July 2011 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Technology Provides Visibility into Global Supply Chains

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

Matt Ahearn is President, LeanLogistics, 877-828-5861

Q: When managing global transportation, how do advanced Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) transportation management systems (TMS) compare to traditional installed-based rivals?

Ahearn: As more companies expand overseas and offshore, managing transportation is quickly becoming a challenging factor of globalization. With a true SaaS TMS, multiple organizations—including vendors, carriers, and shippers—are able to work collaboratively in a single instance of the technology.

In addition to collaboration, true SaaS models give organizations an ideal cost structure, allow visibility across the entire supply chain, as well as provide scalable, flexible, and efficient processes. This enables companies to reduce costs, improve services, and gain complete visibility into their entire transportation process while abiding with the processes and regulations of different countries.

Furthermore, the connectivity provided across multiple partners in a SaaS model makes visibility a natural outcome. Traditional installed software is built with single user architecture in mind. Installed TMS solutions don’t provide the visibility, centralized control, or collaborative benefits of a true SaaS platform, which is why SaaS models are becoming the growing preference among industry experts and transportation professionals.

Q: How can companies improve their global supply chain by leveraging technology?

Ahearn: In a volatile global transportation market, companies must be able to scale infrastructure quickly and efficiently based on changing business needs. With true SaaS models, functionality, users, and applications can be added or deleted to adjust the solution for a more efficient and cohesive supply chain. By centralizing control of the transportation process, companies are able to proactively address shifts in the supply chain.

True SaaS technology not only allows companies to manage the execution side of transportation, but also greatly enhance the planning side and, in turn, all links of the supply chain. In addition, the unique value SaaS-based solutions generate is the ability to leverage a community, such as the LeanLogistics Transportation Network, which empowers companies to improve overall supply chain management in a collaborative environment.

Q: What advantage do companies receive from being part of a transportation network?

Ahearn: Gaining visibility to data is the primary benefit to having access to a network. For example, members of the LeanLogistics Transportation Network have unbiased access to transportation data, such as rates, carrier performance, and transit times, to strategically improve performance by providing an industry frame of reference beyond historical company-only data. By accessing network data, companies benchmark with better business intelligence, allowing smarter decisions for continuous improvements.