How to Use a TMS for Shipment Visibility And Connectivity – Manhattan Associates
Medium to large shippers may have millions of dollars of materials and inventory on the highway and often do not know exactly where it is located. Delayed shipments can have a significant economic impact on shippers and receivers, and the lack of visibility from a legacy transportation management system (TMS) into shipment status only exacerbates the problem.
For companies that are using an older transportation solution that is woefully out of date, or still trying to run their operations with spreadsheets and an Access database, a modern TMS will completely transform the efficiency of their supply chain.
With a full-featured TMS, shippers extend their capabilities in both strategic and tactical terms by going beyond the fundamental TMS functions of routing, rating, and payments to uncover the data-driven insights a modern system is capable of producing.
With a powerful transportation management system designed for the speed and complexity of today’s supply chains, shippers for commercial and consumer customers can better manage modern connected commerce, in which receivers expect a constant flow of information and alerts about their shipments. A TMS helps deliver a personalized shipping experience, even for business-to-business (B2B) networks.
Users experience centralized information flows to all stakeholders, while the TMS automates functions such as rating, routing, mode optimization, and shipment tracking and reporting. Most companies should start with visibility and connectivity functions in order to quickly streamline their processes and reduce labor costs. The TMS will deliver visibility for both domestic and international shipments and connectivity with any partner in the ecosystem. Then organizations are ready to engage with the data generated by the TMS to enable sophisticated shipment planning and optimization.
Private fleet operators can even use the TMS to secure inbound vendor backhauls and other backhaul opportunities to optimize fleet utilization.
Users can automate alerts and exception management to notify all stakeholders of delays. Organizations see a rapid return on investment from more efficient processes and workflows and better customer service. Rather than staff call centers to handle customer service questions, a TMS can proactively provide self-service alerts to all stakeholders within the shipment lifecycle. Load planners stay focused on optimizing the network rather than dealing with exceptions.
With more efficient processes and workflows in place, users can be seen as shippers of choice by carriers to help ensure they have access to capacity in the marketplace.
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4 TMS Takeaways
- Automate processes: Improve customer service with automatic alerts and notifications while reducing labor costs. The TMS can integrate with other business processes such as purchase orders, accounting and warehouse management systems.
- Improve service: With greater visibility and more efficient workflows from origin to destination, shippers will be better able to retain their customers. Executing shipments with track and trace functionality delivers companies visibility into their supply chain, making it easier to meet customer expectations.
- Leverage connectivity: Use shipment visibility to help carriers and shippers align their networks and operations so carriers are able to provide the level of service the shippers require. Pass information to supply chain partners to improve communication and eliminate duplication of data processing.
- Dive into data: Use the data generated in the TMS to help improve the customer experience and identify areas where processes can be optimized. Analyze transportation costs to optimize the transportation spend in real-time.