Glossary of Terms

Up to date definitions for Epes Transport terminology.

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Accessorial Charges or Fees

Accessorial charges are fees levied by the carrier for services other than pick-up and delivery, such as loading, unloading, packing, and unpacking. A carrier may also charge fees for waiting time or delays at the loading dock. These unanticipated fees are invoiced after the shipment has been completed and can add up to a significant increase in the cost of logistics services. Working with a third-party logistics provider can help you avoid costly charges by negotiating rates, planning ahead of time, and providing shipment visibility.


The ability of a business to quickly adapt to changes in the market or customer demand while maintaining cost effectiveness and profitability and avoiding significant impact on quality or dependability is referred to as agility. Agility becomes more important as supply chains become more complex, as it is critical in dealing with short lead times and varying volumes. Visibility is a critical component of remaining agile, and with greater visibility comes the ability to remain more flexible.


Backhaul refers to the movement of freight or cargo from point B back to the point of origin. Backhauling is a financially sound way to cut down on or eliminate empty truck miles since the more miles a vehicle travels without carrying any cargo, the more money a carrier loses in overhead expenses. Since the driver will already be traveling in that direction, the truck usually transfers freight back over all or part of the original route during a backhaul trip.


A benchmark is a measurement, point of comparison, or set of criteria; this performance level is acknowledged as the ideal or goal for a certain business activity. A benchmark is any metric that is used to compare actual performance. A benchmark used by the logistics industry to assess the effectiveness of a company's supply chain by taking into account efficiency, value, productivity, and inventory or shipment accuracy.


Benchmarking is the process of comparing one's performance to the methods used by other top businesses in order to improve performance, detect disparities, spot development prospects, or gauge one's standing in the market. Companies can benchmark themselves by tracking their own performance and contrasting it with prior performance. Instead of only measuring the highest performance, benchmarking aims to avoid or overcome complacency and improve any given business process by utilizing best practices. The best performance results from best practices. A benchmarking process typically involves four phases: planning, analysis, integration, and action.


A bottleneck is a hiccup in the regular transportation flow. Some regions of the country experience more delays than others due to congestion, which is a recurring and expensive problem for the transportation and logistics sectors. Businesses may make educated judgments regarding their transportation network by keeping an eye out for bottlenecks and other places of hardship. Missed deliveries and other operational problems can result from supply chain disruptions, but visibility and real-time data can assist drivers locate alternate routes to make sure cargoes are delivered when bottlenecks and related problems occur.


Epes defines capacity as the amount of the quantity of real estate, resources, or laborers that can be used to transport, store, or distribute commodities. Examples include the capacity of a warehouse, a ship, or a truck. When capacity is constrained, shipping costs may be affected. Capacity is seen as a crucial component of supply chain management.

Capacity Management

Capacity Management within Epes Transport's activities centers on the idea that capacity should be recognized, defined, and assessed at every level of the company, including for market segments, goods, services, activities, and resources. that capacity must be measured and managed at each level of our organization. That includes market segments, products, processes, activities and resources.


When something is sent or transported from one location to another by ocean, air, or land, it is referred to as cargo. A broad phrase used frequently to refer to commercial inventories, cargo can refer to any kind of goods or good. As an illustration, cargo would be the items transported in the rear of a trailer from a warehouse to a commercial establishment. Personal items owned by the driver are not included in such cargo.

Circular Supply Chain

A circular supply chain is a framework for a supply chain where products are made to be recycled or reused, forming a continuous loop. Due to difficulties introducing circularity into traditional supply chains that are built to carry goods forward into markets in a linear fashion, circular supply chains are currently the exception rather than the rule. One approach to deal with these issues is by developing innovative logistical solutions. For instance, some businesses are looking into the use of e-commerce returns services as practical means of gathering end-of-life products.

Closed Loop Supply Chain

A closed-loop supply chain integrates forward and reverse logistics and is a supply chain framework that is focused on the full chain of operations for the entire lifecycle of a product. The network transports finished aluminum coils from a fabrication factory in New York to several vehicle production stamping plants in Michigan, New York, and Kentucky as an illustration of a closed-loop recycling system. After that, it moves the aluminum scrap produced by the stamping operation back to the re-melt facility in Fresh York so that it can be used to make new coils.

