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First of all, it is important to know that transportation management systems are not only used by shippers. This type of software platform is actually beneficial to both shippers and service providers alike. This includes everyone from distributors, manufacturers, e-commerce companies, retailers, and wholesalers, all the way to 3PL companies.
TMS software started life as a logistics management system that allowed shippers to connect carriers. The end goal was to simply allow shippers to receive rates and schedule their freight movement.
But as all technology does, it grew up.
The modern TMS platform has the capability to handle a plethora of tasks. (We will be taking a quick peek at some of the best of these features later.) Oh, and ever since cloud computing became a thing, TMS software found a way to literally cut the cord.
The majority of TMS devices are cloud-based, meaning if you have an internet connection, you can access your data through a secure server from pretty much anywhere in the world. The newer models of TMS programs are designed to be accessed straight from your cellphone with dashboards that are tailored to meet individual preferences. Whether you just need minor route planning tasks or a complete transportation management device, TMS software is probably what you are looking for.
So, what makes these platforms so beneficial?
Integrating a TMS system is a bit like making an investment in your business. Yes, these software platforms can be a little on the expensive side. But, the abilities and tools to achieve a new level of efficiency are outstanding.
Honestly, it is kind of like having a toolbox full of logistics tools. To even try to begin naming all the features would be a massive undertaking to say the least. So, for now, let's take a look at the top three...
When it comes time to think about the best way to ship out some freight, the most streamlined choice is usually the smartest. Unfortunately, most shipping operations, no matter how well-streamlined, are still rather complex.
You have to get the product packed, choose a carrier, find the best route, and finally schedule it for pickup. Sure, it sounds like a short list. But that short list can sometimes take a matter of days to get worked out properly.
Why waste all that time? It's 2019, technology is more than prevalent, so make use of it!
A TMS platform is capable of helping you choose the best routes and get them all planned out. And when you need to find the absolute top of the line carrier, your TMS doubles as a freight rating system.
(Seriously, we think TMS platforms are the Swiss army knives of the logistics industry.)
You know how you can track most of your regular packages online? Well, a TMS also offers a simple way to know exactly where your large freight is at any given moment.
A TMS can track your freight from pick up to delivery... and just about every step in-between. You can even set communication preferences to allow the app to send automated notifications to keep you and the customer up to date on the movement of the freight. Best of all, these notifications can be sent as an email, text, or even a push notification for desktop and mobile apps.
We always love seeing technology hit the industry in a big way when the goal is improving both the shipping operation and customer experience! This one, single ability allows the customer to plan their day accordingly without worrying about missing their delivery.
Most people are not too fond of invoice auditing. Who can blame them, right?
But guess what a solid TMS is able to simplify with just a few clicks. You got it, bill auditing! With a well-built TMS, you can review invoices and compare them against negotiated rates. Simultaneously, it allows you to check invoices for general clerical errors.
The best invoicing feature is that most of the more robust TMS platforms allow companies to quickly see which carriers need to be paid. It can even be set up to issue those payments, but that is a topic for another day.
Transportation management software is an amazingly useful tool for companies of just about any size. However, they aren't always the most intuitive, as there is indeed a small learning curve involved.
That's why we always say partnering with a 3PL company such as Redwood Logistics is a wise idea. Especially when setting up and running a TMS for the very first time.
3PLs have used and created TMS solutions since their mass inception in the industry. This means that not only do well-rounded 3PLs have experience with these platforms, but they have also grown right alongside them.
Are you ready to learn how to manage your TMS like a pro? Reach out to us here at Redwood Logistics today and let's get started!