Turning Automated TMS Functions Into a Competitive Advantage

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

As global supply chains grow more complex, reducing costs becomes more difficult. Increased customer demands result in a more significant strain on resources. Automated TMS functions change the narrative, and shippers need to understand why

Challenges in Maintaining a Competitive Advantage 

Advancement is everywhere. While consumers push the limits of “fast, free” delivery, shippers struggle to maintain a competitive advantage. Now it is not enough to offer three-day shipping. If customers cannot get their products tomorrow, they will go elsewhere. 

This risk amplifies given the free, next day delivery now provided. Traditional challenges remain, including securing the best freight rates, scheduling trucks, and meeting capacity needs. 

Unfortunately, the long-held standards of what makes a competitive advantage – faster, better service – is now standard practice, and it alone cannot guarantee competitive advantage.

Automated TMS Functions Create a Competitive Advantage

Automated TMS functions, including freight auditing services, dashboarding tools, exception management, analytics, and EDI-based automation propel shippers’ competitive advantages forward. 

More informed decision making increases responsiveness and optimization of operations. Thus, customers receive better service. In addition, improvements in the supply chain also lend themselves to improved safety measures and fewer risks, explains Supply Chain Beyond.

For example, when a shipment is listed as “out for delivery,” customers only know that last scan data. That is simply unacceptable in today’s world. Customers want to know exactly when the product will arrive, not just a random range. This is why customers expect more visibility in shipping, and shippers and logistics service providers must respond.

7 tips to Expand Your Advantage Through Ongoing Process Improvement

Utilizing your assets more efficiently is one thing, but finding ways to increase competitive advantage is another challenge. 

To use a TMS to maximize your operational efficiency, follow these 7 tips:

  1. Upgrade your TMS. Your TMS must access and provide information in real-time.
  2. Connect your assets and systems. Connected assets, such as devices connected to the Internet of Things or integrating disparate supply chain systems to the TMS, enhances the validity and speed of your supply chain.
  3. Use analytics. Analytics help shippers identify inefficiencies and predict performance.
  4. Get all supply chain partners to use the same system. Getting everyone on the same page eliminates uncertainty and improves collaboration throughout your network.
  5. Eliminate errors with robust training. Providing proper training to your staff reduces the risk of human errors and reduces pushback from employees against change.
  6. Hold users accountable. While many improvements exist, the most significant factor derives from holding all users, including supply chain partners, responsible for their actions or lack thereof.
  7. Measure performance. Lastly, use data from new, automated TMS functions to measure performance, while also tracking operations with dashboards and business intelligence tools.

Leverage the Power of Automated TMS Functions

Advanced and easy-to-deploy TMS functions automate many of your workflows, processes and maximize order fulfillment, as well as transportation management. 

Since a TMS handles both inbound and outbound freight, any improvement in transportation management will naturally lead to better procurement management, speeding time to market, and more.

Download this case study to see how automated TMS supports users with dynamic rulesets.

FAQ: Additional Questions About Automated  TMS

What challenges do shippers face in implementing automated TMS functions, and how can these challenges be overcome?

Specific challenges in implementing automated TMS functions can include integration complexities with existing systems, data accuracy issues, resistance from employees to adopt new technology, and the need for significant investment in software and infrastructure. Overcoming these challenges may involve thorough planning, effective change management strategies, robust training programs, and selecting a TMS provider with proven experience in addressing such issues.

Are there risks associated with relying automated TMS functions?

Potential drawbacks or risks associated with relying heavily on automated TMS functions for competitive advantage could include dependency on technology, potential system failures or downtime, data security concerns, and the risk of overlooking human insights or intuition in decision-making processes. Mitigating these risks may involve implementing backup systems, regular maintenance and updates, stringent cybersecurity measures, and ensuring that automated processes still allow for human oversight and intervention when necessary.

How do automated TMS functions integrate with existing supply chain management systems and technologies?

Automated TMS functions typically integrate with existing supply chain management systems and technologies through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) protocols. These integrations enable seamless data exchange between the TMS and other systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, WMS (Warehouse Management Systems), and carrier networks. Additionally, modern TMS platforms often support connectivity with IoT (Internet of Things) devices for real-time tracking and monitoring of shipments.

Are there best practices for selecting and implementing automated TMS functions?

Industry standards and best practices for selecting and implementing automated TMS functions effectively may include conducting thorough needs assessments and requirements gathering, evaluating multiple TMS vendors based on criteria such as scalability, flexibility, and ease of integration, engaging stakeholders from across the organization in the selection process, piloting the chosen TMS solution before full deployment, and continuously monitoring and optimizing performance post-implementation.

Can you provide case studies showcasing implementation of automated TMS functions and the results gained by companies?

Real-world examples or case studies showcasing successful implementation of automated TMS functions and resulting competitive advantages gained by companies can be found through industry publications, case study repositories on TMS vendor websites, and testimonials from companies that have publicly shared their experiences. These examples often highlight improvements in operational efficiency, cost savings, enhanced visibility and tracking capabilities, and improved customer satisfaction achieved through the adoption of automated TMS solutions.

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