Looking to boost your bottom line with an LTL freight TMS? Combing through dozens of potential partners and services and feeling overwhelmed? Here are some key features you need to consider (and find) in your Transportation Management System. While the list is far from exhaustive, the Approved experts believe these to be the most vital in realizing the full potential of a TMS.
1. REMOTE ACCESS
Improved visibility and complete accountability
Reclaim the power of knowledge. Know when, where and how your freight is being handled through real-time digital access to the system. Most systems should give you — the shipper – peace of mind through the ability to view the most important data. When researching and vetting TMS providers, be sure to ask if they offer this out of the box. If access to your shipment data is not easily accessed, it may be time to move on to your next prospect.
One of the worst-kept secrets in the transportation industry is: sometimes things go wrong. There are a lot of moving parts in every supply chain, so even the slightest shift can result in a deadline being missed. Visibility of shipment data improves and promotes accountability. With consistent updates, valuable time needed to pinpoint the source of an issue is greatly reduced. You will know when and where your chain became tangled, and you can begin the process of correcting your shipment immediately.
Update and alter shipment data in real time
The world is becoming more and more connected through technology every day. We are able to text people addresses for parties, receive updates on restaurant reservations, and book hotel reservations in far-off locales. Your TMS should give you the ability to adjust and make last minute changes late in the shipment cycle of your LTL freight. No longer are you at the mercy of convoluted lines of communication. A top-rate TMS allows you to input special instructions, order numbers or consignee changes, on the fly.
3. Route Planning & Load Optimization
Better route and load planning, ensure efficiency
Built-in mileage and local routing will streamline your process. Having a TMS which utilizes this technology will maximize the effectiveness of getting your product to the end-user. Your consignees will thank you when they see their new bottom line from better transportation management.
Connections between the TMS and your existing systems
The system you choose should have the ability to integrate with your Order Management System (OMS) for inventory updates, order processing, record access and general ledger information. Connectivity across all platforms is at the forefront of modern supply chains. Removing the silos from your information, and having access to everything at once is a must, for streamlining your processes
5. CHOICE OF CARRIER
Being able to choose which carriers you use is empowering
A good TMS will give you a selection of several carriers from which you can choose rates. A GREAT TMS will give you access to dozens – even hundreds – of carriers. It will give you the most control over your transportation costs through the power of choice.
We know every carrier may not be the best fit for every shipper. Past experiences, incompatible rates, and/or lack of lane density can all influence your carrier decisions. A great TMS will continuously evaluate its partnerships with trucking companies. If for some reason a carrier with sub-par ratings and service is included in the list, we think you should have plenty of alternate choices with which to work.