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What 2020 Taught Us About the Role of Transportation Supply Chain Technology

All of us rely on the transportation supply chain to deliver vital goods to maintain our quality of life. As we turn the page on 2020 and enter a new year, the importance of having a healthy and efficient supply chain was never more apparent than in the year that was 2020.

While we all hope for a more normal 2021, the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how well companies were (or weren’t) positioned to adapt to truly unprecedented operating conditions. According to Forbes, one-third of midsized businesses cited an inability to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace and especially struggled with a lack of coordination between departments. 

So, what is the difference between the companies that falter and those that survive such serious disruptions? While a company’s industry and place in the supply chain are two factors, some companies may simply be better positioned to adapt to disruptions because of the technology they have in place to keep their businesses up and running in the face of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and capacity crunches.

Regardless of where your business falls in the supply chain, having the right technology can go a long way in not only protecting your bottom line in uncertain times but also allowing you to grow and scale your business in more “normal” operating conditions in the months and years ahead.

 

The Benefits of Harnessing the Latest Advances in TMS Software

One place to start is examining the benefits of implementing technology such as a transportation management system (TMS), Advanced TMS software is helping transportation companies of all sizes handle complex tasks such as load planning to settlements to enable more efficient dispatching, delivering and invoicing. 

By relying on a TMS as a key resource for their business, transportation companies can get real-time visibility and control of their operations, allowing for more control in a time when “having control” over anything is a precious commodity.

The impact of 2020 also reinforced the importance of choosing a cloud-based TMS for your transportation operations. Instead of an older, more traditional “on-premise” TMS, moving to the cloud provides several inherent benefits that can serve to optimize your efficiency ‒ both during the pandemic and beyond, including: 

  • Empowering your back office teams to connect to the systems and information they need to be productive, from wherever they work.

  • Simplifying the support process by making VPN tunnels and remote desktop access,  standard components of an on-premise TMS, things of the past and duplicating the work experience of having teams all located in the same physical location even if they aren’t 

 

Supply Chain Visibility and Optimized Fleet Performance Matter

The year 2020 not only demonstrated the importance of technology like a TMS but also the continued need for supply chain visibility. Advances in visibility solutions are designed to help ensure that all stakeholders are aware of where freight is in the supply chain and to empower shippers and carriers to proactively address shipment issues should they arise.

In addition to monitoring freight through the supply chain, 2020 also showed how imperative it is to have access to driver and vehicle data to help optimize the journey. By relying on a fleet mobility system, carriers could more seamlessly navigate the impact of the pandemic to communicate with drivers, monitor the performance and safety of their fleet and make the most of their drivers’ available hours while maintaining compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.

The benefits of vehicle-centric technology goes beyond what happens in the cab, too. Asset maintenance is also a crucial component in keeping a fleet’s trucks and the freight they haul moving. From enabling the seamless flow of information between on-site maintenance personnel and remote workers to eliminating paper-based processes, having a robust asset maintenance system in place was one way that carriers were able to stay efficient and up and running in 2020.

 

 

Streamline Your Supply Chain with Trimble Solutions

It is likely that the transportation supply chain never faced as many challenges as those posed to us in the year 2020. While we are all grateful to close the chapter on what was a trying year, what separated those who succeeded and those who didn’t was often how they used transportation technology to adapt.

Each day, Trimble empowers companies across the supply chain to increase efficiency, improve decision making and maximize productivity. With advanced solutions that enable companies to analyze and optimize all parts of their operations, we are here to help you position your business for continued growth, both today and beyond.

Ready to find out how? Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help you optimize your operations and set your organization up for success in the weeks, months and years ahead.