Committed Capacity

The operating capacity of trucking or warehouse space that is fully booked, planned, or scheduled for a single customer is referred to as committed capacity. The committed space cannot be traded or allocated to additional freight. The use of a dedicated contract carriage, or DCC, is one method of ensuring committed capacity.

Common Carrier

Epes recognizes a common carrier as a business or person, both private or public, that offers its services to the general public and conveys commodities, freight, or cargo for a price. In common carriage, many third-party carriers move freight on an as-necessary and transactional basis. Any vehicle that transports merchandise from point A to point B is considered a common carrier, albeit depending on the mode of transportation, regulatory compliance may be necessary.

Contingency Planning

Plans for handling unexpected or unforeseen situations, such as weather events, labor strikes, traffic, or service outages, are proactive alternatives or contingency plans for logistics. For instance, if a customer is worried about what might happen if a serious disruption affects their external distributor network and renders it incapable of functioning, they can consider contingency planning with regard to various distribution models and produce alternative models and cost implications in terms of identified parameters.

Continuous Process Improvement

A strategy method to generating a continuous improvement of service and operational processes through minor, incremental change is known as continuous process improvement. A company can benefit significantly from continuous improvement, which should be motivated by measures backed by solid data. Participating in what-if scenarios to evaluate and discuss prospective improvement ideas or determining how various operational aspects, such as order quantity, may affect accounts, are a few examples of how to work on continuous improvement inside a firm.

Contract Carrier

As opposed to a common carrier, which transports freight on behalf of the general public, Epes sees a contract carrier as a transportation company that provides specific services to one or a small number of customers under contract. A committed capacity for a company's cargo is guaranteed when they choose a contract carrier, and the driver receives a consistent pay stream as a result. A contract carrier may have contracts with multiple clients at once, depending on the scope of the agreements and the volume of cargo that needs to be moved.

Cost Per Unit

By dividing the overall production cost by the quantity of units produced, one may determine the average cost per unit. Depending on seasonal demand or other market fluctuations, the average cost per unit may alter over time, but over the long run, it typically normalizes. Businesses that have lower cost per unit typically maintain a higher level of industry competition.

Dedicated Contract Carriage (DCC)

Dedicated contract carriage (DCC) is a third-party service that contracts with a single customer to provide equipment (vehicles) and drivers for that customer's sole use. Shippers can lower expenses, improve truck capacity, and transfer liability by using a DCC. It offers all the advantages of fleet ownership without the concerns. White-glove duties including direct store delivery, front-door delivery, customer engagement, cross-docking, and more are also handled by some DCC service providers.

Dedicated Transportation

While a common term, Epes defines dedicated contract carriage (DCC) is a third-party service that contracts with a single customer to provide equipment (vehicles) and drivers for that customer's sole use. Shippers can lower expenses, improve truck capacity, and transfer liability by using a DCC. It offers all the advantages of fleet ownership without the concerns. White-glove duties including direct store delivery, front-door delivery, customer engagement, cross-docking, and more are also handled by some DCC service providers.

Direct-store Delivery

The process of transporting goods directly from a manufacturer or supplier facility to the customer's retail store rather than a distribution center is known as a direct-store delivery (DSD) model. By reducing touchpoints, this distribution method can increase efficiency and lower labor expenses. DSD is based on just-in-time deliveries and might be the best option for operations that need daily fresh deliveries, just-in-time deliveries to manage high SKU inventory, high-volume products, the need to maximize space, a need to control the chain of custody, or products that need specialized handling and driver training.

Distribution Center (DC)

A distribution center is a type of warehouse that receives and temporarily keeps product from manufacturing before distributing it to the right locations in accordance with orders received. A distribution center is an essential link in the supply chain since it acts as a bridge between suppliers and buyers. Because these facilities frequently deal with such enormous amounts of inventory, they frequently stay up to date on the most recent inventory technology to keep things organized.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the term used to describe the transmission of business data from one computer to another inside an organization. "Computer-to-computer" refers to a direct communication from the sending application program to the receiving or processing application program, according to EDI purists. An EDI transmission does not include any accompanying text or free-form messaging; it simply contains business data.

