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What You Need to Know About Transportation Management Systems (TMS)
A Transportation Management System, commonly known as a TMS, is something many shippers have come to rely on as the transportation industry turns to technology for an easier, more efficient shipping process. 10 to 15 years ago, relatively few shipping industry professionals used a TMS – especially in the SMB market. Even though much of the industry still relies on outdated paper-based processes, many shippers are discovering the value that a full-featured TMS can offer. Today, shipping businesses of all sizes are discovering that embracing technology is a must, leading to increased TMS adoption.
So, What is a Transportation Management System or TMS?
G2, a top company for business software and services reviews, describes a TMS the following way:
“Transportation management systems (TMS) are designed to integrate with procurement and shipping software to evaluate both inbound and outbound orders and suggest multiple transportation solutions to the user before selecting the best method and most affordable provider. Transportation management systems also provide electronic load tendering and communication tools for choosing between potential carriers. Finally, the TMS implements shipment tracking and tracing to deliver the optimum shipment with the chosen carrier and provides freight audit and settlement of payment.”
In simple terms, a TMS is a is a logistics platform that utilizes technology to assist businesses in planning, fulfilling, and optimizing the transportation of goods. A proper TMS ensures shipments are properly sent and received, and that essential documents (such as PODs and BOLs) are available. This type of system plays a critical role in supply chains, influencing each part of the process—from planning and procurement to logistics and lifecycle management.
The comprehensive visibility provided by a full-featured TMS leads to efficient transportation planning and implementation. Ultimately, this efficiency results in both ease for the shipper and higher customer satisfaction. This customer satisfaction leads to more sales, creating increased business growth. With the competitive retail and e-commerce environment that we live in, it’s more important than ever to have a system in place that allows shippers to quickly and easily navigate shipping processes that can be time consuming and require a great deal of accuracy.
What Can a TMS Really do for Shippers?
Many transportation management systems give shippers the ability to quote, book, and track their freight, in varying capacities. Others have added capabilities, like batch shipping, reporting, advanced data and analytics dashboards, ERP integration, and invoice automation. One of the main reasons shippers use a TMS is for the cost saving opportunities, which allow them to:
- Make smarter shipping decisions with visibility to actionable shipping reports and data – essential in today’s tight-capacity market.
- Eliminate time-consuming, outdated processes like going to multiple sites to quote, using several manifest reports to track and trace, handwriting Bill of Ladings (BOL) and other error-prone documents.
- Providing automatic tracking updates and increasing on-time deliveries.
- Eradicating human errors with auto-generated documents and an automated shipping process.
- Improving communication and sharing of shipment information between departments.
- Allowing shippers to secure capacity and become a shipper of choice in a tight capacity market.
- Ultimately, helping a business thrive and grow!
Why a Digital Carrier-Shipper Connection is Important in a TMS
As mentioned above, not every TMS has delivers the same features and capabilities. Many of the benefits mentioned above are only available via transportation management systems that provide a direct digital connection from the shipper to the carrier.
A powerful transportation management system, like MyCarrierTMS and MyCarrierTMS Pro, establishes a digital API connection between the shipper and carrier. This allows shippers to eliminate the hassle of dealing with a middleman and get pre-negotiated quotes from all their carriers in one system, with a convenient single-page view. The direct connection also enables shippers to send early, accurate shipment information to their carriers, making them more desirable customers for their carriers. Another benefit of a direct API connection? The ability to easily track and trace on one live shipment calendar, receive shipment updates, and get access to in-depth carrier reports that allow for rate negotiations and cost optimizations.
Why Ease-of-Use is a Make or Break in a Transportation Management System
The usability of a TMS is a top factor in determining which system to choose. As mentioned above, many shippers are used to doing things the “old way”. Moving away from familiar, manual processes can seem daunting to many, but a user-friendly TMS will make it easy to adopt new technology that drives a faster, more efficient end-to-end shipping process. A transportation management system should decomplicate shipping operations, rather than increasing the complexity with unintuitive technology.
Being a cloud-based software, rather than one-premise software, contributes to ease-of-use in a TMS and allows location-independent access. On-premise software is installed directly on a computer, and can only be used on that computer. This leads to problems occurring when an old version needs to be updated, and eliminates the possibility of multiple users across various devices.
Others factors that contribute to ease-of-use in a TMS are an effortless account setup and a friendly interface. Users must not only be able to quickly get set up on the platform, but should also have quick access to features and capabilities that create an easy, cost-effective shipping process. Top notch user support is the icing on the cake when it comes to ease of use. Ideally, users should be able to contact a highly responsive customer satisfaction advisor if they have any questions about the platform.
Ultimately, a TMS is a system that companies of varying sizes can use to create an easy and efficient shipping process. Transportation management systems like MyCarrierTMS provide shippers with the visibility needed to control costs, reduce errors, optimize operations, and improve customer service. A powerful TMS also delivers the ability for multiple departments to easily collaborate on the shipping process and share essential shipment information. As a cloud-based platform that connects shippers directly to their carriers, MyCarrierTMS delivers a fast, easy, and cost-effective way to quote, book, track, and manage their shipments – providing the control and visibility needed to succeed as a business.
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