Every day, many medium to large shippers face a challenge. At any given moment, they have a fortune on the highway, with significant capital in materials and inventory at stake. And yet, they don’t have the means to know where it all is located. Meanwhile, fuel costs are up, and delayed shipments can have a significant negative economic effect on shippers and receivers. The lack of visibility from a legacy transportation management system (TMS) only makes the issue worse. If you’re one of those companies, it may be time for a new approach.
For operations using out-of-date technology or trying to run their businesses with spreadsheets and an Access database, an advanced, modern TMS solution can make a massive impact on efficiency. It allows shippers to extend their capabilities both strategically and tactically by going beyond basic functions like routing, rating, and payments. The right TMS allows you to leverage data to uncover insights that lead to business benefits.
With technology designed specifically for the speed and complexity of today’s supply chains, you can better meet customer expectations. The era of connected commerce means receivers expect constant updates and alerts about their shipments. Modern TMS technology helps you deliver a personalized shipping experience for all customers – even those in B2B networks. Information flows seamlessly to all stakeholders, while the TMS automates functions like rating, routing, mode optimization, shipment tracking, and reporting.
Visibility, Connectivity, Profitability
Introducing visibility and connectivity functions through a TMS can also quickly streamline processes and reduce labor costs. The first step is visibility for all domestic and international shipments and connectivity with any partner in the supply chain ecosystem. Then, businesses can start to benefit by engaging with TMS-generated data to enable advanced shipment planning and optimization. Private fleet operators can even use the technology to optimize fleet utilization by securing inbound vendor backhauls and other backhaul opportunities.
Meanwhile, users can automate alerts and exception management to notify all stakeholders of delays instantly. Instead of paying to staff call centers to handle customer service questions, a modern TMS solution proactively provides self-service alerts. Rather than deal with exceptions, your load planners can spend their time working on optimizing the network. That means a rapid ROI from more efficient processes, better customer service, and higher customer satisfaction.
Setting Your Operations Apart
If you’re looking for the fastest route to better efficiency, start with better technology.
- Automate processes: Automatic alerts and notifications can improve customer service and reduce labor costs.
- Improve service: Streamlined workflows and greater visibility, including track and trace functionality, increases customer satisfaction and retention.
- Leverage connectivity: Shipment visibility for carriers and shippers aligns networks and operations, improving communication, and eliminating duplicate data processing.
- Dive into data: Use of TMS-generated data improves customer experience, identifies areas for improvement, and optimizes your transportation spend.
Better processes and workflows gained from the right TMS lead to better margins. However, beyond that, they establish your operation as a shipper of choice, helping to ensure you have access to capacity in the marketplace.
Ron Lazo serves as Vice-President, Professional Services, with responsibility for deployment of Manhattan Associates’ TLM, OPTI, SCALE and Carrier Management solutions. Ron joined Manhattan Associates in 2004 and has 30+ years of combined logistics and transportation experience.