Now what exactly was …? The world of logistics is full of technical terms, and new terms are constantly being added. Our glossary explains them all in a nutshell. If a term you are looking for is not listed here, please don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be happy to add your technical term to our list.

Entries beginning with «r»


Charge per unit of freight for a specific service.


Re-insourcing is the reversal of the outsourcing process, i.e. on expiry of an outsourcing contract, the customer that issued the contract takes over from the external service provider and resumes in-house provision of the service. This frequently happens when the customer realises that the former in-house provision of the service was actually more cost-effective and efficient than the outsourcing.


A real-time system is one that allows immediate response to external events. The term is often used in relation to tracking, for example a system that makes it possible for a customer to see exactly where his cargo is right at this moment. 

› cf. Tracking and Tracing


Non-acceptance of e.g. cargo.

Returns logistics

Returns logistics is particularly important in the mail-order sector, where consignments are often “returned”, i.e. goods are sent back to the retailer. This might be because of defects or dissatisfaction with the product (under the retailer’s take-back guarantee). For retailers, returns logistics pose particular challenges. The goods have to be repaired or replaced swiftly, or their value has to be credited to the customer as soon as possible. The returned goods have to be examined, repackaged and returned to stock. So far, these processes have been difficult to automate, and flexible work schedules have also posed problems. Initial pilot projects with RFID chips are already running in the USA, and this technology may help to improve returns logistics in future. 

› cf. RFID

Reverse logistics

Reverse logistics refers to the process of collecting, transshipping and transporting unneeded, damaged, used or end-of-life goods and their packaging for repair, recycling, or disposal. The term also covers the return of reusable transport items like pallets, containers etc. to a point upstream in the supply chain.

Radio Frequency Identification

The RFID system locates and identifies goods, load units or means of transport which carry special electronic tags via radio signals. Means of transport and goods can be tracked along the entire supply chain by means of RFID smart labels equipped with transponders. RFID technology promises to help to increase productivity and optimize warehouse utilization, and to cut administrative costs. 

› cf. Transponder

Risk management

Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and (or) impact of unfortunate events. Risks can come from project failures, legal liabilities, accidents, natural causes and disasters as well as deliberate attacks from an adversary. Methods, definitions and goals vary widely according to whether the risk management method is in the context of project management, security, engineering, industrial processes, actuarial assessments, or public health and safety.

Road freight

Road freight denotes the transportation of goods by road. Road freight can be differentiated into private carriage and transports for a company's own purposes (short-haul road freight), on the one hand, and commercial road freight transported by specialised logistics service providers (long-haul road freight). Commercial road freight encompasses domestic, cross-border and through transports. When a consignment crosses a national border on its way from the shipper to the recipient, this is called a bilateral transport. If the consignment crossed more than one border, the term applied is through transport.


The process for arranging the course of direction of goods for transport.