Empty Miles

Empty miles are the ones accumulated while towing a trailer or container that is empty but not producing any money. Shippers can evaluate and optimize a network to make changes, reduce empty miles, or discover backhaul opportunities by tracking empty miles. Carriers and shippers should make every effort to prevent empty miles because they are a loss of time, fuel, and truck mileage.

Fleet Management

Within the world of Epes, commercial vehicle management involves keeping track of the fleet to make sure it operates effectively, affordably, and on time. As they keep an eye on fleet performance, maintenance requirements, productivity and efficiency, timelines and schedules, compliance, and budget, fleet managers must possess superior communication skills. Additionally, they make sure that the fleet and company are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Freight Management

The practice of efficiently and strategically transferring freight across a network from its point of origin to its desired destination while utilizing a variety of transportation methods, middlemen, and technologies is known as freight management. To carry freight efficiently and affordably, a procedure is used that makes use of physical resources like trucks, distribution facilities, and warehouses, as well as technology. Private, common, and dedicated contract carriage are the three main truck freight management solutions (DCC). Shippers who choose for private transportation want to control their own fleet of vehicles and drivers. In common carriage, freight is transported on an as-needed and transactional basis by a number of independent trucking companies. Although shippers entirely outsource the operation and management of their fleet to a lead logistics provider or a third-party logistics provider, DCC offers the same fixed capacity and control as private carriage.

Full Truckload (FTL)

An entire truck's capacity is used for shipping one full truckload of goods from a warehouse to a consumer (with a few possible stops in between). A complete truckload may use a flatbed, a temperature-controlled vehicle, a dry van, a heavy hauler, or specialized freight among other types of trucks. Full truckload shipments are expedited and safer for the items because they remain in the same truck from pick-up to delivery. They also save time.

Hub and Spoke

A network of facilities known as a "hub and spoke" enables truckload freight to travel great distances with a single driver. To increase efficiency and cut costs, numerous customers share tractors. Usually, hubs are placed 300 miles or less apart from one another. Drivers exchange trailers at a midpoint before heading back to the hubs from which they originally started. This enables them to travel back home every day while the freight continues to be transported to its destination.

Intermodal Transportation

Intermodal transportation is the movement of goods by combining several modes of transportation, such as land, air, or water. The best logistics and delivery solutions are frequently achieved by combining different means of transportation. The use of intermodal transportation has several advantages, including lower prices, a more environmentally friendly form of transportation, a lower chance of shipment loss, the flexibility to grow operations, and a quicker, less expensive way to ship.


Inventory describes the goods, materials, or supplies kept in a warehouse before being produced, shipped, or sold. Inventory management must be effective to maintain a seamless supply chain because it is crucial to making sales and turning a profit.


A major route connecting towns or transportation hubs that a carrier often travels is referred to as a "lane." Lanes connecting two or more cities or hubs can go in any direction.


LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers are in charge of loading multiple smaller shipments into a single trailer. This often results in cost savings because LTL shippers don't have to pay for unused trailer capacity. LTL shipments can provide advantages including increased flexibility and productivity. LTL carriers frequently provide shipping rates that are far more affordable than full truckload rates. Finding the best LTL trucking companies is essential because LTL shipments frequently mix multiple loads and make numerous stops. An ideal partner will develop a solution that starts cost savings, reduces risk, improves network performance, and satisfies particular delivery requirements.


The complete process of coordinating and managing supply chain operations is known as logistics. Using logistics can result in higher overall efficiency, better inventory control, cheaper costs, more efficient use of warehouse or storage space, and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Supply chain management becomes more effective and profitable when enhanced logistics are the main focus.

