Transportation Management System Software: Driving Efficiency, Performance and Visibility

Transportation management system software collects information across all shipments.

Today’s transportation management system software helps companies stay on top of the myriad details involved in moving goods around a network.

Moving those shipments requires companies to manage numerous moving pieces. From tracking carriers under contract and service-level agreements (SLAs) to budgeting and analyzing performance data, operations managers using outdated analog processes can quickly become overwhelmed. 

Transportation management software provides a competitive advantage for logistics service providers and in-house shipping teams. It helps you streamline operations, improve visibility, and enhance performance and efficiency.

What Is Transportation Management System Software?

Transportation management system software – or TMS – is a digital solution that sits between your order management system (OMS) and warehouse management system (WMS).

A state-of-the-art TMS helps you maintain proper inventory levels at each node by optimizing delivery schedules and keeping your carriers accountable. It is a logistics platform that provides shippers, carriers, and their partners a digital platform for sharing critical, real-time data on all orders in transit.

Tracing transportation management system history back to the 1970s and the ubiquitous barcode, TMS software began life as a module within larger enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs).

Today’s leading TMS software systems employ a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription model and application programming interface (API) connections that do away with long implementation timeframes and high license fees.   

Why TMS Software Is Crucial

Essentially, TMS software with SaaS-based logistics capabilities provides shippers and logistics services providers (LSPs) with three distinct advantages over manual transportation management processes:
  • Greater Efficiency: Higher fuel costs continually affect a company’s profit margins. Through optimized routing that creates shorter transit distances and freight consolidation, TMS software drives significant cost savings for your organization. 
  • Improved Visibility: Shippers and LSPs require up-to-the-minute visibility into various aspects of freight in motion. Among other things, a modern transportation management system software can track and manage day-to-day transportation operations, trade compliance information, and documentation. 
  • Customer Satisfaction: Whether your customers are B2B, B2C, or a combination of both, they’re constantly demanding the highest level of performance. Using TMS software improves your on-time delivery performance, keeping customers happy and loyal.

Components and Capabilities of TMS Software

There are all kinds of TMS software solutions offering cloud-based transportation management on the market. To ensure you’re making the right choice that will deliver and meet your demands and requirements, be sure your shipment management software includes these components:
  • Carrier Management: With transportation costs in flux, more shippers are employing a multi-carrier approach to find the most economical mix of providers. A modern TMS helps you stay on top of every aspect of carrier management across all your partners.
  • Transportation Procurement: Sourcing and adding transportation service providers is often a difficult, time-consuming process for your team members. Using transportation procurement software within a TMS to collect, analyze, and benchmark carrier data simplifies the RFP process and helps you target the ideal candidates.
  • Route and Load Optimization: Poor route and load planning, adding excess miles and mismatched capacity, leads to inefficiency and waste. Transportation management system software with advanced AI technology streamlines operations to power rerouting and data-driven load planning. 
  • Freight Execution Platform: Executing freight loads to carriers can no longer be handled via spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls. A freight execution platform handles multi-modal scheduling and tendering and automated exception management.
  • Visibility, Reporting, and Analytics: Today’s shippers need a comprehensive dashboard view of freight and logistics management. A state-of-the-art TMS software system provides real-time visibility, reporting, and analytics for more informed decision-making.
  • Supply Chain Communication Control Tower: Status reports on shipments are helpful, but when adverse events happen, it’s not enough. A control tower within a TMS helps shippers and LSPs quickly view dynamics to reroute and hand off freight assignments. 
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Data Repository: A TMS software system provides a “single source of truth” for data on things like freight rates. It also helps you avoid overcharging while managing supply chain disruptions within a market or more broadly.
  • Freight Settlement for Audit and Pay: You and your staff simply don’t have the bandwidth to manually handle freight settlement to reconcile your accounting with carrier invoices. A TMS with this capability creates a closed loop from origin through final payment.
  • Invoicing Functionality: Doing this manually is time-consuming and takes team members away from higher-level tasks. A TMS with API-driven, integrated freight billing/invoicing automates much of the process, eliminating complexity and legwork.
  • Reporting and Business Intelligence (BI): A modern TMS comes with customizable report templates and rich BI tools like an integrated rate index database, eliminating the need to rely on time-consuming data extractions and spreadsheets. 

3 Advantages of Next-Level Transportation Management System Software

On a practical level, what does all this mean in terms of enabling you to improve the performance of your shipping and logistics operations?

Here are three key advantages of implementing a TMS software system:

  1. Greater Efficiency: TMS software features such as load optimization, carrier selection, and route planning can help you significantly reduce transport costs, eliminate waste, and drive ROI on your spend. 
  2. Enhanced Visibility: Tools that provide shipment visibility and dynamic workflows enable real-time tracking and improved inventory management, capabilities you can’t afford to be without.
  3. Satisfied Customers: With improved on-time performance thanks to a TMS software system that helps you hit SLAs and keep promises to your valued customers, they have less reason to jump to a competitor. 

Calculate your potential Saving While Using an enterprise TMS

Request a Demo Today

As you can see, there are multiple reasons why you should invest in a next-generation TMS software system to streamline your shipping operations and be ready for what’s next in a dynamic market environment. Ready to take the next step? Request a demo with MercuryGate today!

See our transportation management system software in action.


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