If you want to keep your edge in the transportation industry, then you are sure to be aware that paper logs are quickly becoming obsolete. Ask any expert involved in shipping or logistics, and they are likely to tell you that now most commercial enterprises make use of routing scheduling software (RSS). This is the 21st Century, and if your company isn’t using a digital platform for your transportation systems, then you just might be losing your clients to your competitors.
There is no question that routing scheduling software can be tremendously effective. However, there are limitations to these platforms. The brick wall that transportation companies keep hitting would be such things as staying efficient, keeping costs as low as possible, and continuing to compete in a field that seems to get more crowded by the day.
The important thing to remember is that TMS apps are largely an off-the-shelf product. This means they are “pre-packaged”, and this is true whether they have been created as a SaaS or an app that stands by itself. Again, no one is questioning the effectiveness of this software. However, this software tends to not be as outside-the-box as some companies would like. Unfortunately, many logistics firms are discovering that their prototypical TMS software does not possess the ability to solve all the potential last-mile delivery pitfalls they could encounter.
Let’s look at your ordinary run-of-the-mill business. They probably utilize 10 or 20 different software programs for the many different tasks needed to keep their business running smoothly. It is no different from a transportation firm. There once was a time where TMS was almost like the holy grail for the transportation industry. This is not relevant any longer. Just as a small business isn’t going to expect their accounting program to take all of their email responsibilities, a transportation firm shouldn’t have to rely on their TMS system to manage preventative maintenance tasks or cargo re-distribution duties on a real-time basis.
Although it might be a truth that is a bit hard to swallow, many TMS software platforms just don’t possess the functionalities needed for today’s transportation company needs. TMS has had a difficult time in recent integrating with supply chain management software (SCMS) or ERP platforms. TMS is not flexible, nor does it possess the extensibility or interoperability that most data sources need to help these companies and their clients make an informed choice.
TMS solutions are often not designed with the needs of supply chain visibility in mind. The manager might need to share important insights with his employees, and if TMS cannot provide that, he or she is out of luck. This indicates that there is a gap between the deliveries TMS can make and the needs of the average logistics manager.
There is no question that TMS has been an essential tool for the majority of transportation companies, but they are quickly becoming obsolete. Most logistics experts realize that the time is now to upgrade from TMS. As a logistics expert, you need to think hard on this question: are you completely harnessing all of your data? Are you becoming increasingly visible to your affiliates and customers? Are you able to make decisions well with your current software?
THE CURRENT STATUS OF TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Transportation management software (TMS) has indeed become synonymous with a transportation management program. Indeed, it is often seen as one of the main building blocks for all shipping and logistics operations at every step of the supply chain. Individuals such as shippers, fleet managers, and logistics companies are the most likely to benefit from the visible foundation of a TMS program.
The need for appropriate information flow of shipping and logistics is one of the main reasons why TMS developed. This software will not only help improve the decision-making process, but it will also utilize historical data to help logistics managers make informed decisions about such things as inventory forecasting, costs, and route planning. The fact that transportation managers can plan for and execute administrative tasks such as billing and compliance has always been appealing. TMS also comes in handy when it comes to finding optimal routes, calculating rates for different shipments, planning for outbound and inbound strategies, and tracking and monitoring all shipments.
The main job of a TMS system is supposed to do would be to develop a more transparent supply chain. They also are looking to minimize the silos that can occur between carriers, shippers, and other stakeholders. This will help them avoid miscommunication and help keep all working relationships as efficient as possible.
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH TMS
If you only need to rely on TMS to perform all of the tasks that its already designed to do, then you’re all set. However, the users of TMS systems would do well not to expect to be a solution for everything. Simply put, they cannot expect TMS systems to integrate with all data sources, nor should they expect it to perform with complete visibility either. This is a shame because logistics companies have many notable data sources to pull from. Consider the following:
Enterprise resource planning (ERP): This business processing software will integrate several applications and provide a streamlined sharing of applications between teams. A TMS absolutely must have an ERP solution.
Warehouse management system (WMS): Warehouse operations and managing inventory are much easier with this data source.
Enterprise asset management (EAM): Maintaining physical assets such as trucks, trailers, and other equipment is the main purpose of this data source.
Supply Chain Management (SCM): These software solutions are mostly concerned with product lifecycle management and planning out a supply chain.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Sales, marketing, prospects, and other customer-related tasks are all of the most paramount importance with this program.
Yard Management System (YMS): When trucks and trailers arrive at a distribution center or a warehouse, they will be tracked by this software.
Unfortunately, these technologies do not usually communicate with each other. This is one of the pitfalls of TMS. Moreover, in this day and age, just possessing a TMS platform isn’t going to give you an edge over the competition. This is because everyone has that. Nowadays, more technology is needed. Having the right routing scheduling SOFTWARE can make a world of difference in how well-oiled your logistics operation is.
Improving your transportation management processes means that you, first of all, must ensure that all of your current software programs are up to par. In a nutshell, you need something that will improve your capabilities beyond the traditional approach and making your data night and day more useful to you.
How do you get your data programs to realize their full potential? Although its easier said than done, it means getting the right data with the right timing as well. The two go hand-in-hand.
Logistics must make shared visibility a priority as well. If you have visibility across the entire spectrum, it allows stakeholders the knowledge to make educated decisions. Not only that, but they can do it before their competitors can do it.
This is why a situational awareness platform is so important. The ability to locate shipments, troubleshoot costly slowdowns, and change cargo routes is worth its weight in gold. This is the kind of platform that will take a logistics operation to the next level.