April 2011 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Enhanced Visibility: The Future of TMS

Tags: Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Chris Timmer, is SVP of Marketing & Strategy, LeanLogistics, 616-796-6400

Q: How does a SaaS transportation management system (TMS) encourage collaboration, and why is collaboration important in today’s challenging economic environment?

Timmer: In a SaaS multi-tenant TMS environment, all community members of the transportation network operate from the same instance of the TMS software, regardless of their point or date of entry into the network community. That means that all members—shippers, carriers, suppliers, and customers—view the same permission-based data to identify collaborative solutions and improvements to the community.

In an unbiased network, as is the case with LeanLogistics, the relations are on par; the software provider does not own any relationship or control any pricing. This free market is a natural driver of economy, and collaboration enables users to increase efficiencies across their supply chain. Information sharing and complete visibility allow shippers to easily collaborate on loads and lanes to reduce empty miles and carbon footprint. Private fleets, typically running below 50-percent capacity, are an excellent example of how visibility and access to loads within the network can increase asset utilization 200 or 300 percent—sometimes more.

Q: What’s next in TMS technology?

Timmer: We’re seeing the use of ‘meta intelligence;’ leveraging TMS visibility and data in decisions that extend well beyond traditional functionality, with the capability to support and even redefine your marketing, sales and distribution, and customer service based on the business intelligence derived from your transportation network. For example, you’ll know the environmental and financial cost for every load in every lane, and anticipate and adjust for capacity constraints. You’ll achieve maximum utilization of your facilities by managing inbound and scheduling appointments. This information and interpretation are only possible with an extensive SaaS network that draws on a vast repository of data to provide answers for critical supply chain issues.

There will also be a growing number of task-specific applications available. Case in point: LeanLogistics LeanDex™ Transportation Index provides real-time rate validation and scenario-based sourcing strategies. Users can identify lanes where rates are out of tolerance and negotiate services using better data, leading to new levels of transportation optimization. The index is a self-serve, Web-based application that provides shippers and carriers with timely snapshots and ongoing rate trends for any North American lane. Access to more business-intelligence tools and the use of data intelligence, such as LeanDex™, is the future for TMS technology.