How a TMS Optimizes Multimodal Shipping

MercuryGate Blog - TMS Category

Successful supply chain management lies in achieving a balance between operational excellence, profitability, service, and speed. One shipping strategy, relying on multiple modes throughout the journey with a specific carrier, is multimodal shipping. Unfortunately, multimodal shipping remains an often-underfunded aspect of supply chain management. As reported by Jeff Berman of Logistics Management:

“Multimodal freight networks directly support 44 million U.S. jobs and the indirect benefits extend to every corner of the national economy. But it noted that comes with a caveat, as non-highway projects can compete for just 11% of total INFRA program funding.”

Shippers and logistics service professionals need to understand the value of utilizing a transportation management system (TMS) to optimize freight management.

Causes of Poor Multimodal Shipping Management

The causes of poor multimodal management and strategy stem from limited visibility and access to accurate, timely freight data. Such data may include freight rates across multiple modes, poor execution of supply chain processes, and more. Furthermore, multimodal that does not consider the whole picture is at risk of incurring added costs when compared to using a single freight mode. As a result, failure to optimize the use of multiple modes in shipping with a TMS that bridges all systems will add to freight spend.

Multimodal Shipping Needs Consistent Optimization to Add Value

Much talk has been devoted to the use of innovative shipping strategies to secure more capacity and reduce freight spend. However, the value of any strategy is limited by the accuracy and timeliness of data used in its execution. As a result, multimodal shipping needs consistent and timely optimization to add value to your supply chain. In this manner, more shippers and logistics service providers have turned to advanced, cloud-connected solutions, such as a TMS, to enable around-the-clock optimization.

How to Use a TMS to Improve Multimodal Routing and More

Organizations seeking to maximize the use of multimodal routing and capabilities should follow these tips:
  • Evaluate the limitations of your current TMS, including the TMS’ limited capabilities with connecting with other supply-chain systems.
  • Understand the physical limitations of your facilities and the process changes required to leverage multiple modes.
  • Avoid the risk of daily updates in favor of real-time push updates regarding freight rate indices, market availability, mode selection, and more.
  • Ensure partnering supply chain companies leverage a system connected to the same overarching platform as your company.
  • Centralize document storage regarding all multimodal shipments within the TMS.
  • Take advantage of robotics process automation to initiate automated activities within the TMS, such as payment processing upon invoice delivery, answering customer and client queries, and more.
  • Recommission your supply chain assets to automatically generate and collect data that can be fed into the TMS to provide the most comprehensive view of your supply chain’s health.

MercuryGate Optimizes Your Multimodal Shipping Strategy

Multimodal shipping is among the most complex strategies a modern supply chain may leverage. However, the potential benefits that can be realized in lower freight spend and available capacity, far outweighs any complexity. Therefore, modern supply chain managers and leaders should look to deploy an advanced TMS capable of offering ongoing multimodal shipping optimization, such as the MercuryGate transportation management platform.

Learn more about how multimodal shipping yields real savings by requesting a MercuryGate demo online now.

Phil Melton
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