Describes businesses that provide one or many of a  variety of logistics-related services.  Types of services may include public warehousing, contract warehousing, transportation management, distribution management, freight consolidation.


A 3PL provider may take over all receiving, storage, value added, shipping, and transportation responsibilities for a client and conduct them in the 3PL's warehouse using the 3PL's equipment and employees, or may manage one or all of these functions in the client's facility using the client's equipment, or any combination of the above.


Another term, 4PL, is sometimes used to describe businesses that manage a variety of logistics related services for clients by using 3PLs. 

ABC, ABC Classification

A strategy for classifying inventory or parts within a warehouse or system. Typically fastest movers are categorized as A items, though classification can be based on other factors as well such as margin.


A supplemental activity or material, outside normal handling and storage, that is billable in accordance with the clients contract.

Accessorial Charge

The amount charged to the client for providing accessorial service or materials.



An inflatable bag used to fill empty space on a load of product to keep the product from shifting.


Allocated Inventory

Inventory that is reserved for a specific order, customer, promtional event or other purpose and is not to be used for standard order fulfillment purposes. Once allocated, this stock is no longer available as usable inventory for new orders. A sophisticated WMS (Warehouse Management System) will offer a variety of ways to indicate a reserved or on hold status for specified inventory.


Inventory is allocated to a specific order.


Anniversary Billing

A method of billing where the client is billed for one month of storage once inventory is received. If this product remains in inventory, it will be billed an additional monthly charge each month on the anniversary of its arrival.


Annual Inventory

Physical count of all product in the warehouse done on a yearly basis.


The area outside the dock door which is used by delivery vehicles to park or position for loading and unloading. The Apron is specifically designed to a depth that will allow trailer floors to fit with the warehouse floor in a way that facilitates loading and unloading.


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