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Transportation Management Systems: Understanding the Benefits of Adding a TMS

We all know what a supply chain does: moves goods from Point A to Point B. At a glance, this may sound simple, but today’s modern supply chain is actually very complex, requiring flexible and scalable solutions that can keep pace with ever-increasing demand. There are many variables that must be considered when shipping thousands of items around the world, and a Transportation Management System (TMS) can help ensure nothing is missed.

At its core, the primary benefit of a TMS is matching demand with capacity. It’s all about pairing the right load with the right driver at the right time – and making that trip in the most efficient manner and at the lowest possible cost.

More specifically, a TMS uses automation to streamline shipping processes and provide valuable insights into where merchandise is within the supply chain, enabling carriers to make better-informed business decisions. Shippers of all sizes can also take advantage of this technology to save money, maximize efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction.

The top benefits of having an intelligent TMS platform include:

Benefit #1: Operational Efficiencies

As your fleet business grows, the volume and complexity of your transportation needs also grows. Having a full-scale management tool in place can help manage that growth. In fact, many major retailers have strict retail compliance policies that can result in major fines for missed deliveries. A TMS helps mitigate risk by providing real-time data that enables you to get in front of potential issues before they become costly mistakes.

A TMS can perform many functions, including managing orders and onboarding customers, as well as many administrative, safety, financial and other tasks. Automating these functions with a TMS reduces work for back-office staff, freeing up their time for more important tasks.

This technology also fosters collaboration between shippers, carriers and brokers, making it easy for them to work together to reduce costs and increase value. For carriers specifically, a TMS can help pinpoint inefficiencies in their network, identify more backhaul opportunities and more readily connect with shippers and freight in their preferred lanes.

Benefit #2: Increase Supply Chain Visibility with Real-Time Data

Having visibility into supply chain operations is a must today. Access to real-time data provides the ability to track drivers and inventory and define and manage processes, while proactively keeping customers informed. For example, a TMS can tell if a driver’s route takes too long, enabling fleet managers to quickly create a more efficient route that gets the goods to their destination as quickly as possible.

A reliable TMS, coupled with data analytics, can also help companies find new opportunities for growth, improve and shorten distribution times. One aspect of Trimble’s TMS is the ability to see real-time shipping information across different modes of transportation, including ocean, rail and truck, as well as “final mile” status.

Benefit #3: Meet Customer Demands

Excellent customer service is a tenet of any business. Add in the particular challenges of this industry and it’s not hard to see what shippers are up against these days. Good customer service in logistics means being able to track shipments and alert customers if orders are delayed.

Providing exceptional customer service and satisfaction sets your company apart from the competition and contributes to brand loyalty.

Benefit # 4: Cost Savings

People make mistakes all the time, but when it comes to shipping, mistakes can cost big money. But a TMS that tracks data online and in real-time can be a big advantage.

Not only can it give you access to real-time data, but that data is housed in a central location so designated employees can quickly get a holistic view of operations. What’s more, a TMS reduces the chance for data-entry errors and also speeds up business decisions.

The Future of TMS: It’s in the Cloud

TMS technology continues to advance to meet the increasing demands of today’s supply chain.  This evolution includes the growth of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions over on-premise software run on local computers.

Cloud-based TMS platforms proactively provide new software releases with automatically managed updates, providing customers with scalable, subscription-based solutions. They’re designed to fit specific needs without having to upgrade the systems manually, and moving to the cloud also enables users to better manage and control their data and integrations.

With so many moving parts to today’s supply chain, integrating various transportation functions for a “one-stop shop” approach is attractive to businesses. Cloud-based TMS users can integrate between multiple vendors, platforms and solutions, providing actionable data and increased visibility, as well as improved collaboration across the entire supply chain. Trimble’s TMW.Suite connects to other platforms as well, including fuel card management, data management, asset tracking HOS and more.

Optimize Your Transportation Management with Trimble

Shippers today need technology solutions that provide visibility across the entire supply chain. Deploying an advanced TMS is the first step to gaining increased operational visibility into a fleet, and a key component for transportation companies that seek to grow and become more efficient in today’s ever-evolving supply chain.

Interested in learning more about how a TMS can fit into your business? Check out Trimble’s portfolio of flexible TMS solutions and how each one is designed to streamline fleet operations and increase operational efficiencies for organizations like yours.