Memphis-based Dunavant Logistics Group having fun with the language of logistics

February 4th, 2013

Memphis residents live in a place that specializes in warehousing and distributing products.

But do locals know what a 3PL is, or the difference between logistics and supply chain?

The city's huge logistics industry has its own dense language, which one company is using as a foil to help separate from the pack.

Dunavant Logistics Group has just launched a website, logisticslingo.com, for a marketing campaign that pokes fun in an interactive way at its own industry's nomenclature.

"Ever feel like the logistics industry has more long-winded terminology than a crossdocked goose-neck chassis has destuffed LTL intermodal carriers?" the site asks.

"Next thing you know, even your job title could be logistified."

The site invites readers to click on a button that randomly assigns them their own confusing job title.

Among the made-up titles that pop up with each click: Assistant Customer Safety Advocate, Lead Sustainable Execution Principal, Assistant Renewable Solutions Specialist, Assistant Intermodal Freight Forwarding Expert, Assistant Tactical Food Safety Assessor, Junior Industrial Resources Supplier, Managing Renewable Customer Service Liaison and Assistant Intermodal Customer Service Auditor.

"It's a little overwhelming if I'm a (customer)," said Mark Genereaux, whose own title at Dunavant is more straightforward: vice president for business development and marketing.

The logistics company strives to keep things simple, Genereaux said.

"Getting stuff from here to there can be complex and exasperating from time to time," he said. "What we try to do here is focus on keeping it simple."

The advertising firm Doug Carpenter & Associates helped Dunavant develop a marketing theme about simplicity. "When we first started we did a great deal of research," Doug Carpenter said. "The whole industry has its own vocabulary. It seemed to be layered with a lot of extraneous things."

Dunavant, he said, "didn't seem to wrap themselves in all the vernacular that seems to confuse and muddle things."

Genereaux said a logistics company must do three things well: Move freight; move information about the freight; and move money, as in paying carriers, invoicing carriers, paying custom fees, duties and taxes.

The new website is a fun way to send a message that keeping things simple is the better way.

"If we're not having fun, we're not doing it right," Genereaux said.

As for "3PL," that means third party logistics, which occurs when a shipper uses another company to move freight, he said. It's a type of outsourcing.

And "logistics" is the activity of moving freight, while "supply chain" is the strategy of moving things where they need to be, he said.

Read this article at the Commercial Appeal.