What Makes a Great Transport Management System?

Transportation Management System has always been a boon to transportation companies. It is a system which puts transportation from the point of pick-up to the point of destination in a reliable manner. TMS encompasses solutions for moving freight in all modes and also includes intermodal movements. The TMS processes include freight transported inbound or outbound, domestically or internationally; using transportation assets owned either by the company or an outside service provider. The freight managed by a TMS ranges in size from parcels to bulk commodities.

Transportation management system offers many benefits like increased customer service to start with. Also, TMS helps in in warehouse efficiency. The you use your transportation management system the more you decrease time on freight management and more time working on other projects such as warehouse duties. It also helps your company to deliver new capabilities and helps in the reduction of inventories. Last but not the least, TMS helps in the improvement of cash flow. Now that you have realized the importance of TMS, you need to make sure you implement it as soon as possible. We bring to you a list of the features that are a must-have in a TMS:

1. Support for international movements

Previously, TMS concentrated on domestic moves. But in today’s global economy, most companies will need a program that can also select air or ocean carriers and manage international shipments. After all, it depends on the volume of your transportation to either domestic or international markets.

2. Support for parcel shipping

Early versions of TMS were geared toward truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) moves, the predominant modes of shipping at the time. But patterns have changed over the years. A lot of customers have now begun demanding smaller, more frequent shipments from their suppliers. The result has been a shift toward parcel shipping.

3. Ability to handle freight settlement

The logistics manager’s job doesn’t end once the freight has been loaded onto the vehicle. There are still invoices to be reconciled and bills to be paid at the end of the cycle.

4. Make sure your system help to plan shipments in advance

Shipment planning ahead of time will save time and costs. Some shipments can be consolidated, routed differently, modified, etc. The best TMS software will alert managers for better shipment plans, as well as help create them. Furthermore, as transport capacities tighten due to driver shortages and new hours of service limits, the ability to book capacity in advance will be essential.

5. TMS should manage freight in tandem with inventory policies and locations

Not all moves are from the same origin (e.g., plant or distribution center) to the same destinations, either daily or weekly. The TMS can be used along with inventory positioning and allocations in order to minimize the total supply chain costs, which can add up to more than the cost of freight alone.

6. Ability to provide business intelligence

In addition to handling routine shipping tasks, more and more TMSs these days have the capability to analyze the user’s shipping practices and identify opportunities for improvement. They do this by capturing data and using it to develop key performance indicators (KPIs)—metrics showing how an operation is performing in areas like on-time delivery or damage in transit.

Lastly, shippers and intermediaries be wary of when evaluating TMS options. The two primary reasons of concern are ease of integration and data security. Shrink-wrapped TMS applications are common, so prospective buyers need to conduct proper due diligence when comparing different options. Your TMS should be able to make changes easily and integrate properly with an ERP system.

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