How a Cloud-Based FMS Streamlines the Supply Chain
Published on Jan 6, 2020
Cloud-based FMS platforms are changing the way that shipping partners are communicating with each other. In fact, if you were to ask 50 of the top shippers in the United States what their most frustrating shipping experience is, you'd likely hear the word communication brought up a few times.
Communication is the heart of all supply chain movements. Whether it is the shippers communicating with their suppliers, carriers, manufacturers, or customers, finding ways of improving or streamlining the communications network is always a good way to improve the overall shipping process.
It is this constant struggle that drives many shippers to look to cloud-based solutions. In this hunt for something to connect all parties seamlessly and in real-time, it becomes apparent early on that communication is more than just talking to one another. Actually, the most important form of communication is simply the ability to see all steps of the process at work in real-time. It is all about transparency and E2E visibility.
And this is where cloud-based FMS platforms really shine as they facilitate this often-overlooked need.
Today's cloud is a virtual world, with robust software solutions and communications platforms stored, activated, and easily accessed from any mobile device or computer, tablet, or laptop. Having instant access ability to customer relationship management software, shipping platforms such as transportation management software, or just being able to receive instant updates on shipping situations is a surefire way of keeping everyone in the supply chain in the loop.
Our ability to access information seamlessly and without restriction improves communication throughout the supply chain, which makes everybody happy.
In order to truly highlight the power of the cloud, it's important to outline a few of the best features and benefits of a cloud-based freight management system (FMS)...
What is a Freight Management System?
Shippers who constantly move product from one place to another depend on some sort of computer-based freight management system. A freight management system allows shippers to connect with carriers, receive rating and estimated services, schedule pickups and deliveries, and even optimize their logistics networks. Most of the older freight management systems are hard-wired within an individual computer, or software that is only accessible from one device. These older systems are quite reliable still, but require multiple licenses, and can restrict access based on individual user preferences.
The cloud-based freight management system, on the other hand, can be accessed from any computer, tablet, laptop, or even a mobile device. Each user has their own login, with customized access, dashboard, reporting functions, and tools that help them utilize the FMS to it’s full potential.
For example, a shipping and receiving manager needs to have access to multiple reporting functions that one of their employees has no need to review. In the past, a shipper would have to create multiple software solutions for individual users that constantly required updates or security patches that cost the company money. Today's cloud-based system is automatically updated and can be configured with access to employees and other partners within the supply chain that are applicable to their job.
This type of platform reduces the amount of money needed to power and optimize the solution, removes the need for in house technical support, and is easy to access from multiple locations. Whether you are on the factory floor, at the airport, or visiting a vendor or customer, you can access the FMS from virtually anywhere.
How a Cloud-Based FMS is Beneficial to Shippers in General
One of the biggest misconceptions of cloud-based technology is that they are expensive to integrate. While in the past this may have been true (from a certain point of view) today's cloud-based FMS is scalable and easier than ever to integrate with shippers of any size.
Full Access Regardless of Location
Imagine having the ability to review a customer's shipping records while visiting them in their office. With this type of cloud-based FMS, a shipper can access vital records and can resolve conflict directly with their customers. Not only does this save time, but it increases the relationship between you and your customer through transparency.
Improved Security of Vital Records
A cloud-based system is backed up with redundant servers an improved security platform. They use several secure socket layers (or SSL) security certificates and mathematical algorithms that help to reduce the potential of cyberattacks, phishing scams, or other potential computer viruses.
Reduced Expenses on Maintenance
Most shippers understand the reality that comes with technology, specialists are always on the payroll to fix problems that come up. With a cloud-based FMS, a shipper can significantly reduce their dependence on technical experts, that usually spend more time waiting for work than actually providing a service. Cloud-based solutions are more dependable, less likely to have connectivity problems, and save companies a lot of money on routine maintenance and upgrades.
How Do You Get Started with a Cloud-Based FMS?
If you're looking to improve communication with your partners, integrating a cloud-based FMS is a great first start. Working with an experienced 3PL such as Redwood Logistics by your side, you can configure a solid FMS platform that fits your wants, needs, and budget.