As the number of goods transported grows at an exponential rate, fleet owners, logistics service providers, shippers, distributors, third-party logistics organizations, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers face new challenges every day. Inadequate management, fluctuating fuel prices, and government tariffs all contribute to an increase in the cost of serving transportation companies. Therefore, to tackle these issues and improve supply chains, the service providers must take advantage of any and all available opportunities.
Most major issues such as inefficient processes, low visibility into the supply chain, and high overall transportation costs can be eliminated with the right software system. In the past few years, more and more businesses have been investing in Transport Management Systems. In fact, between 2020 and 2025, the transport management system market is estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.5 percent. Furthermore, the TMS market is expected to increase from $2.5 billion in 2019 to more than $4.33 billion by 2025.
The transportation management system (TMS), a subset of supply chain management pertaining to transportation operations, is a vital tool in an increasingly competitive and complex transportation landscape. A TMS, whether used by the manufacturer or a third-party logistics provider (3PL), can reduce transportation costs, improve performance, and increase customer satisfaction.
Using proper technology and software tools that facilitate business operations and generate value every day is one of the finest ways to capitalize on changes, challenges, and opportunities in the shipping and logistics industry. Many businesses with simple and intricate logical operations have recognized the value of transport management software. Businesses in the shipping and logistics sectors can experience seamless logistics management and do business globally with ease if relevant software is in place.
If you are planning to invest in a TMS, here are the top five features you must consider when selecting one.
Effective Optimization Engine
There are several TMS solutions in the market today, but not many are equipped with optimization engines to develop the most efficient route plans that satisfy multiple delivery constraints, as well as route plans which save money and maximize vehicle capacity. When choosing a TMS, look for one that has at least one of the following powerful optimization engines:
- Load Optimization: Arrange goods or pallets on the vehicle while keeping rules like Stackability in mind.
- Route Optimization: Plan shipments as efficiently as possible using available vehicles and routes.
- Carrier Selection: Arrange carriers for each shipment taking into account allocations, company shares, and expenses.
- Strategic Freight Management: Assemble bids from carriers for long-term contracts based on risk, capacity, and cost.
Real-time Monitoring & Tracking
TMS should facilitate track-and-trace features for products as they go through the network, providing a full view of each stage of the transportation process and making them easier to manage. When selecting a TMS, ensure that it provides excellent monitoring and tracking accuracy, efficient management, and fully automated notifications for on-the-road situations.
Integration with top ERP, WMS, or OMS systems
Information barriers are a major threat to a connected supply chain. Businesses can achieve near-real-time visibility into goods from purchase to inventory and transportation by integrating TMS data with other internal data sources, such as ERP and WMS or OMS. This integrated outlook of the products throughout the supply chain can be recognized through a single portal that collects data from multiple sources, combines it, and provides it in a searchable and user-friendly cockpit that serves as a single reference point for tracking visibility throughout the supply chain.
Manufacturers and distributors plan to enhance end-to-end visibility across shipping and warehouse functions such as order processing, record access, and general ledger information by integrating ERP and WMS or OMS – TMS, providing a more comprehensive view of processes that should result in better planning and coordination.
Reports and Business Intelligence
Reports are one of the most basic ways to understand and share vital information. As a result, when selecting a TMS, it should include standardized reporting tools such as charts and dashboards and specific maps to visualize shipping patterns. Reporting can provide a quick way to provide essential data and analysis that might be useful in understanding developments. A TMS must also provide a logistics KPI (key performance indicator) reporting feature for transportation.
Labels and BOL Printing
An effective TMS should generate labels when the shipment is done. Shipping labels are crucial products because they carry important information about shipments, including all of the necessary information to route parcels to their correct destinations. All of the information presented on the shipping label aids in tracking it at each stage, assuring the best service possible. They aid in getting read by computers and humans, making the distribution process more efficient and manageable. To ensure a safe package delivery, every element of shipping label information is vital.
Moreover, the BOL safeguards the seller, shipper, and recipient. It will aid in the proper transportation of the commodities intended to be shipped, and if there is a problem, the bill of lading will assist the parties in determining where the problem occurred. When looking for a TMS, ensure that the feature is provided by the software for an exceptional customer experience and reputation.
Ultimately, TMS can be used to support seamless local and worldwide trade and supply chain management. As a result, while looking for a TMS to optimize the supply chain, seek features such as a strong route optimization engine, real-time tracking, integration with leading ERP, WMS, or OMS systems, Labels, and BOL printing and reporting.
Contact Intagleo Systems today to learn about more available features and see how an AI-powered Logistics Optimization Platform can help you with your shipment and tracking needs!