TMS Automation: How a Transportation Management Platform Empowers Shippers

Cloud-based TMS software provides tools needed to achieve transportation optimization and automation.

The use of a transportation management system (TMS) helps shippers and logistics service providers better manage freight, uncover inefficiencies, and unlock higher customer service levels. TMS adoption rates continue to increase as new TMS automation success stories emerge. 

That’s driving more shippers will a transportation management platform for executing their logistics strategies.

Modern Challenges Faced by Shippers

Modern shippers and logistics service providers face many challenges, including a rapidly changing landscape. 

According to Inbound Logistics, traditional supply chains included master distributors, retailers, and consumers. Modern supply chains have evolved to include all parties: consumers, resellers, liquidators, third-party resellers – the list is endless, representing the continued changing of global supply chains.

Meanwhile, traditional TMS capabilities were not created to handle the surge in demand for e-commerce, globalization, or the flexibility to change shipping modes seamlessly. A dedicated transportation management platform proves its value to navigate these market forces.

Dedicated Transportation Management Platforms Empower Shippers

Implementing a dedicated TMS empowers shippers with data-driven decision making. However, how data affects shipping is more profound than meets the eye. 

Data is the gold standard of modern transportation, and automated functions, ranging from reporting through exception management, transform freight management into a turnkey process. Instead of spending countless hours requesting quotes, relying on dozens of carrier portal logins, and outdated freight forwarding capabilities, TMS automation eliminates redundancy. The system handles the legwork of freight management, so users can spend more time working with customers, increasing sales, and managing the workforce. 

Even then, modern TMS automation functions also enable faster labor management, basing the schedule on actual needs.

Additional Benefits of TMS Automation

The use of TMS automation offers significant benefits, including:
  • Optimized distribution methods. Most enterprise TMS today includes route optimization. Still, it is essential to look for platforms that continuously review and redevelop routes, a crucial function to stay competitive and overcome obstacles in any mode. Also, look for an enterprise TMS that provides multi-modal shipping optimization, especially those modes needing more attention, like last-mile delivery, the most expensive of all the shipping modes per hundredweight.
  • Utilization of new fulfillment models. Demand continues to increase, so new fulfillment models, such as just-in-time fulfillment require procurement at the speed of light. This literal example involves intuitive TMS functions that integrate with the WMS to automate reordering, inbound dock scheduling, and more.
  • Access to dropshipping and cross-docking strategies. Dropshipping and cross-docking, while new fulfillment models, deserve a second mention. These strategies demand utmost confidence in the supply chain network, unparalleled collaboration, and automated order processing—functions inherent in a best-in-class TMS.
  • Integrate your TMS with brick-and-mortar POS systems, notes Digital Commerce 360.
  • Increased scrutiny of transportation costs and fees. A modern TMS also includes an assortment of freight auditing capabilities, such as running reports to isolate accessorials and keep them under control.
  • Use of load consolidation programs. Load consolidation and deconsolidation are critical functions to keeping freight spend in check and using multi-modal shipping.
  • Access to more carriers. Working with more carriers reduces capacity concerns and enables scalability in the freight network.
  • Reduced risk for human error. Automation between the TMS and other supply chain systems, including the point of sale system (POS), reduces the risk of human error, which naturally increases customer service.

Put TMS Automation to Work in Your Supply Chain

Automation is a mission-critical capability of modern TMS and supply chain functions. Without automation, shippers are ill-equipped to handle the changing demands of customers and the expansion of the global supply chain.

FAQ: Additional Questions about TMS Automation

How does TMS automation address the challenges posed by the changing landscape of modern supply chains?

TMS automation addresses the challenges posed by the changing landscape of modern supply chains by integrating advanced functionalities such as real-time data analysis, predictive analytics, and AI-driven decision-making capabilities. These features enable shippers to adapt quickly to fluctuations in demand, optimize route planning, and streamline warehouse operations to meet the needs of a diverse range of stakeholders in the supply chain, including consumers, resellers, and third-party vendors.

Can you provide examples of how TMS automation improved efficiency and service levels for shippers?

Numerous case studies demonstrate the tangible benefits of TMS automation for shippers. For example, a leading e-commerce retailer implemented TMS automation to optimize its logistics operations, resulting in a significant reduction in transportation costs and transit times. Additionally, a multinational manufacturing company utilized TMS automation to enhance visibility and control over its global supply chain network, leading to improved inventory management and customer satisfaction.

What are potential drawbacks of TMS automation that shippers should be aware of before implementation?

While TMS automation offers numerous advantages, it’s essential for shippers to consider potential drawbacks or limitations. One potential challenge is the initial TMS implementation cost and complexity associated with integrating TMS automation with existing IT infrastructure and processes. Additionally, reliance on technology introduces the risk of system failures or disruptions, which could impact the efficiency and reliability of logistics operations.

does TMS automation integrate with other existing Supply Chain systems?

TMS automation integrates seamlessly with other systems within a company’s supply chain, such as warehouse management systems (WMS) and point-of-sale (POS) systems, through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and data interoperability protocols. This integration allows for the seamless exchange of information between different systems, enabling real-time data synchronization and automated decision-making across the entire supply chain ecosystem.

Are there industries that benefit more from TMS automation? what factors contribute to greater benefit?

While TMS automation offers benefits across various industries, certain sectors may derive greater advantages due to specific operational requirements or market dynamics. For instance, industries with complex supply chain networks, such as retail, manufacturing, and logistics, stand to benefit significantly from TMS automation’s ability to optimize route planning, streamline inventory management, and enhance visibility and control over transportation processes. Additionally, businesses operating in highly competitive markets or experiencing rapid growth may find TMS automation particularly valuable for maintaining a competitive edge and scaling their operations efficiently.

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