Logistics Management

The complete process of coordinating and managing supply chain operations is known as logistics. Using logistics can result in higher overall efficiency, better inventory control, cheaper costs, more efficient use of warehouse or storage space, and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Supply chain management becomes more effective and profitable when improved logistics are the main focus.

Machine Learning

A subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) known as "machine learning" makes judgments and predicts outcomes without the need for programming by using algorithms and analysis to find patterns in massive data sets. As an illustration of its use, the construction of truck pricing prediction models as a result of machine learning's predictive capabilities can aid shippers comprehend for-hire truckload pricing fluctuations with a great deal more accuracy. As a result, shippers are better equipped to bargain for reasonable freight costs.

Materials Handling

Moving items manually or with the use of specialized equipment from one location to another is referred to as materials handling. Improved customer satisfaction, quicker delivery times, cheaper handling costs overall, and other advantages of effective materials handling are just a few.

Materials Management

The materials management involves keeping an eye on every aspect of a product, from design through production, and ensuring that there are enough resources on hand to satisfy demand or deadlines. This can encompass shipping, receiving, and production control.

Network Design

The planning and design of manufacturing, warehousing or distribution facilities, as well as transportation routes, with an emphasis on speed, efficiency, and cost, is referred to as network design. Sometimes it's necessary to revise network architecture to account for changes in the consumer base, the supply chain, or business methods that are more sustainable. For instance, a company may decide to create a more efficient distribution network in order to decrease waste, save money, and lower its carbon impact.

On-hand Balance

The actual quantity of a product that is currently in stock is referred to as the on-hand balance. Many businesses are attempting to reduce their inventory by adopting a flow-through model where products are never at rest, but supply chain interruptions have created a need to maintain a greater inventory level, just in case. Inventory is expensive, ties up capital, and costs money to store.


Making a supply chain process as efficient or effective as possible is known as optimization. Networks, supply chains, and warehouse layouts and designs can all be optimized to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and savings.

Over-The-Road (OTR)

Drivers or carriers who transport all types of freight across vast distances, frequently for many weeks at a time and frequently across state or international borders, are known as over-the-road (OTR) drivers or carriers. OTR drivers frequently spend their downtime sleeping in their truck's cab or in a hotel or motel due to the enormous distances they must travel. OTR drivers occasionally work in pairs in order to drive in shifts and move freight more quickly and effectively.

Pick List

A pick list is a list of the things that must be taken out of stock to complete an order. A pick list frequently includes information on the item that has to be picked, the location of the inventory, and other helpful details that pickers may need to know in regard to the order.


The pick-to-trailer choosing technique involves selecting the items from the inventory and then placing them straight into the shipping trailer. With the trailer acting as the replacement for a shipping container, this form of order picking is comparable to pick-to-carton or pick/pack.

Quality Control

By conducting testing and ensuring that criteria are met, quality control refers to the process of ensuring and maintaining a product's quality. Utilizing technology and other tools to evaluate and keep track of something's quality aids in identifying areas that require improvement or attention. Since a product's or service's quality is essential to preserving customer happiness and positive business connections, quality can be evaluated again and again until the required quality is achieved. Fewer touchpoints within a process are one way to regulate quality.

Receiving Inventory

The process of evaluating, confirming, and accepting a shipment into inventory within a warehouse or business is known as receiving inventory. Every node in a transparent supply chain has access to pertinent data regarding the origins, status, and arrival date of products. A method for managing incoming inventory in a secure, timely, and organized manner as well as one for precisely tracking it from the time it enters your warehouse until it is sent are both necessary for effective inventory receipt.


The term "reefer" refers to a refrigerated truck that is used to transport perishable goods at a cooler, controlled temperature to prevent product spoilage or damage. A refrigerated unit can be delivered by air, boat, rail, on a semi-cab trailer, or in the rear of a small van or truck. To make sure that refrigerated units are keeping cold enough and maintaining the correct temperature, their temperatures should be regularly checked throughout the journey.

