TMS – Tracking Towards Business Success
Across all industries there is a need to innovate. A need to move with the times, to adopt the latest technologies. The need to keep up and surpass competitors. Failure to do so means being left behind. The world is changing and you need to move with it; and the logistics industry is no different.
One of the most prevalent areas of innovation of recent times in the industry is the birth of transportation management systems or “TMS”. This platform is designed to reduce costs and improve service on assignments by helping companies transport freight from origin to destination efficiently, reliably and cost effectively. All supply chains, and companies that move freight on a regular basis, need to trust and rely on their logistics partner, due to the multi-faceted nature of the shipping process. From quoting to delivery, those shipping freight should be looking for the best way to improve the process as well as optimising spend.
Once something that only big shippers, with extraordinary high volume could take advantage of. However, the rise of cloud based logistics solutions has opened up the possibilities for smaller logistic companies to compete against large industry players. While previous TMS were located on site, the arrival of cloud and web-based systems means they are more accessible than ever and less costly to deploy and maintain.
Attractive to Customers
The most common reason for a logistics provider to develop a TMS system is to lower freight spend. A TMS achieves these savings through a combination of process enforcement, analytics, and optimisation. In turn these savings are then passed down to clients, making those who implement TMS a more attractive proposition for those looking for logistic partners and providers. As well as these savings, there is also a positive impact on customer service, freight tracking, simplification of process and providing key business insights that prove valuable to business development.
TMS also allows a level of visibility of transit which just hasn’t been possible before. Customers are able to view carriers based on the time of transit, cost of shipping and insurance limits. From the reports and analytics produced, you are able to draw conclusions on the performance of the carrier selected for the consignment. The ability to see how well carriers perform provides invaluable insight when picking carriers that are best suited for the job.
What must be remembered however, is that opting for the cheapest option is not always the best value for money. The cheapest logistics partner may only deliver goods on time, sixty-five percent of the time, while a more “expensive” provider could have a hundred percent track record for punctuality. This is where TMS can help by providing those vital analytics and data. It is then down to the logistics provider to make sense of these insights, and use them to make informed business decisions going forward.
End of Inventory Backlogs
An efficient and comprehensive TMS should give confidence that customers’ shipments are being delivered on time. This trust is significant when it comes to planning inventory levels. Having a logistics partner which performs above the expected service level when moving elements of your supply chain allows an accurate forecast of inventory to be created which is increasingly important with all supply chains as they are reliant on numerous factors. Thanks to TMS, you should no longer have goods sitting around the warehouse, causing a backlog and slowing down other order processes, which in turn has a negative impact on other customer relations.
Warehouse efficiency is a key reason why TMS should be used as much as possible. The more you use your TMS, less time will be spent on freight management, which allows efforts to be put elsewhere in the business, such as tasks that increase business growth and take the business to the next level. This is a better use of time than on these administrative tasks that have historically been done manually. A good integrated TMS should be able to free up this time and reduce those mistakes that unfortunately come with manual systems.
Track and Trace
Technology and innovation, as previously mentioned, is right at the centre of a successful TMS. With these technological advances to TMS, shippers will have the technology needed to make key decisions on routing, transit times and carrier mix. The latest developments also take into consideration aspects such as co-loading and transhipments which not only helps in cost reduction but also has a more environmentally friendly impact.
A TMS helps to simplify carrier selection by allowing you to evaluate the consignment and match it with a carrier within the network and location. By looking into this process, a shipper can analyse historical shipments, look for patterns and quickly match similar loads to the appropriate carriers. TMS can also help predict where consignments will meet, increasing co-load and transhipment opportunities.
There is also the element of real-time monitoring. With an efficient TMS, freight can be tracked and alerts sent for any transit exceptions or unforeseen delays. Obviously, some of these delays are unavoidable, but it does mean that communication and customer service is greatly improved. Moving forward, provisions and alternatives can then be put in place to counter these delays as much as possible.
Although many logistic companies have developed their own TMS and track and trace systems there are still elements of their product offering which enables them to stand-out. When looking for a time-critical logistics partner you have to ensure that their mission and values align with your own. Some logistics partners may be satisfied with their current TMS. The intelligent system and processes in place at Priority Freight, proactively checks all consignments in transit will be delivered on time. Its partnership with the University of Kent to create a tool developed through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which is set to be integrated with the current transport system, is a clear demonstration of the importance of constant innovation from a company that understands the importance of not standing still in a competitive industry.