Transportation Management Systems (TMS), sometimes called Logistics Supply Chain Management Platforms are used by companies involved with the planning, execution, and optimization of the movement of goods, both incoming and outgoing. Another role of the systems is to ensure compliance of all the required paperwork and documentation. Transportation Management Systems will typically integrate with larger Supply Chain Management systems to improve the flow of data upwards.
In short, TMS provides visibility into day-to-day transportation operations, trade compliance information, and documentation, and ensures the timely arrival of freight and goods.
Fleet Management Software
DOTReady is a fleet management company that enables motor carriers to keep up to date and accurate records for drivers, assets, and back office operations. Backed by a dedicated administrative staff that is available for all of your company’s questions and concerns regarding fleet compliance and operational safety processes.
Why it’s Important to Have a Transportation Management System
Transportation management systems play a key role in supply chains managed by the fastest-growing companies. Every part of the process—from planning and procurement to logistics and lifecycle management flows through the TMS. The broad and deep visibility afforded by a powerful system leads to more efficient transportation planning and execution, which results in higher customer satisfaction.
Transportation management systems are also critical to the compliance of logistics companies. TMS systems store vehicles, employees, and company documentation and data, that is ultimately used to maintain the compliance of day-to-day operations over long periods. These systems help to ensure that the right information is accessible and conveniently available to supervisors and admin staff regardless of local.
TMS Availability Trends
Businesses in nearly every industry, from transportation to life sciences, use a transportation management system. Conventionally, the primary users were businesses spending $100 million or more annually on freight, but the availability of cloud-based TMS solutions like DOT-Ready.com has made it more affordable for smaller businesses to take advantage of the benefits afforded by having a transportation management system available throughout the company.
How TMS Helps Companies
A TMS can help most businesses plan, execute, and optimize the movement of goods, all while ensuring compliance and accurate cost reporting along the way.
A TMS allows companies to quickly make decisions around the movement of assets, team member availability, maintenance requirements, and licensing/permit compliance.
Some of the more modern TMS providers also can execute chains of logic that can supplement the need to have real people in certain job positions. For example, a TMS might be able to trigger a notification in the cab of a truck with information that makes planning the route ahead a simpler task.
In the past, and for many smaller companies to this day, drivers would be responsible for making judgments in real-time during their route. Deciding what highways to take, trailer loading sequences, load balancing, etc. The problem was that the numbers wouldn’t be settled until the trip was over. Today, however, companies can benefit from having software guide decisions that could mean double-digit percentage increases in efficiency on a trip-by-trip basis.
The long-term benefits afforded make it easy for executives to project KPIs for critical strategic decisions. These include:
- Fuel Cost & Efficiency
- Driver Route Oversight and Management
- Asset Maintenance Procedures
TMS in the Cloud
Before the cloud was a thing, companies relied on expensive contracts with massive tech companies to store their data. With the expansion of the internet, access to tools has become as easy as knowing how to access a website.
Today, there is software that can double or even triple the operational efficiency of certain departments internally within the first month of use. The demand for cloud-based systems is driving a lot of competition in the market allowing for many options to choose from.
Digital Assistants & Outsourcing is Becoming Mainstream
A primary cause for the demand stems from the awareness of and growing access to virtual assistants. With changes in work norms, many companies are moving to more diversified workforces that work partially or entirely remote. It is the advancing construction of TMS that enables supervisors to better control and maintain the work coming from remote workers.
Adaptive Technology and Machine Learning
Enhanced artificial intelligence enables TMS providers to more accurately make informed recommendations, such as alternate delivery routes during high traffic periods. By applying machine learning to historical data and trends, transportation management systems can predict transit time more accurately, plan capacity, identify at-risk shipments, guide vendor decisions, and much more.
Blockchains Adding ‘Permanence‘
Blockchains allow data to be stored on ‘quasi-permanent ledgers’ that keep the original data intact somewhat indefinitely. Blockchain technology increases transparency and traceability across supply chains. Some public blockchains enable independent developers to build new models around previously hidden data. Allowing for the discovery and release of new solutions in real-time; as opposed to after the sometimes 1+ year-long production time frame that companies like IBM or Oracle stick to.
Additional Benefits of TMS
A TMS—and modernized transportation management in general—provides many benefits that can be the difference between profitable years and unprofitable ones. Some of the main benefits are:
- Simplification of supply chain processes, modes, and carriers
- Real-time automation of business operations
- Improvement in visibility and security of goods
- Fewer manual steps result in fewer delays and faster delivery
- The ability to track freight and compliance processes
- More accurate compliance, minimizing penalties and shipment delays
- Faster business insights lead to faster action and process improvement
- Improvements in customer satisfaction with real-time data and fewer delays
- The ability to make high-level business strategy decisions that point companies towards specific destinations with solutions for hurdles available along the way