May 2014 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

The Best of Both Worlds: The Benefits of TMS with Integrated Fleet Management Tools

Tags: Logistics I.T., Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

Nicholas Carretta is President, Ultra Logistics, 800-731-7512

Q: With transportation management systems (TMS) solutions achieving maturity as a technology, what will be the next innovation in transportation automation?

A: The continually tightening trucking capacity in North America is prompting shippers to dramatically increase their use of private and dedicated fleets.

Adding to this dynamic, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's mandate to include electronic logs (e-logs) in every tractor in the United States makes these technical upgrades necessary for even the smallest private fleets. Managing fleets alongside common carriers within a TMS becomes the next logical step.

Q: Do shippers managing private fleets need to invest in both fleet management technology and TMS solutions?

A: Understandably, many shippers are reluctant to source, integrate, train workers on, and maintain two disparate systems—a TMS for common carrier movements and a fleet management tool. As a result, there is significant unmet demand for TMS solutions that integrate fleet management tools.

Having fleet management capabilities within a TMS means transportation planners can make real-time decisions about whether to use common carrier or fleet resources for any given load. The information is all neatly catalogued in a single repository, which is particularly useful for keeping tight controls over financial reporting.

Q: Are there strategic benefits to using a TMS with integrated fleet management capabilities?

A: Absolutely! Not only does maintaining a private fleet ease capacity concerns, but it also provides additional options for making the most cost-effective shipping choices. Having private fleet tools enmeshed with the TMS provides transportation managers all the information they require on one screen, which facilitates weighing service versus cost in real time when choosing between common or private/dedicated carriers.

Moreover, including robust private fleet management features within TMS has positive ramifications in terms of ROI on automation and optimization technologies. Having a single tool to manage both common carriers and private or dedicated fleets eliminates the redundant expenses that come with implementing a separate solution for each. Plus, users avoid doubling the costs associated with training, support, and maintenance for two solutions.