From a historical perspective, transportation management systems are all about freight savings. However, with the ongoing pandemic, and the resulting capacity crunch, TMS is trending more towards cost mitigation rather than savings. Manhattan Associates unveiled its latest TMS, Manhattan Active Transportation Management, last week during the company’s virtual user conference. Manhattan Active TM was redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up to for a new level of innovation, agility, and scale to meet the changing transportation landscape.
Manhattan Active TM incorporates a broad range of enhancements including the new cloud-native architecture, redesigned user experience, and new productivity enhancements. The enhancements to the solution are grouped into three main categories: unification, simplification, and performance.
When Manhattan went about building its Manhattan Active Transportation Management solution, unification across the entire supply chain was a key focus. Manhattan Active TM joins Manhattan Active WM to eliminate some of the issues that surround integration and forms the new Active Supply Chain. From an integration standpoint, time is the fundamental issue. Upgrades to one solution can impact others, which can inhibit agility. The new solution no longer requires data to be passed between WM and TM as the two run as a unified application on Manhattan Active technology.
From a user experience standpoint, this is important. There is now one user experience across TM and WM, with no upgrades needed based on the cloud architecture. The solution has common components, architecture, and nomenclature. The integration between TM and WM also integrates the inbound and outbound flow of goods. This has an impact on labor scheduling within the warehouse depending on what is coming in or out. The combined platform streamlines this process, enabling rapid labor adjustments on inbound shipments and more flexibility on outbound shipments.
Aside from unifying TM and WM, Manhattan Active TM has a number of functional improvements around unified optimization. The first piece is around multi-modal shipment planning. There is now a unified planning process for Manhattan Active TM. This unification spans across all modes, including ocean, air, rail, intermodal, TL, LTL, and PCL. Each mode comes with its own set of rules (mode, carrier, multi-stops, etc.) which can be adjusted depending on a user’s requirements. Manhattan Active TM also includes mode shopping and consolidation on any path through a network.
Manhattan Active TM enables unification across all resources. Users can optimize across assets and lanes simultaneously, looking at private fleet, dedicated fleet, and contract carriers. This allows customers to manage fleets differently depending on the territory or business rules, and they can configure rules based on how a customer defines assets.
The final piece worth mentioning is unified control. With Manhattan Active TM, there is now real-time information flow across business functions. This enables actionable insights that span supply chain solutions. Unified control also makes for a unified experience. For users, there is a congruent experience on mobile and desktop for carrier user engagement.
When Manhattan redesigned and rebuilt its TMS on the Manhattan Active platform, another main goal was simplicity. Considering that optimization is highly complex, the new solution was designed to be easier for the customer. Building a solution to meet every need becomes more complicated. Manhattan looked at a few key areas to focus on simplicity.
Manhattan Active TM has a network analyzer. This allows users to optimally match supply with demand across the network while maximizing profitability. It also helps to maintain a network balance. There is no parameter set required for optimization. In fact, all parameters are auto-tuned. This means that during the solve, optimization learns what it needs to do and autotunes the parameter settings. Optimization becomes more dynamic as the settings never become stale.
Manhattan also ensured that there is simplicity in configuration. As the business changes, the optimization automatically adjusts. Users need to focus on overrides only, rather than making other changes. This is due to the use of adaptive algorithms. In the end, this allows users to focus on the task at hand rather than the complexities that run behind the scenes.
Manhattan Active TM takes advantage of cloud architecture and resources to make it extremely performant. Manhattan Active TM is built on a cloud-native technology platform designed for extensibility, ease of upgrade, and scalability. Much of these capabilities are enabled by the solution design of self-contained functional application components. For users, there is never a need to worry about version control. The Manhattan Active solution set is designed to be versionless, with all solutions always running on the latest code.
Manhattan outlined the key areas where the power of cloud technology improves performance. Namely, Manhattan Active TM has in-memory database, making it capable of millions of calculations per second. The cloud architecture also means access to more data, faster, for better planning execution. Users have improved information flow through connections to real-time visibility partners. Customers can also add capacity easier and faster with connections to more carriers and load boards.
Manhattan Manhattan Active TM also improved broadcast capabilities. These improvements include the ability to auto-broadcast to remaining carriers if the preferred carriers or contract carriers decline a load. Customers also have access on the go with TM mobile carrier. This is important as now actionable insights and intelligence across supply chain functions are more easily delivered.
This article only touches on a few of the recent capability updates within Manhattan Active Transportation Management. Many of these are incremental enhancements from prior versions, as the company has been moving towards a unified platform since the launch of the Manhattan Active solution set. The move to a cloud-based architecture has helped to speed along the journey towards a unified, simple, and high performing TMS.