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Logistic Glossary– Letter B


See Business-to-Business (B2B).

Break Bulk

See Break Bulk


See Business-to-Customer (B2C).

Back Order

Product ordered but out of stock and promised to ship when the product becomes available.


The process of a transportation vehicle returning from the original destination point to the point of origin. The 1980 Motor Carrier Act deregulated interstate commercial trucking, thereby allowing carriers to contract for the return trip. The backhaul can be with a full, partial, or empty load. An empty backhaul is called deadheading. Also see Deadhead


The act of retaining a quantity to ship against an order when other order lines have already been shipped.


Pulling a function back in house as an outsourcing contract expires.

Balance of Trade

The surplus or deficit which results from comparing a country's exports and imports of merchandise only.


A large compressed, bound, and often wrapped bundle of a commodity, such as cotton or hay.

Bar Code Scanner

A device to read bar codes and communicate data to computer systems.

Bar Code

A symbol consisting of a series of printed bars representing values. A system of optical character reading, scanning, tracking of units by reading a series of printed bars for translation into a numeric or alphanumeric identification code. A popular example is the UPC code used on retail packaging.

Bar Coding

A method of encoding data for fast and accurate readability. Bar codes are a series of alternating bars and spaces printed or stamped on products, labels, or other media, representing encoded information which can be read by electronic readers called bar.


The cargo-carrying vehicle which may or may not have its own propulsion mechanism for the purpose of transporting goods. Primarily used by Inland water carriers, basic barges have open tops, but there are covered barges for both dry and liquid cargoes.

Barrier to Entry

Factors that prevent companies from entering into a particular market, such as high initial investment in equipment.


The exchange of commodities or services for other commodities or services rather than the purchase of commodities or services with money.

Base Currency

The currency whose value is "one" whenever a quote is made between two currencies.

Basing-Point Pricing

A pricing system that includes a transportation cost from a particular city or town in a zone or region even though the shipment does not originate at the basing point.

Batch Picking

A method of picking orders in which order requirements are aggregated by product across orders to reduce movement to and from product locations. The aggregated quantities of each product are then transported to a common area where the individual orders are constructed. See Zone Picking.


The process of comparing performance against the practices of other leading companies for the purpose of improving performance. Companies also benchmark internally by tracking and comparing current performance with past performance.

Benefit-Cost Ratio

An analytical tool used in public planning; a ratio of total measurable benefits divided by the initial capital cost. Also see Cost Benefit Analysis.

Best in Class

An organization, usually within a specific industry, recognized for excellence in a specific process area.

Best Practice

A specific process or group of processes which have been recognized as the best method for conducting an action. Best practices may vary by industry or geography depending on the environment being used. Best-practices methodology may be applied with respect to resources, activities, cost object, or processes.

Bilateral Contract

An agreement where-in each party makes a promise to the other party.

Bill of Activities

A listing of activities required by a product, service, process output, or other cost object. Bill of activity attributes could include volume and/or cost of each activity in the listing.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

A transportation document that is the contract of carriage containing the terms and conditions between the shipper and carrier.

Bill of Material (BOM)

A structured list of all the materials or parts and quantities needed to produce a particular finished product, assembly, subassembly, or manufactured part, whether purchased or not.

Bill of Material Accuracy

Conformity of a list of specified items to administrative specifications, with all quantities correct.

Bill of Resources

A listing of resources required by an activity. Resource attributes could include cost and volumes.


A carrier terminal activity that determines the proper rate and total charges for a shipment and issues a freight bill.

Blanket Purchase Order

A long-term commitment to a supplier for material against which short-term releases will be generated to satisfy requirements. Oftentimes, blanket orders cover only one item with predetermined delivery dates. Synonyms Blanket Order, Standing Order.

Blanket Rate

A rate that does not increase according to the distance a commodity is shipped.

Blanket Release

The authorization to ship and/or produce against a blanket agreement or contract.

Blanket Wrap

A service pioneered by the moving companies to eliminate packaging material by wrapping product in padded "blankets" to protect it during transit, usually on "air ride" vans.

Bonded Warehouse

Warehouse approved by the Treasury Department and under bond/guarantee for observance of revenue laws. Used for storing goods until duty is paid or goods are released in some other proper manner.


