Transportation management systems (TMSs) are not a new concept, but where they are hosted now, in the cloud, is still new to the shipping industry. The cloud offers unique benefits to shippers, vendors, customers and logistics providers. Traditional challenges, like managing updates, integration between different systems and multi-location deployment, can be overcome through cloud-based TMS, reports Merrill Douglas of Inbound Logistics. Of course, the reasons for keeping the TMS in the cloud go beyond being easier for their providers.
Cloud-Based TMS Enables Management of Software From a Central Location.
The basic benefit and reason for the cloud-based deployment of a TMS lies in storing information in a central location. This allows the provider to manage updates without disrupting user access. In turn, user access can be maintained and expanded through cloud-based scalability, ensuring all users can access the system without interruption. New features can be deployed automatically, eliminating traditional constraints on internal IT departments and remote customer service centers.
Eliminates the Need to Store Equipment, Servers, and Software in Your Building.
Since the management of the system is accomplished remotely, shippers do not have to worry about storing equipment, software, and servers in their building. This includes physical and digital storage requirements. Computer terminals do not require updates for the TMS to function, and the ability to scale up or down operations is maintained.
Cloud-Based Solutions Require Less Investment to Maintain and Deploy, Translating Into Decreased Adoption Costs for New Users.
The savings in deployment and maintenance result in direct cost reductions for users. Shippers looking to invest in a TMS can access lower-than-ever rates, and they can avoid high-cost investment through TMS-as-a-Service platforms, like the Cerasis Rater. Moreover, the TMS can be accessed from any internet-enabled device, including mobile technology. This means managing shipments and inventory can be simplified and taken with you, giving you renewed freedom in operating your business.
Cloud-Based Solutions Let Even the “Smaller, Newer” Companies Compete With Established Companies.
There is a stereotype in shipping; bigger business means low-cost shipping rates and better deals with carriers. Yet, deploying a cloud-based TMS in your company levels the playing field, so businesses of any size can take advantage of unique, possible discounted rates in carrier selections and accessorial features, reports Bridget McCrea of Logistics Management magazine. Historically, TMSs were out of reach for companies moving less than $100 million in freight, but cloud-based systems give everyone a fair chance at the best rates. Even adding freight insurance, consolidating freight and intermodal shipments can be realized at lower costs than your company may have previously faced.
Cybersecurity Is More Important Than Ever, and Cloud-Cybersecurity Is Stronger Than Ever.
The cloud is also a resource for improving cybersecurity in your operation. Cybersecurity is among the top priorities for businesses operating in virtual environments because a simple shipment may contain enough information for those with malicious intent to discredit your company and become nightmares for your customers. However, cloud-based TMS solutions mean that the provider’s cyber security measures take priority to protect users’ information, eliminating cybersecurity risks along the way. Moreover, penetration testing by providers ensures the cloud remains secure to even the most advanced of hackers.
Cloud-Computing Uses Real-Time Data to Process Analytics and Provide Superior Insight.
Analytics use information to derive insightful, actionable ways to improve efficiency in the supply chain. For the applications of a TMS, the connected nature of the cloud uses real-time data in algorithms and cross-sectional analyses to define the most elusive of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Furthermore, the expansion capacity of the cloud redefines forecasting standards to generate the most accurate and responsive KPIs for your business. Thus, you can rest assured your inventory predictions and visibility will continue to grow in accuracy and precision.
Less Time Spent on Data Back-Ups.
Remember when a power outage meant complete system reboots and downtime to both customers- and vendor-facing sides of your company? Those days are over with the power of the cloud in TMSs. Cloud-based systems are dispersed through multiple data centers, ensuring continued operation and access to data regardless of what nature throws at you.
Even wide scale power outages or adverse events, like those of 9/11, can be overcome by cloud-based technologies in your TMS. In other words, you have an automated data backup that will be accessible through thick and thin. Your customers and vendors will not see changes in operation because of lost internet connectivity or power in one part of your service area. Even if your computers fail, you can access the information with spending countless hours restoring data. You simply log in and go.
In a Nutshell.
Cloud-based TMS solutions are an integral part of modern shipping, promoting efficiency, cost reduction and a better understanding of critical supply chain functions. Your competitors are using it! Now is the time to think about why having a TMS stuck in the cloud is the safety net and solution your company needs.