, forums, and websites and can leave you scratching your head. Ever find yourself on a call or on a job and the other person is totally not speaking your language? It might sound something like this: 

Hello, I’m looking for an asset based 3PL who has an established WMS and can handle my pick and pack distribution.  Please review this RFI and if you are compatible, we will send you a NDA followed by an RFPWe will have FTL, LTL, and parcel inbounds and out bounds for this opportunity.  Our parcel outbound orders will consist of B2B and B2C shipments.  The supplier must be AIB certified, EDI compatible, and have the ability to use the correct BOL’s.

Wait?! What did he just say? Slow down and speak English please? We’ve all been there. So we, Spartan Logistics have broken it down and come up with some explanations for all this slang.            


3PL 3rd Party Logistics.  A company that provides outsourced logistics services to client companies for part, or all of their supply chain management functions.

WMS Warehouse Management System. This is a software application that supports the day-to-day operations in a warehouse. 

RFI Request For Information. This is a standard business process that’s purpose is to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers. 

NDA Non-Disclosure Agreement. This is a type of legal document between two parties that outlines how all information and knowledge will remain confidential. 

RFP Request For Proposal. This is a solicitation made through the company to elicit bids for potential vendors.  Also called and RFQ (Request for Quote)

FTL Full Truck Load. The load will fill the entire capacity of the truck.

LTL Less Than Truckload. When only part of the loading capacity of a trailer is being utilized, for example when you only need to ship one pallet of goods to a buyer.

B2B Business To Business. This the type of commerce between to businesses, as opposed to B2C.

B2C Business To Consumer. This is when you sell products directly to the consumer, such as a store or

AIB American Institute of Baking. An accrediting agency that performs an independent inspection to ensure food safety. 

EDI Electronic Data Interchange. This is used for exchanging data between two separate entities by electronic means. 

BOL Bill Of Lading. This is a detailed list of a shipment of goods in the form of a receipt given by the carrier to the person consigning the goods.  It also legally acknowledges receipt of the goods listed by the buyer. 

These are just a few acronyms that are used on a daily basis in the logistics world. There are many more. I hope that you now have a better grasp on the logistics lingo. Confusing yes, but very much acheivable.  Feel free to share this information with friends, co-workers or anybody else affiliated with the industry. And don’t worry, I won’t make you sign an NDA.