How a TMS Optimizes Inbound Shipments

Cloud-based TMS software provides tools needed to achieve transportation optimization
Shippers often associate the use of a transportation management system (TMS) with forward logistics. The focus lies on sending products to consumers and business-to-business (B2B) resellers. That only scratches the surface of TMS capabilities. Advanced TMS solutions handle everything from reverse logistics through inbound logistics (procurement), reports Talking Logistics. Shippers should think about the ways a TMS can improve the inbound shipment flow and why inbound freight management may stand out as an essential process of all supply chains.

Inbound Shipments Remain an Overlooked Area for Today’s Businesses

Inbound freight management remains on the fringe of shippers’ minds. With all the focus on service and speed to market, procurement and inbound logistics might seem like a necessary evil. Shippers can only send what they have on hand. That is not true in the end. New shipping strategies, such as drop-shipping, puts the shipping burden on the manufacturer or distribution center. The result is the same — shippers see profit without the expense. Many shippers, however, overlook that even drop-shipping alone is a form of inbound logistics. All inbound processes have a common factor—shipper desire. When shippers need something for a consumer, they turn to inbound logistics. More shippers are putting the power of drop-shipping to work to empower e-commerce, reducing carrying costs and hassle, reports Inbound Logistics.

Optimized Procurement Maximizes Throughput and Reduces Product Cycle Rates

A TMS provides a valuable service as a carrier procurement tool. Module TMS functions leverage data and easy-to-understand workflows to guide users through the freight tendering and scheduling process. Instead of trying to manage freight manually, shippers transform it into a turn-key operation.
Optimized inbound shipments and logistics processes are the first miles of all shipments. They involve the origin of an order and its tendering. Without effective inbound logistics, shippers fall flat.

How to Apply a TMS to Optimize Inbound Shipments

The path to better procurement can seem elusive. Shippers often feel they are at the mercy of suppliers. However, modern TMS functions return the power to shippers. Of course, it helps to follow these tips:
  • Create a flexible inbound shipment routing guide. This guide sets standards for suppliers and provides the steps for freight delivery and shipping.
  • Integrate your guide with the TMS. Integration ensures that all suppliers know how to access and get products to your facility.
  • Use the TMS data-tracking functions to measure procurement compliance and performance. Metrics amount to holding suppliers’ feet to the fire and ensuring accountability.
  • Train all suppliers on how to use your TMS. While many modern TMS solutions are user-friendly, provided training will increase adoption among procurement partners.
  • Maintain consistency. Leading by example and using the TMS in EVERY INTERACTION AND ACTIVITY is essential to reaping a positive ROI. TMS users typically only use about 40% of a system’s full potential and functions, says FreightWaves.
  • Use data to refine replenishment practices. Inbound freight affects on-hand inventory, and as more shippers turn to just-in-time fulfillment models, inbound freight’s value will grow in importance.

Focus on a True, End-to-End Solution With a Procurement Through Reverse Logistics-Inclusive TMS

End-to-end visibility begins with effective, data-based inbound logistics. Avoid the pitfalls of poor procurement practices with the right TMS and partner. Build a better supply chain mouse trap with Mercury Gate.

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