When deciding to implement a transportation management system (TMS), there are key features and benefits that are typically highlighted as the best reasons for implementation. Among those, the focus tends to be on the improved customer service, enhanced efficiency and decreased costs. In fact, research firm ARC has reported that “the savings expectation after implementing a TMS is about 8 percent for most industry verticals. That means that the company that spends $100 million annually on freight can expect to save an average of $8 million in freight costs.” With staggering figures such as these, it’s no wonder that cost savings and reduced resources take the spotlight. Although these gains create great value for any organization, there are also bonuses that our users discover after implementation that make an equally big impact.
It sounds a little contradictory that a TMS can simultaneously reduce resources and improve collaboration but it’s true. When you integrate one platform like a transportation management system into your organization, the effects touch several departments depending on the breadth of your company. From scheduling warehouse workers to optimizing routes, the right TMS can give one platform that all employees can work from. In doing so, strength is added to inter-department management and your co-workers are equipped to rapidly identify problems, move through processes faster and mitigate risk from decision making while adding increased visibility to the supply chain in its entirety.
Keep up with the times
The transportation industry is changing and under great stress to rapidly re-strategize based on consumer demands. Reverse logistics, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and automation have created a need to re-think, refine, and improve internal processes to keep up. Reverse logistics alone is a huge opportunity to capitalize on added revenue and growth. According to the Reverse Logistics Association, the annual volume of returns in the U.S. is estimated to be up to $200 billion. To make the most of this potential gold mine, it’s important for shippers to streamline internal processes and optimize the strategy continually to cut extraneous costs in execution.
The right data is critically important for companies looking to adopt new ideas and prepare for disruptors within their supply chain. To monitor progress against new plans, a transportation management system is vital for capturing and analyzing real-time data. Lessons learned and next steps can then be seen by multiple departments at once to execute changes accordingly, modify as needed and measure ROI with confidence.
Big Data capabilities
Big data is more than just an industry buzzword; it’s changing the way that the transportation industry does business. The term “big data” is used to describe large, complex data sets that are more challenging to process than traditional data applications. The introduction of autonomous vehicles, robotics and the “connected vehicle” means the industry is entering a “data-driven” era. The benefit to big data is the analysis it delivers to an organization which makes the extra work worth it. But who has the time in the day to tackle this new, time consuming task? A transportation management system is an ideal way to get it done. Documents, spreadsheets, plug-ins all filter through to this one centralized location. From there, learning and integrating Big Data into your day-to-day responsibilities requires less elbow grease on your behalf. Additionally, it’s a great tool to gain education and insight into what Big Data can do for your company and its bottom line. For instance, Big Data functionality within a TMS is helping to lower fuel costs by evaluating routes and determining alternate, more cost-friendly options. A TMS places you in a position to get ahead with Big Data while others are getting started.
The concept of acquiring data, understanding it and then acting on it can be overwhelming for some new users. A transportation management system takes all of the pressure away and places it back on the system. Essentially, the user does not have to be specialist in analysis, forecasting and predicting models because a TMS can do it for you. It’s like having an industry analyst right on your desktop.
The business intelligence embedded within the platform creates an opportunity to dig deeper into the analysis and make better, faster business decisions without extraneous effort to compile and organize the data first. More data, more speed and more savings; less guesswork.
The right TMS vendor will not hand over the system and hope for the best. The right vendor, like MercuryGate, will be readily available to customize your application as your business expands or strategy changes. MercuryGate listens to customer feedback and continues to routinely modify the solutions, then provides ongoing support for the value-added features that are coming on board.
When you put it all together, a transportation management system plays the role of industry expert, analyst, forecaster and data scientist. Learn more about how a TMS will benefit your business specifically by contacting us for a demo.