5 MercuryGate TMS Features to Discover in 2024

Logistics manager takes a closer look at TMS features.

We believe the MercuryGate TMS is truly the best transportation management system on the market. However, the TMS features are so vast that many customers still underutilize the platform.

I want to help you get the most value from your TMS features during the year ahead. With that in mind, let’s walk through the 5 TMS features that I think most people either aren’t using – or they aren’t using to their full ROI potential.
Let’s make sure you’re getting the most from these MercuryGate TMS capabilities in 2024.

1. TMS Features for 2024: Automated Workflows

Only a small percentage of our customers have created defined workflows. Not every user adopted the best-practice workflows MercuryGate provided during implementation. If you haven’t defined what your ideal workflows look like, you are missing out on one of the system’s superpowers.

Obviously, workflows help with things like people forgetting steps. Not having a workflow also makes it harder to onboard new employees because you’re giving them a blank screen and expecting them to know every step. Conversely, a guided workflow tells them what to do next.

And keep in mind just how intelligent the MercuryGate automated workflows can be.

As an example, let’s say a carrier knows a load will encounter a detention charge and alerts you.

An automated workflow creates an extra step in the normal workflow that pushes approval for that charge to the right party so they can review the information received and approve it. When the carrier invoice comes in, the system auto-matches the invoice because the additional charge was expected. Without that workflow, that invoice won’t match, and you’re forced to research the detention charge.

It’s a difference of a minute or two versus hours spent looking back 30-45 days to determine if the charge is valid. Now, try repeating that process every single time it happens.

However, suppose you take advantage of MercuryGate’s defined workflows and the dynamic rules that alter those workflows only when certain conditions are met. In that case, you ensure that things get done right AND efficiently.

2. TMS Features for 2024: Exception Management

Managing by exception allows you to look only where attention is needed. Without it, you may divide your attention across dozens of tasks in chronological or some other order.

For example, let’s say your job is to secure capacity.

When you email a carrier to see if they’ll accept a load, you don’t sit at your desk to wait for a response. You move on to other tasks, hoping you remember where you are with the load and not forgetting to check for a reply.

Time passes, and you can’t remember if you got that load secured. The panic sets in. You’re manually searching for the load acceptance. And if the load is not covered, you start the process over again with less time to get the load secured.

When you use exception management, you see green, yellow, and red highlighted information that shows you where and when to focus your time. It also flags top priorities for the day based on your role and pre-defined organizational criteria.

Imagine returning from vacation and all the important emails in your inbox were flagged and all the clutter was pushed to the side. Wouldn’t that be nice?

MercuryGate’s exception management capabilities do that for everything, every day. This TMS feature empowers people and teams to prioritize focus, take action expediently, keep freight moving, and, ultimately, create happy customers.

3. TMS Feature for 2024: Optimization

Are you putting all freight into the TMS? If not, you’re missing out on strategies to reduce freight spend. Optimization is a cost-reducing TMS feature for shippers and logistics service providers.

Sometimes, it can be overwhelming or confusing to implement optimization processes initially. The way you’re currently doing it is technically getting the job done. Maybe you’re worried about decreased productivity during the transition. However, if you take the time to input all your freight in the TMS, you reduce wasted trailer space and transportation spend within minutes.
Some customers say, “I understand how optimization could help if I had opportunities for consolidation or multiple carriers to choose from on my lanes, but that’s not me. I’m moving truckload, generally with the same carriers on the same lanes.”
We’ve discovered that customers often only use 70-80% capacity on each truck. When warehouse staff eyeball inventory on the dock and decide on the fly which orders go into which trailers, opportunities get missed. That means you could end up sending out 10 trucks when nine or even eight were sufficient.

Optimization pre-determines which orders go together while respecting your business constraints to maximize the utilization of all available trailer space. Optimization even weighs the trade-off cost of estimated C02 emissions.

Think about the cost savings associated with one less truck on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. When you utilize MercuryGate’s cutting-edge optimization feature, your load planners are happier with their work balance, and you gain the confidence that every shipment is on the best route for the best price.

We even make it easy for you! If you want to take advantage of optimization but still aren’t sure where to begin, engage with our Optimization as a Service team and we’ll do the work for you.

4. TMS Feature for 2024: Final Mile

Final Mile is a powerful yet underutilized product that now integrates directly into your MercuryGate TMS.

Suppose you are managing pickups or deliveries and need street-level route optimization, real-time status, and ETA updates to manage same-day changes to routes in progress. In that case, MercuryGate’s Final Mile solution delivers.

Let’s be real. You can have the most efficient supply chain, but if you don’t pick up things when you say you will or deliver on time, you won’t have happy customers. Taking the step to control your first or final mile provides critical benefits:

  • Routes are optimized.
  • Drivers easily follow plans and communicate exceptions.
  • Dispatchers efficiently react to intra-day changes.

Whether you are an LTL carrier, managing white-glove deliveries, delivering parcels, or managing courier operations, the Final Mile solution can be easily configured to meet the needs of your business.

Relying solely on your workforce of experienced planners and dispatchers — who can leave at any time — puts your business at risk and limits growth. Our Final Mile solution can stand alone, or it can be used to extend your TMS to provide automation, exception management, and optimization at every level.
And with the integration now available, Final Mile brings exceptional visibility across your entire network, which brings me to our final TMS feature to discover in 2024.

5. TMS Feature for 2024: TMS-Embedded Visibility

Ask five different people what visibility means. All of them may give you a different answer. Many of those responses concern answering, “Where is my stuff, and when is it coming?”

But let’s face it, if you were 100% confident in on-time delivery, you wouldn’t need to care about the ETA status. Sure, it’s nice to know the location of your order, but the real power of visibility in your business comes from the choices you can make and actions you can take based on that knowledge. That intelligence-informed execution is why it is so important to have visibility connected and embedded in your TMS.

For example, you learn that a big shipment’s ETA shifted from Monday to Friday. Now what?
One thing you may want to do is proactively call the customer with an updated delivery ETA. That level of service helps your customer plan labor and potentially save money versus having people show up for a job that isn’t there to complete.
Take the service a step further. What if part of that order can’t wait? Because you could drill directly from an alert to the underlying execution, you can take immediate steps to split out the critical part of the order and find another way to deliver it. Maybe by shifting it from a planned rail move to over the road or from over the road to air.
And in a strategic take on what real visibility means, the system can easily show you the on-time performance metrics of the potential carriers. That allows you to use your most trustworthy partner, even if they cost a little more.

Everyone will find themselves in a similar situation at some point. What you do to get yourself out of it and prevent a repeat scenario in the future — that truly matters. MercuryGate TMS is equipped with visibility features that take you from tracking shipments to taking informed action across your entire freight network — for all modes in all geographies.

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We Help You Better Utilize Solutions in Your TMS

Those are the five most underutilized MercuryGate TMS features that can directly impact your bottom line.
All of them are valuable alone, but consider your power if you use Optimization and Final Mile to ensure that all of your freight is planned efficiently and effectively. Add embedded visibility to trigger automated workflows and exception management to smooth out bumps in execution.
If you’re not using these features, you’re not realizing the full value of your investment in our products. We want to fix that.

Reach out to your MercuryGate Customer Success representative and start a conversation to create the best iteration of our TMS to support your operations.

Connect with Customer Success for Peak Performance

Karen Oxenford-Melcher
VP Global Pre-Sales & Sales Operations
MercuryGate International, Inc.

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