Replenishment Stock

Items transported to replenish inventory and maintain the proper product in stock within the operation or warehouse are included in replenishment stock. Penske's warehousing services, transportation management, brokerage services, and logistics planning are used to handle the replenishment process. In order to prevent crises and guarantee the correct product is in stock within the warehouse, a business can also swiftly give complete information on inventory, order status, and potentially dangerous conditions by applying technology. Stock replenishment is a crucial component of inventory management since it makes sure the proper stock items are available to satisfy consumer demand.

Return on Investment (ROI)

In order to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of a facility, product, or service and to demonstrate the worth of an investment, a return on investment (ROI) is a performance indicator that is typically a profit or loss. A solid ROI can be achieved by systematically looking for new ways to enhance your supply chain and freight management processes. This will allow you to capitalize on cost reduction, cost avoidance, and cost mitigation to create a strategy for ongoing improvement.

Returnable Containers

Returnable containers are shipping containers that may be used again and again to save money, increase productivity, eliminate waste, and support sustainability. Unlike non-returnable or disposable containers, which can only be used once, these containers can be used numerous times to deliver a product. The reusable container supply chain consists of four main areas: the containers holding products that are in use at the customer's location, the containers holding finished goods that are being produced, the empty containers that are sorted, processed, and cleaned in preparation for return, and the containers in the return loop.

Risk Management

In order to reduce the impact of risk, risk management entails discovering, evaluating, and managing possible threats or disruptions. Businesses frequently decide to respond by implementing more extensive risk management plans when supply chains broaden their global reach and are exposed to a larger range of threats. These initiatives emphasize innovative risk management techniques and a change in supply chain outsourcing tactics. Regulatory compliance and lack of visibility and its associated restrictions are two factors that frequently result in industry-related risk.

Risk Mitigation

The goal of risk mitigation is to lower the likelihood of dangers. Making contingency planning, cross-docking, assuring and maintaining visibility, or contracting a DCC or 3PL are a few instances of how risk can be minimized or decreased. To reduce the risk of interruptions, shippers and their supply chain partners can quickly adjust to changes in the supply chain by identifying problem areas in advance, gaining visibility, sharing information, securing capacity, and pulling product ahead of schedule.


A shipper is a person or business that owns or is in charge of goods or items that need to be transported from one place to another. Shippers are in charge of setting up shipments so that carriers can transport their cargo. Building trusting relationships with carriers, adhering to timetables to reduce delays, and showing drivers consideration are all necessary for becoming a shipper of choice.

Shipping Lanes

A shipping lane is a route that is used for shipping on a regular basis. On land, at sea, by train, or in the air are all possible shipping pathways. Depending on how popular a route is, shipping lanes may or may not be busy. One issue with busier shipping lanes is bottlenecks.

SmartWay Certification

A partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the freight sector called SmartWay Certification aims to teach businesses how to transport goods in the cleanest, most energy-efficient ways possible, improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and safeguarding public health. Since 2004, the EPA's market-driven SmartWay Transport Partnership has prevented the emission of more than 134 million metric tons of dangerous air pollution, saving 280 million barrels of oil and $37.5 billion in fuel expenditures.

Spot Demand

Spot demand is when demand for a product suddenly increases, necessitating an urgent need for the product to reach the market, sometimes in greater amounts than usual. Spot rate or spot price refers to the market-driven cost of acquiring this in-demand good and receiving it right away.

Supply Chain

A supply chain includes all processes used to move a product from its conception to its final distribution, from the procurement of raw materials through the delivery of the finished good to the customer. Supply chains that are efficient, dependable, and flexible can give businesses a competitive edge as they grow more complicated. A supply chain can be optimized in two ways: through visibility and effective network designs.

Supply Chain Management

Planning, integrating, and managing all production processes in a supply chain from a supplier to a client is the responsibility of supply chain management. In addition, it entails strategy creation, optimization, product procurement, satisfying customer requests, and more.


A company's carbon footprint can be reduced, waste can be reduced, money can be saved, and operations can be carried out in a way that is both socially and environmentally responsible through the usage of sustainability. There are numerous methods to leverage the network design tools' analytical power in the shipping sector to improve the sustainability of supply chains. Shrinkage of the carbon footprint of freight operations, waste reduction and resource usage, and support of green operations are a few examples of these.

