Transportation Management System Logistics: Evaluating Your Options

Research shows that a freight transportation management system can cut the cost of shipping by up to twenty-five percent in the first year, but for many shippers, implementing a system for managing freight transportation can impose financial hardships. Traditionally, such experts perform transportation management – an expense most small and midsize businesses can ill afford (hiring these experts can bring a six-figure payroll increase).

How can shippers manage freight distribution without hiring an expensive team of experts?

Traditionally, the answer has been to outsource to Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers-entities that set shipping arrangements between shippers and carriers. In theory, 3PL is a beneficial arrangement for shippers that do not staff experts because the logistics function is outsourced, and the need to hire experts is eliminated. However, for companies that need or prefer more control of the shipping process, using a 3PL provider can be frustrating.

When they opt for 3PL, shippers relinquish a degree of control over the shipping process. Depending on the quality of the 3PL provider’s logistics resources, the price of the relinquishment can be steep. Good 3PL providers leverage a variety of resources to identify the best carrier arrangements, but many 3PL providers use limited resources -a fact that their customers remain unaware of.

If you use a 3PL provider whose resources are limited, your ability to negotiate the best carrier arrangements is also limited.

Replacing 3PL

If your business needs to save money on transportation management, 3PL is a fair option, but it is not as affordable or empowering as logistics software-a class of applications that perform the logistical calculations traditionally performed by experts. By replacing 3PL with a program that provides this function for a Transportation Management System (TMS), you can resume control of the shipping process and reduce your costs in two ways:

  • By paying less for the program than you pay for 3PL
  • By negotiating better carrier arrangements via expanded shipping options

Research shows that TMS software can reduce the cost of freight transport by ten percent in the first year. For many businesses, such a cost savings can be a financial life raft, but receiving it requires a decisive step in a new direction-implementing a TMS application instead of renewing a 3PL contract. When they learn how painless the changeover can be, most shippers are ready to make the switch.

Easy Implementation

TMS applications are designed to support the existing shipping process. Before supplying an application, the provider analyzes a business’s shipping process in depth, creating a program that addresses each need. As the needs change, new options can be added to the existing options, creating a program that evolves with the shipping process.

TMS applications are available on a web-based model or an in-house model. To simplify the implementation process, acquire remote system access, and preserve investment capital, most businesses opt for the former. To learn how TMS software can improve the economy and efficiency of your business’s transportation management system, contact a provider of logistics software today.

TL Logistics Management Software – Frequently Asked Questions

What types of Shippers Use TL Logistics Management Software?

In most cases, shipping companies that regularly produce enough products to fill a full semi trailer use truckload logistics software, as “TL” refers to truckload, or full semi trailer. However, it’s important to note that TL logistics software actually refers to a service option within logistics software as a whole. In other words, companies that have less than truckload (LTL) shipping needs and use logistics software to meet them can have a TL logistics option added to their package at a later date, particularly if their software operates on a software as a service (SaaS) model.

Does it Make Sense to Combine LTL and TL Management in the Same Package?

A company can have as many logistics management options within a software package as it wants. But the fact that more options result in higher fees usually deters companies from adding more options than they presently need. However, if a company can benefit from having its LTL shipments combined into TL shipments and transported to a break station, then having LTL and TL shipping options within the same package could be beneficial.

Is it Better to Implement Logistics Software on a SaaS or an Internal Basis?

Although some companies have policies that require software solutions to be implemented on internal basis, most companies receive the greatest benefit from implementing logistics software on a SaaS model. To implement the software on an internal basis, you typically incur the following costs, which are eliminated by SaaS: software purchase, hardware purchase, system maintenance fees and system upgrade costs. In addition, implementing logistics software as a web-based application offers the advantage of letting system users access the system from any Internet terminal worldwide, whereas internal solutions function like an intranet.

Can TL Logistics Management Software Replace the need for a Logistics Expert?

Perhaps the greatest misconception about logistics software is that you need expertise in logistics to use it. On the contrary, logistics-software does the work of a logistics expert, presenting a shipper with optimized shipping options across the entire shipping process. One of the main selling points of logistics-software is the remarkable affordability that it brings to the logistics function, which comes from its replacing the need to hire in house logistics experts or high level third party logistics (3PL) providers.

Isn’t 3PL the Still Best Option If You’d like to Dialogue With a Logistics Expert?

The top complaint of 3PL customers is that they feel kept on the outside of the shipping process due to lack of contact with their 3PL provider. Furthermore, most providers of logistics-software allow their customers the option discussing logistics issues whenever necessary. With logistics software, you essentially become your own logistics provider, which is as close to the logistics function as you can get.

3 Key Processes Of Transportation Management System

Transportation Management Systems are really meant to increase the ROI and efficiency of your logistics company and has become a mandatory element for an effective logistics management. The transportation management system or TMS helps your make your logistics management more organized and accurate.

Transportation Management software are aimed at bringing down the time, cost and improved profit. If the time and cost taken are decreased, then there is no doubt that your profit would sour high. All you need to do is to learn to manage this amazing tool in the right way. If you are not managing TMS in the proper way then you cannot expect your business to improve.

Here I would like to talk about the 3 key processes of a transport management system, which have an influential role towards the success of your logistics business.

1) Planning and Decision Making
Planning and Decision making are the most essential parts of any successful organization and cannot be ignored at any cost. If the planning and decision making are not up to the mark, the business is sure to suffer. There have been many instances when many companies have vanished due to lack of proper planning and decision.

A transportation management solutions helps you to plan your logistics business effectively and categorize your transport schemes accordingly based on the importance as per user policy. Some of the major things that plays vital role in proper planning and decision making are transport cost, shorter lead-time, fewer stops, flows regrouping coefficient etc.

The TMS systems is also known as logistics management system and helps you to calculate your transportation cost and adjust your routes so as to experience a decrease in the transportation cost. It helps you to find out which routes yields you better profit margin and which are the stops that needs to be avoided without harming your profit ratio.

In the end the report generating facility offered by this vehicle management system helps you to analyze your logistics management in a much better way. You can even change the scheduling and routing of your vehicles for better results. The report helps you to plan better and make decisions based on that.

2) Customer follow-up
TMS helps you to experience a better customer relationship and follow up due to its enhanced features. One of the advanced feature that makes the tool stand out is the GPS vehicle tracking facility, which helps you to track your vehicle with the help of satellites. With this you would be able to inform your customers as where the vehicle is and when their goods would be delivered. It also helps in effective billing, accurate report generation, documentation etc, which makes your customers happy and satisfied.

3) Measurement
A transportation management system offers you a detailed and customized analytics report which would help you to understand your business in a much better way. The report would help you to find out the areas that needs improvements and also help where you stand when compared with the previous months. Certain reports helps you to drill down more deeper so as to get a better assessment regarding your vehicle routing software.