Supply chain management and transportation management systems run the gamut from1980s-era systems to modern cloud platforms. Chain.io was built to integrate your TMS to any platform, regardless of the era it was built in, with ease.
What is TMS?
What is TMS? TMS is the abbreviation for transportation management system, a software program that is designed to centralize and organize transportation data. This logistics platform leverages the power of technology to ensure that businesses can efficiently manage the complexities of day-to-day transportation needs — from planning to execution.
TMS software is designed for businesses that are seeking a transportation management solution to streamline operations and increase cost savings. A TMS plays an integral role throughout supply chain integration and management. Through automation, a TMS supports cohesion from the initial planning stages and procurement of goods to logistics and lifecycle management.
One of the primary features of a transportation management system is the enhanced visibility that it provides shippers of various sizes and industries, manufacturers, distributors, and logistics service providers.
Using insights from TMS software, a shipper may be able to determine where the freight is located along a route and better plan for its arrival. This type of transparency can contribute to customer satisfaction among receivers of goods. It can help them determine if freight is on a timely schedule or is being delayed.
A TMS also provides the insights needed to analyze internal processes, and identify weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
Transportation management software is also be used to determine if a business is compliant with shipping and trade policies and regulations. Governments globally, including the United States, have import and export guidelines that must be followed by businesses that engage in shipping via land, water, or air.
On a day-to-day basis, companies use TMS integration to help them reach the following goals:
- Optimize the planning of routes
- Improve shipping efficiency
- Enhance real-time supply chain visibility
- Provide insights about trade policies
- Better track shipments
- Improve the management of carriers
- Anticipate network demands
- Automate various processes
- Reduce expenses
Why Use TMS
To understand why integrating your data to a TMS is essential to competing as a freight forwarder today, it is important to explore how transportation management software has transformed the supply chain, logistics, and transportation industry in recent decades.
The impact has been far-reaching for the functions included throughout the lifecycle of a load — from planning to final delivery and reporting.
The following transportation management system examples outline the benefits of using the software, including streamlined load planning and execution, supply chain visibility, and KPI tracking and analytics.
Load planning: The benefits of TMS system logistics during the load planning stages include accurately assessing the maximum capacity of each truckload, outlining optimal routes for each destination, and quickly reviewing and understanding cargo types.
With more traditional forms of load planning, employees have to calculate that same information manually.
With more insights about factors like loads, destinations, cargo types, and truck capacity, a load planner can more quickly optimize each vehicle with the right loads for each destination. This also assists with compliance with weight and other regulatory requirements.
Freight tracking: Many companies use TMS software to increase customer satisfaction, particularly with the freight tracking aspects of transportation operations. Businesses can give customers real-time information on when deliveries will arrive to their destinations as well as provide up-to-the-minute updates on the status of deliveries.
Reporting: Employees also can use TMS systems to efficiently manage KPI tracking and analytics. TMS integrations provide more data insights, including analytics about internal and external factors; updates about delays in shipping; and details about efficiencies gained through select processes and procedures. Data analysis provided through a transportation management system can equip teams to make informed decisions on areas of the delivery process that need to be improved.
TMS Software Providers
While transportation management systems are fairly new, dating back to around 2010, numerous TMS companies have emerged as leaders in the field of transportation.
The TMS software providers that have excelled at TMS solutions logistics include companies like Cargowise, Magaya, BluJay, and Descartes. When considering TMS solutions to advance their operations, many leading companies have partnered with these providers for the following reasons:
Cargowise TMS: Whether a company's operations include transporting freight through air, ocean, road, or rail, Cargowise supports clients in the execution of complex logistics transactions and the management of various aspects of processes. Cargowise implements an easy-to-use platform that maximizes visibility.
With Cargowise's solutions, companies can quickly get critical, relevant information, including routes, accurate departure and arrival information, respective pricing, global trade compliance updates, international forwarding insights, optimization, and warehousing information..
Magaya TMS: Magaya Supply Chain offers a comprehensive logistics and supply chain management solution for a wide range of needs, including optimized shipping and freight forwarding, accounting, warehousing, and purchase orders.
