New, innovative technology platforms have greatly sped the expansion and evolution of transportation as well as logistic solutions. Most notably are we seeing technology platforms that improve and simplify the users by means of integrating partners and using collected data. In today’s post, we talk about the 5 main benefits derived from the use of SaaS TMS and introduce what we call a Hybrid SaaS TMS. The transportation management system, or often referred to as TMS, is a great example of how this technology is being used to create a more interconnected space both digitally and physically.
What is SaaS TMS & Introducing Hybrid SaaS TMS
SaaS TMS or software-as-a-service TMS is an environment in which customers and customer partners can access shared solutions over the internet. The transportation feature functionalities can be compared to what many recognize as on premise solutions. To be clear, at Cerasis, our TMS, the Cerasis Rater, is not a pure SaaS TMS offering, only due to the fact that we also offer services that happen outside of the TMS such as carrier relations & rate negotiations, freight accounting services, freight claims, and other services. We call this SaaS TMS model Hybrid SaaS TMS
The thing that makes software-as-a-service different is that rather than working solo within your own brick and mortar organization, customers and their partners can now take part as a community in order to find real, workable solutions.
A carrier becomes established in the network, and is then connected to any appropriate partners. Through hosted applications, the carrier must integrate with users separately. This type of connectivity develops a competitive advantage in certain areas.
One of those areas would be cost structure. Because SaaS is sold as a service rather than a product, the users’ ROI is increased and is also generally seen much sooner. The ROI can be seen much sooner because the process moves from implementation, integration and optimization in the most efficient way possible. Expensive upgrades are non-existent which is both money saving as well as time saving.
The second area of benefit is scalability. Scalability in the transportation management industry is simple yet often hard to come by. Scalability can often be defined as having quick access to needed carriers which are already in the network. This type of ease gives users a greater ability to flex to demand, bring on new customers, suppliers, upgrade service or bring on new carriers.
Accessibility would be another benefit. When there are more partners integrated onto one technology platform that will mean that there is more data streaming over the network. Each user will benefit because they have access to a better grouping of applicable, accurate information. This also assists with reporting and benchmarking purposes as the data will provide business intelligence. This information can then be shared between the users within the network. This type of collaboration also creates greater value for all involved.
Visibility is probably one of the most important aspects of integration of an enterprise in using a SaaS TMS. When all partners are working on the same platform environment it creates greater visibility to all shipping locations which in turn increases communication. When each party is aware of what happening, how it is happening, when it is happening and why it is happening then efficiency is increased and team pulling is increased as well. This type of highly visible environment also allows data so that performance metrics can operate in a more efficient and powerful way.
Visibility is closely linked with collaboration. When there is greater visibility then businesses will share data faster. All parties involved, whether they are vendors, carriers, or shippers, will be able to collaborate and work via the extensive networks to share assets and create an economy of scale.
When SaaS TMS is leveraged by shippers it can propel sudden and important changes within the organization. An example might be a retailer who is managing inbound transportation. If there are problems with visibility and the retailer wants to reduce inventory but increase supply chain flow in most cases facility expansion would be needed.
Shippers can leverage SaaS TMS to unleash rapid and significant change throughout the organization. For example, consider a retailer that is managing inbound transportation, but has problems with visibility and wants to reduce inventory and increase supply chain flow without expanding facilities for warehousing. However, when carriers or vendors are brought on through SaaS TMS technology the retailer could instead track shipments and through the greater visibility afforded him keep better track of supply and demand, reduce stock that is kept for safety and in the end reduce warehousing and transportation expenses. That is how SaaS works. By increasing the amount of information available to each individual in the process, unnecessary steps can be avoiding, business can be conducted in a more efficient and economical way.
How SaaS TMS is Different
In order to understand why SaaS is different than other technology platforms you should look at the deployment methods it uses.
SaaS technology uses a platform that the customer can access via the “cloud.” This cloud platform supports a network which is multi-tenanted allowing many business partners to integrate using the same technology. Hosted technology differs from SaaS technology in this respect because it is only accessed on demand and does not allow the multi-tenanted landscape. SaaS also differs from on premise technology which is installed and ran on each individual customer’s hardware and devices. This requires additional resources and expense to maintain databases and infrastructure.