See Bond, In.


A constraint, obstacle, or planned control that limits throughput or the utilization of capacity.


An enclosed railcar used to transport freight


See Business Performance Measurement (BPM).


See Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).


See Business Process Reengineering (BPR).


To secure a shipment inside a carrier's vehicle to prevent damage.

Bracketed Recall

Recall from customers of suspect lot numbers, plus a specified number of lots produced before and after the suspect ones.


The use of a name, term, symbol, or design, or a combination of these, to identify a product.

Break Bulk Cargo

Cargo that is shipped as a unit or package (for example palletized cargo, boxed cargo, large machinery, trucks) but is not containerized.

Break Bulk Vessel

A vessel designed to handle break bulk cargo.


The separation of a consolidated bulk load into smaller individual shipments for delivery to the ultimate consignee. The freight may be moved intact inside the trailer, or it may be interchanged and rehandled to connecting carriers.

Break-Even Point

The level of production or the volume of sales at which operations are neither profitable nor unprofitable. The break-even point is the intersection of the total revenue and total cost curves.


There are 3 definitions for the term "broker" 1) an enterprise that owns and leases equipment2) an enterprise that arranges the buying & selling of transportation of, goods, or services 3) a ship agent who acts for the ship owner or charterer in arranging charters.

Bucketed System

An MRP, DRP, or other time-phased system in which all time-phased data are accumulated into time periods, or buckets. If the period of accumulation is one week, then the system is said to have weekly buckets.

Buffer Stock

A quantity of goods or articles kept in storage to safeguard against unforeseen shortages or demands.

Build to Inventory

A "push" system of production and inventory management. Product is manufactured or acquired in response to sales forecasts.

Build to Order

A method of reducing inventory by not manufacturing product until there is an actual order from the customer.

Build to Stock

See Build to Inventory.

Bulk Area

A storage area for large items which at a minimum are most efficiently handled by the palletload.

Bulk Cargo

Unpacked dry cargo such as grain, iron ore or coal. Any commodity shipped in this way is said to be in bulk.

Bullwhip Effect

An extreme change in the supply position upstream in a supply chain generated by a small change in demand downstream in the supply chain. Inventory can quickly move from being backordered to being in excess. This is caused by the serial nature of communicating orders up the chain with the inherent transportation delays of moving product down the chain. The bullwhip effect can be eliminated by synchronizing the supply chain.


A group of products that are shipped together as an unassembled unit.


An occurrence where two or more products are combined into one transaction for a single price.

Burn Rate

The rate of consumption of cash in a business. Used to determine cash requirements on an on-going basis. A burn rate of $50,000 would mean the company spends $50,000 a month above any incoming cash flow to sustain its business. Entrepreneurial companies will calculate their burn rate in order to understand how much time they have before they need to raise more money, or show a positive cash flow.

Business Application

Any computer program, set of programs, or package of programs created to solve a particular business problem or function.

Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

A contingency plan for sustained operations during periods of high risk, such as labor unrest or natural disaster. CSCMP provides suggestions for helping companies do continuity planning in their Securing the Supply Chain research. A copy of this research is available on CSCMP's web site at www.cscmp.org.

Business Logistics

The process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, effective flow and storage of goods, services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

The practice of outsourcing non-core internal functions to third parties. Functions typically outsourced include logistics, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and human resources. Other areas can include IT development or complete management of the IT functions of the enterprise.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic organizational improvements.

Business Unit

A division or segment of an organization generally treated as a separate profit-and-loss center.

Business-to-Business (B2B)

As opposed to business-to-consumer (B2C). Many companies are now focusing on this strategy, and their web sites are aimed at businesses (think wholesale) and only other businesses can access or buy products on the site. Internet analysts predict this will be the biggest sector on the web.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

The hundreds of e-commerce web sites that sell goods directly to consumers are considered B2C. This distinction is important when comparing web sites that are B2B as the entire business model, strategy, execution, and fulfillment is different.

Buyer Behavior

The way individuals or organizations behave in a purchasing situation. The customer-oriented concept finds out the wants, needs, and desires of customers and adapts resources of the organization to deliver need-satisfying goods and services.


An enterprise that arranges for the acquisition of goods or services and agrees to payment terms for such goods or services.

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