Transportation management systems (TMS) are becoming an even more critical player in the transport and shipping industry, and they are changing the face of supply chain management. More and more companies are turning to a TMS to help them save and grow everyday, but not all shipping companies have jumped on board this new trend; not yet. However, with the right TMS, there are great benefits to integrating a transportation management system to help run your supply chain regardless of whether you ship parcel, less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload (TL) freight, or a combination of it all. Here are a few TMS benefits that could make managing your supply chain much easier:
- Big Savings and a Big Return on Investment
Getting a big return on investment (ROI) is important in the business world, and in the shipping industry, if you adopt the right TMS, a satisfying ROI will follow shortly. This happens predominantly because of the savings that the proper transportation management system is capable of finding for you. For example, some TMSs will review all of their clients’ invoices from the past year, as well as carrier agreements. From there they find which invoices were incorrect, and will file for refunds with the carrier for you so that you get back those unnecessarily lost expenditures. After that the TMS will keep track of all incorrectly invoiced shipments, keep an eye out for billing overcharges, unnecessary accessorials, and monitor contract compliance to ensure that discounts are properly in place for the three primary types of shipping (parcel, LTL, and TL). In addition to those savings, a good transportation management system will give you greater control over spending by negotiating carrier rates and ensuring not only affordable shipping rates, but to give you options. Though there are more ways a TMS can save money, all of these savings tactics will lead to a big ROI.
- Increased Supply Chain Efficiency
The key to supply chain management is making it run as efficiently as possible. Utilizing a TMS can lessen the load on your workers by taking care of a lot of things for you giving you more time to focus on the bigger picture of your company. When it comes to shipping, efficiency is truly vital. Benefits that a TMS can provide to increase supply chain efficiency are things like more efficient routing options and scheduling pickups and deliveries. These save time and money, and increase customer satisfaction while keeping your operation running without a hitch. Another efficient aspect of TMS is storing information and allowing for logistics automation. You can be more efficient by spending less time with data entry, but also aiding in data entry error prevention which can save a company from making costly mistakes and keeping a their supply chain running at full speed.
- Real-Time Access to Information and Analysis
While there are immediate benefits to implementing a TMS into your company’s shipping operations, like allowing you and other involved parties to see where a shipment is at any moment, there are long term gains, too. Of course the cost cutting measures and desired quick ROI is always nice, but a TMS also gives you the ability to analyze information long term. A good cloudbased transportation management system will store information about your shipments, carriers, customers, etc., and provide you with some analysis of all that raw shipping data. This will allow you to see where improvements can be made. You can see what carriers you’re using most frequently, what rates were, if that provider usually delivers on time, and more. The ability to go over this information can lead to important decisions for your company, like maybe the cheapest carrier rate doesn’t mean it is the best rate for satisfied customers. The information and analysis a TMS provides makes maintaining your supply chain easier and more efficient, which of course leads to savings and a large return on your investment.
- Greater Shipment Visibility for You and the Customer
In the shipping industry, the freight you’re shipping is an obvious priority, and a solid transportation management system will allow you to keep an eye on it from when it’s picked up to when it’s delivered, and at all times in-between. With a cloud based TMS, however, this increase in visibility isn’t just for you. All involved parties can have access to the relevant documents and information with the click of a button. What adds to this is knowing the right TMS will give you the same benefits for inbound shipments, as well. Not only will this be able to provide peace of mind for you and the customer, but it ties into the rest of the above benefits. Because you have the ability and visibility to keep track of your shipment, you can tell if your carrier is the best fit for your supply chain. If they continue to deliver late or incur additional charges, you can use the TMS to look at your rate options through other providers and find places where you can save money allowing for a greater ROI.
In the end, all of these benefits are intertwined, because that’s what transportation management systems do. They take all the information needed for effective supply chain management and put it in one place where you can easily access all the data, analyze it, and make the important and tough logistics decisions you need to make a little less stressful. With technology becoming an increasingly important factor in supply chain management for shipping companies, if you’re considering transitioning to use one, it is important to find the best one. Look around to see which offers the greatest benefits for your situation, and if you choose to use one, carefully manage how your company adapts to the change, but in no time you’ll be seeing just how great the benefits of TMS can be.