Food Logistics Terminology

Food logistics terminology can be confusing, especially for those new to the industry. There are terms that are universally accepted and like many business terms that are part of the made-up language developed over time. We contacted seasoned team members from each of our four business units (Burris Custom, PRW Plus, Honor Foods, & Trinity) to provide us with some of their most-common terminologies.

Here is some jargon, industry definitions, and Burris color to help you navigate this essential industry! We will be adding to this along the way so stay tuned.


Burris Custom:

  • Adjusted Service Level – indicates our performance through a percentage that our goals should meet.
  • BSCP (Burris Supply Chain Portal) – software developed by our in-house IT professionals that connects multiple systems for inventory, demand, quality, scheduling, etc…into usable data to help every aspect of the supply chain. Our Logistics Technology team deploys this solution across all of our business units to assist our partners. 
  • CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) – a license necessary for driving commercial vehicles (tractor-trailers, buses, etc…). The Burris Dedicated Fleet is operated by highly trained Burris Employee Drivers with CDL’s. 
  • Clarity – the buying system used by Burris for forecasting and purchasing.
  • Collect Freight – carrier collects the freight from the buyer.
  • Consigned Vendor – a company that stores their goods in one of our warehouses, without passing title.
  • Cross Docking – the process of unloading inbound freight and immediately loading it onto a different outbound method of transportation, often across the same dock.
  • Lead Time – the time span between an order’s placement and delivery.
  • Reefer – a refrigerated or temperature-controlled trailer. These are easily recognizable by the refrigeration unit on the front of a 53’ trailer. Our Burris team is able to monitor the temperature of our trailers remotely to ensure cold chain integrity. 


PRW Plus:

  • B2C/D2C/DTC (Business-To-Consumer/Direct-To-Consumer) – when a business promotes/sells its product directly to its consumers without a middleman in the sales process. Goods are delivered via parcel directly to a consumer’s doorstep. Burris handles the storage, fulfillment, and all of the distribution logistics in between. 
  • FEFO (First-Expired, First-Out) – consistent product rotation where products with a shorter shelf life are distributed sooner than others.
  • FIFO (First-In, First-Out) – consistent product rotation where products received first are distributed first.
  • PIPO (Pallet-In, Pallet-Out) – how the product is received and shipped to customers–on pallets.
  • PRW (Public Refrigerated Warehousing) – cold storage offered to the public at a designated price. Simply put, this is a hotel room for products. Like a hotel, it is more than just a place to rest. There are a lot of services offered behind the scenes like product tempering, cross-docking, and Direct-to-Consumer Fulfillment. 
  • 3PL (Third Party Logistics) – a company that provides outsourced logistics services, often including freight shipping arrangement and warehousing. 


Honor Foods:

  • FoodService – already-prepared food that is made, distributed, and/or sold to specific establishments like restaurants and schools.
  • Redistribution – a redistributor that buys products from certain vendors to sell and ship to other distributors. These distributors deliver directly to FoodService operators like restaurants, schools, and government buildings. 
  • SKU (Shelf Keeping Unit) – refers to one specific item of inventory.
  • Value Added – additional services that make a product/service more valuable to the customer.
  • “Wagon-Jobber” – refers to a distributor that buys food items in bulk and delivers smaller quantities of these items to their food retail customers.
  • WMS (Warehouse Management System) –  a system encompassing all warehouse operations from the time the products arrive to when they leave (it also includes the purchase and sales of the products).



  • BOL (Bill of Lading) – a transportation document that acts as a contract between a shipper and receiver and includes details specific to the shipment.
  • Drayage – the transport of ocean or rail containers to and from ports or rail yards.
  • Expedited Shipping – a form of transportation that involves shipments being moved at a faster rate than usual.
  • Freight Brokerage – a business (like Trinity!) that connects carriers with truck loads.
  • FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) – a federal organization whose primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.
  • FTL (Full Truckload) – when the carrier transports a full trailer of one designated shipment. Full trucks are brokered as a cost-saving method.
  • HazMat – a type of specialty shipment that involves the transport of hazardous materials. Carriers must take extra care for safety and compliance reasons. 
  • Intermodal – a shipping mode that involves multiple modes of transportation–most commonly, this refers to utilizing the rail in addition to trucks.
  • Lumper – additional fee charged to the carrier when a shipper utilizes a third-party worker, called a lumper, to help load or unload trailer contents.
  • LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) – a mode of transportation for freight that would not fill a full truckload trailer and consists of multiple shipments.
  • TMS (Transportation Management System) – a software platform designed to give shippers tools for control and visibility over their supply chains.

 About Burris Logistics

Established in 1925, Burris Logistics operates an expanding network of temperature-controlled warehousing and distribution centers from Maine to Florida and as far west as Oklahoma. This fifth-generation, family-owned enterprise provides leading-edge logistics, transportation, and supply chain solutions, coast to coast, through four distinct Business Units: Burris Custom Distribution, Burris PRW Plus (Public Refrigerated Warehousing and Direct to Consumer Fulfilment), Honor Foods (a redistributor of frozen, refrigerated and dry foodservice products), and Trinity Logistics (a global freight solutions provider). For more information about our trend-setting logistics and deep-rooted values® please visit