In the shipping world, transportation management systems (TMS) are ubiquitous. In fact, over the past decade, they have become an essential tool for companies looking for fast and efficient ways to manage their shipping and cut costs. Many shippers who utilize a TMS in shipping may wonder, however, if they're getting the most out of their technology and if there are new options on the market that can provide even greater shipping capabilities.
In this FAQ, we answer questions about the newest developments in TMS technology and explain how these features and capabilities can benefit shippers. We also analyze how to find a 3PL with the right level of technology so you can make informed decisions on how to protect your bottom line.
Why does my business need a transport management system that includes all the latest technology?
Innovative TMS technology uses historical data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and current trends to forecast shipping needs and accurately predict shipment time of arrival. It can also:
- Collect and share data from thousands of carriers
- Automate freight shipping processes
- Manage inbound and outbound freight
- Provide real-time shipment tracking and monitoring
- Identify optimal routes to keep shipments on time
Not every TMS in shipping provides this level of data — which simply means you need to determine how important this information is to your business model. Just remember, an intuitive TMS — along with a leading 3PL — is a shipper's best friend and can help you utilize all this data in meaningful way to drive a competitive advantage for your business.
What technological changes have been made to TMS technology that will improve our supply chain and help us make better decisions?
A TMS is a shipper's hub of transportation activity and source of vital information that helps streamline operations. In fact, over the past couple of years, companies have begun to use advanced levels of shipping data to help them work smarter. Here are three functions you should be utilizing:
- Data, artificial intelligence and machine learning — Makes supply chains more efficient and cost effective while enabling business intelligence for improved decision-making. This will also help with digitization and automation which make your operations more organized, accurate and efficient.
- Predictive analytics —Uses historical data and current trends to learn the type of mode to use; whether using multiple modes would have better outcomes; how fast shipments can be delivered before it's no longer cost-effective; what route to take to avoid risks for time- or temperature-sensitive shipments and more.
- Real-time tracking and tracing — Lets you plan inbound and outbound activities and enhance customer relationships by reassuring on-time pickup and delivery. These technologies also help you bypass carrier capacity issues by granting easier access to more carriers so you can compare prices and services.
What should I look for in an effective transportation management system?
A sophisticated TMS in shipping will help drive supply chain capabilities and improve operational efficiencies. Look for a TMS with the following:
- Carrier contact management and performance visibility
- Digital documentation and storage
- Web portal dashboard capabilities
- Data analytics and customized reporting
- Invoice and audit management
- Automated processes for billing, invoicing and booking shipments
- Real-time tracking and tracing
- Platform integration
- Inbound and outbound transportation management
- Artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities
- Blockchain applications
How can artificial intelligence and machine-learning help my business?
Artificial intelligence and machine learning use historic and real-time data in the TMS to develop algorithms, predict events and identify issues in the supply chain. Shippers gain deep insights and use the information for smarter decision-making.
What's the advantage of cloud-based TMS technology?
Being connected to external systems through the cloud gives you access to freight shipping carriers, logistics solutions and tracking capabilities from any device with internet access. It activates transparency throughout your supply chain so you can streamline the flow of products and anticipate the arrival of inbound freight. It also enables real-time communication and collaboration among shippers, carriers, brokers and customers.
How can a TMS in shipping help drive down costs and bring value to my business?
TMS technology allows you to:
- Compare costs among carriers who handle your type of freight shipping
- See what other carriers charge shippers for the same freight lane
- Find carriers with openings due to a cancellation when capacity is scarce or when you need an immediate turnaround for an unexpected shipment
- Leverage route optimization to learn the best routes based on weather, road closures and traffic and to save on time and travel costs
- Utilize real-time tracking for visibility into inbound and outbound movements so you can better manage dock activities and schedule employees with better precision
Want more information? Learn about 13 KPIs to Track With a Transportation Management System.
GlobalTranz Can Help You Leverage TMS Technology for Better Shipping Outcomes
For more than 30 years, GlobalTranz has been a leading full-service, technology-driven, third-party logistics solutions provider that helps businesses transform the way they manage their shipping. Our TMS empowers shippers to maximize productivity and streamline operations in one easy-to-use shipping platform. Our cloud-based interface allows shippers to rate and shop carriers across multiple modes, optimize routing, create shipping documents, track and tender, and manage the shipment lifecycle from creation through delivery.
We also provide companies of all sizes with transportation solutions including less-than-truckload and full truckload shipping, plus warehousing, management transportation, and supply chain optimization services.
Are you ready to learn more about GlobalTranz and our sophisticated transport management system and shipping industry expertise? Reach out for a free consultation today!