How do you feel about this article? Help us to provide better content for you.
Thank you! Your feedback has been received.
There was a problem submitting your feedback, please try again later.
What do you think of this article?
Today’s freight and logistics leaders must continually evolve their methods to stay competitive in the marketplace. That often means adopting the latest technologies. Many companies now heavily utilize transportation management systems (TMS) to improve workflows and overall outcomes. Let’s explore how this technology has enhanced operational efficiency and see what it’ll do in the near future.
Increasing Real-Time Information With Less Manual Effort
Succeeding in the fast-paced freight and logistics industry requires having accurate information available to improve decision-making. A TMS platform can provide it by making it easier for various parties throughout the supply chain to provide updates as they receive them.
TMS providers must listen to the needs of people at the organizations that use their products. The representatives of Mandata Group, which provides TMS software to the haulage industry, did that when updating the company’s Mandata Go TMS platform. The updated version has a flexible API that lets users link the TMS to any third-party system. Plus, users can do everything in a single TMS rather than working across multiple platforms or tools.
People working at Mandata Group said they heard concerns from small to medium-sized hauliers who increasingly dealt with supply chain challenges. The updated TMS system enables handling planning and job execution across multiple networks and integration with pallet networks. Most importantly, people can send and receive information without making manual updates. This improvement boosts productivity and reduces errors.
The TMS also automatically sends updates between systems. Then, all supply partners stay updated with less manual intervention and fewer duplicate records. Today’s supply chain requires people to work together towards shared goals. A robust and feature-filled TMS platform lets that happen in a more streamlined way, reducing confusion and making record-keeping more convenient.
Supporting Changes in e-Commerce
People increasingly buy things online rather than in stores. Even when consumers ultimately get their products from physical locations, there’s often an online element involved. A shopper might browse for and choose the desired item on a website, then pick it up in a store.
Pat Martin, the corporate vice president of sales at Estes Express Lines, says his less-than-truckload carrier now more frequently deals with dropshipping direct from vendors and final-mile deliveries.
Previously, delivering goods directly to retail stores was common, but e-commerce is changing that. Martin explained that shippers want to know precisely where their products are at any given time. Plus, if problems emerge, they need details about resolution timeframes and methods. Fortunately, a transportation management system can provide that information and more.
Many TMS tools on the market also have automation potential, allowing users to do things like match loads to available trucks and secure the best rates for their needs. Many professionals in the logistics and freight sector feel compelled to use TMS platforms for the first time due to benefits like these. Other professionals report they’re looking for alternative TMS products due to discontinued support from their current options.
The rise in e-commerce often means shipped goods change hands more frequently than they previously did when shopping in stores was more common. A TMS platform simplifies keeping up with parcels as they move between companies and locations. Then, the products are more likely to reach their destinations on time and in excellent condition.
Enabling Optimized Processes
Executives in the freight and logistics space must continually improve their operations to stay competitive. Many identify the paths for doing that by using modelling and simulation tools. Those offer risk-free ways to experiment with tweaking operations or seeing how certain scenarios might play out. Testing those situations in real life could take from days to months. However, many simulation tools generate them in mere minutes.
Once people understand where room for improvement exists in their processes, they can transform those insights into action. A transportation management system can make process changes easier to implement across an organization. Making the switch to a TMS for the first time is often easier than many users expect. That’s because many offerings are cloud-based and offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. People can access data from anywhere and not worry about costs associated with hardware-based implementations.
TMS platforms also sync with internet of things (IoT) sensors, giving users better visibility. If parcels get dropped, stored in the wrong temperature range, or otherwise handled incorrectly, IoT sensors monitor those events and alert the appropriate parties.
If a TMS platform has route-optimization features, it could let drivers spend more time at home with their families instead of out on the road. That benefit would make it easier to hire and retain professional truckers. IntelliTrans recently introduced the Kiosk feature within its TMS-linked mobile app.
The app pushes information about incoming trucks to the entrance guard at a warehouse or similar facility before those vehicles arrive. This process improvement can save a half-hour or more and is safer for drivers because they no longer have to get out of their trucks to speak to guards. The kiosk also gives drivers real-time information about their position in a facility’s queue. Those useful updates prepare them for when it’s their turn to unload.
Nurturing Relationship-Building in the Industry
A TMS can also help freight and logistics leaders keep track of which partners consistently give the most reliable service. Then, it’s easier to prioritize building and maintaining those relationships rather than working with untrusted entities.
Some TMS platforms also have lane-preference information and smart parameters, ensuring carriers get the kinds of loads they want and increasing the likelihood of satisfying experiences for everyone involved. Jordan Reber, the executive vice president of ARL Logistics, sees long-term carrier relationships as mutually beneficial. His company began using a capacity management tool with an existing TMS.
That decision paid off because, within six months, it caused an increase of almost 25% in the number of carriers that took at least 20 of the company’s loads. The company also had a margin gain surpassing 10% on the carriers in that group.
Additionally, a one-month analysis showed that nearly 9% of loads came through the TMS booking system. Then, over a 90-day period, 17% of quotes converted to loads that got digitally processed with the technology. This example highlights the importance of making it as easy as possible for logistics companies and carriers to work together. The right TMS product can support such business relationships and build positive reputations.
Promoting Marketplace Resilience
These are some of the many reasons why decision-makers at logistics and freight companies increasingly realize they must at least consider using TMS solutions to meet goals. The platforms let business representatives respond to challenges, act with greater confidence and identify practical ways to enhance operations.