Third Party Logistics (3PL)

In third-party logistics (3PL), a business outsources all or a portion of its supply chain, which frequently includes domestic or international transportation, warehousing, inventory storage or management, freight forwarding, customs brokerage, or other ancillary services like storage, packing, or fulfillment. One of the advantages of using a 3PL is having the option to hire a subject-matter expert to oversee shipping operations; this person would have worked to develop relationships with business partners and be familiar with supply chains, ensuring efficiency and cost savings.

Third Party Logistics Provider

A company's outsourced third-party logistics and associated services are managed by third-party logistics (3PL) providers. A 3PL provider's duties include negotiating reasonable freight rates to prevent expensive supply chain disruptions, ensuring that freight networks operate as efficiently as possible, developing tailored freight management plans, lowering costs while raising efficiency, assisting with supply chain optimization, generating more value, and more. A substantially wider selection of service options are now available to shippers and clients because to growth in this industry.


Transparency refers to how businesses communicate their freight information with other trading partners in the supply chain. Visibility refers to the monitoring of units as they move through supply chains. Manufacturers, distributors, transportation companies, 3PLs, suppliers both upstream and downstream, freight brokers, freight forwarders, regulators, and even the customers themselves may fall under this category. The idea of supply chain transparency ensures that everyone working inside a logistics network does so in a seamless, effective, hands-off manner and with shared knowledge. Particularly in companies that deal with consumers, transparency has grown in importance, and the development of trends like blockchain is unmistakable proof of this.

Transportation Management System (TMS)

A platform for managing freight and freight flows is a transportation management system (TMS). It is one of the most crucial tools in the logistics toolkit and is frequently incorporated into supply chain management since it aids in the planning, execution, and optimization of shipping operations. A TMS offers helpful insights into time and cost efficiency while streamlining and automating shipment. Both daily freight operations and strategic decision-making using advanced analytics are supported by more contemporary technology. For complete understanding, a TMS frequently works in tandem with a warehouse management system and/or a yard management system.


Underutilization is when resources aren't employed as much as they could or ought to be. Warehouse space, trucks, and trailers are a few assets that may go unused. To offer a more particular illustration, it would be deemed underutilization of the trailer, the driver, and the route to convey an empty trailer on one leg of a trip, which would result in a loss of revenue because of the high cost of transportation. The driver might attempt to pick up cargo for a return trip as a means of avoiding this so that no air is transported.

Uniform Product Code (UPC)

A distinctive barcode called a uniform product code (UPC) is used to identify and monitor retail merchandise. A UPC code is one of the most easily recognized symbols because it can be seen on almost every retail item in the United States. A UPC barcode normally consists of a number of vertical black lines with space between them. To identify the goods in a warehouse setting or at a point of sale, it is scanned. A European Article Number (EAN) code is utilized internationally, much like a UPC number, for products sold anywhere, including outside of the United States.

Value Added Services

Value-added services are those that are added to a product or service that are optional but may offer more value based on the cost of production vs the income generated by the product. Supply chain logistics may offer value-added services such as specialized or customized administrative or physical tasks including kitting, bundling, re-branding, customization, re-packaging, returns management, or work-order processing. These extra services are a technique to keep the patronage of devoted customers.

Value Chain

The chain of tasks a business completes to enhance the value of a good or service is referred to as a value chain. This could involve a number of steps in a supply chain, starting with the receipt of goods at the warehouse and ending with the shipment and delivery of a product into the hands of the final client, company, or retailer. A value chain analysis should be carried out on a regular basis after it has been established to ensure efficiency or to spot areas for development.

Zero Inventory

The goal of zero inventory is to hold little or no inventory and only order things as needed. Zero inventory solutions enable space to be used in more beneficial ways as opposed to for inventory storage, and they are connected to and frequently used interchangeably with just-in-time inventory. If a business has a solid supply chain, it may decide against keeping excess inventory on hand in favor of using a zero-inventory approach to buy products or supplies as they are required.

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