TMS, MercuryGate

Next Gen TMS – New Options for More Users

We live in a world of many options – meals can be delivered to your home in an hour from a grocery store, small businesses can sell and deliver their products to consumers across the globe, and a smart phone can tell you the shortest route to work in the morning.

The same is true of technology for the supply chain industry. A new thought leader report published by Forrester Research, Vendor Landscape: Transportation Management Systems, describes how the next generation of Transportation Management Systems (TMSs) offer new capabilities and how this technology is increasingly becoming a viable solution for a much broader range of businesses.

In the report, analyst Phoenix Zhang notes, “Traditionally a TMS has been a luxury for many small to midsize companies due to such systems’ cost, but that is changing. Cloud-based delivery models are bringing TMS costs down and bringing new capabilities.”

The metamorphosis of TMS technology

Several industry experts have commented that they expect more companies to offer cloud-based TMS solutions throughout 2017. The advantage of a cloud-based system is that data can be accessed from anywhere. There is no need for a large infrastructure – either for the business as a whole or in terms of information technology (IT). This also makes the implementation process faster and more affordable.

Functionality has also been expanded in the services offered by TMS providers. Zhang states in her report, “The modern TMS does much more than legacy systems, which mostly focus on transportation.”

For example, today’s TMS solutions also offer assistance with procurement, fleet management, and enhanced global transportation management, including geographic, language and currency customization. Some providers are also streamlining their customers’ access to intermodal capacity through collaboration with major railroads. And the potential for savings by the user begins at the point of purchase and extends through to freight settlement.

TMS users also have more opportunities for optimization across all modes. For example, a company may be able to combine multiple less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments into a single, less costly truckload shipment. By the same token, multiple parcels can be aggregated to become an LTL shipment. To fully access this capability, it is helpful to choose TMS solutions that offer parcel as a native capability.

Just like many aspects of daily living, from ordering lunch to watching the news, transportation data can also be accessed through mobile devices, a capability offered by cutting-edge TMS providers.

The benefits of traditional TMS have long been promoted. A recent article in Logistics Management magazine stated that TMS users save an average of 7.5% on freight spending alone on an annual basis. Whether your company is a large global enterprise or a startup, saving money can only be a good thing. And, with changes in the TMS vendor market, now may be the perfect time to invest in a TMS or update your current system.