With Magaya's offerings, companies can exchange data in real time as well as manage all logistics from a single system. The solution streamlines various responsibilities, including creating freight quotes, filling out customs documents, data entry, and executing warehouse management procedures.
Descartes TMS: Descartes also delivers an extensive list of solutions to optimize a company's freight and transportation operations, including transportation management, logistics services, B2B connectivity, customs, and regulatory compliance, eCommerce shipping and fulfillment, warehouse management, global price management, digital customer experience, real-time visibility, and route planning and optimization.
BluJay TMS: BluJay Customs USA, which is part of the E2open family, has decades of experience with U.S. customs, attributable to its reputation for having one of the leading customs management solutions. The company also improves efficiencies through data-driven insights that are readily available through its applications. Clients use its best-in-class, cloud-based solutions to automate and optimize their operations.
Who Uses a TMS
Users of TMS software can vary widely, since transportation and shipping are at the core of most businesses and industries, including automotive, eCommerce, food, computer, construction, and manufacturing.
However, some of the most common purchasers of transportation management systems are 3PL and 4PL companies, also known as third-party logistics service providers and fourth-party logistics service providers.
Business owners are increasingly using 3PL companies as partners in their SCM solutions — or supply chain management.
The convenience they offer can be expansive. A third-party logistics company usually stores inventory on behalf of its clients. They also can offer packing and shipping services. Many manufacturing companies find this to be an invaluable relationship to ensure customers' orders are fulfilled by a trusted fulfillment partner.
These 3PL customers often rely on TMS software to ensure that they are reliably meeting customer expectations for shipping processes.
Supply chain management (SCM) software is designed to help companies meet customer demand in an efficient, cost-effective manner by tracking the strategic movement of products and materials from their original source to the factory, warehouse, store, customer, and through return or disposal.
A 4PL provider also is key to supply chain operations for business partners. However, unlike 3PL providers who manage only part of the process, a 4PL provider serves as a business partner's main point of contact for all aspects of a business's supply chain operations. Responsibilities ranging from infrastructure to strategy and management are all outsourced to the 4PL provider. As a result, these providers also heavily rely on TMS for their processes.
Another major entity that uses a TMS is NVOCC, which stands for a non-vessel operating common carrier, essentially an ocean carrier that provides transportation services. An NVOCC operates by leasing steamships from companies to manage shipments from customers with cargo. A TMS can be critical in ensuring that an NVOCC is operating more efficiently.
Integrate a TMS
Most users of transportation management systems realize their fullest potential with the integration of various software that addresses specific needs throughout the various phases of the global supply chain.
With Excel spreadsheets and other manual forms of managing data, companies run the risk of duplicating orders and incorrectly entering numbers and information. Even when using a transportation management system, entering data manually can lead to errors.
Software solutions that integrate TMS can significantly optimize the supply chain of a company's operations by reducing or entirely eliminating errors and gaining manpower efficiencies.
Some areas that benefit from software integration with TMS, include the following:
Milestone automation: This software allows companies to manage the milestones in their projects and processes through automation. With milestone automation, a company can ensure that employees can accurately project the time it will take to complete each phase of the transportation process, from start to finish. The insights gained through a TMS integration into milestone automation allow for seamless, accurate planning and scheduling, ensuring that employees, partners, and clients stay informed.
Warehouse management: Companies can keep their warehouse operations running smoothly through TMS integrations with warehouse management systems. These integrations allow teams to work more efficiently in managing the day-to-day operations of warehouses, from receiving and organizing the space to scheduling, inventory management, and fulfillment.
Freight operations: Integrations of TMS into freight management software can help teams better manage shipments throughout all stages, including insights into documentation, managing routes and destinations, and controlling costs.
Operate With Real-Time Visibility
Ready to leverage TMS integrations for real-time visibility? Chain.io can help. Our team will show you solutions to ensure that you are getting the right data insights from your partners and customers throughout your global supply chain. Contact us to learn more.