What is a TMS?

Speed up your execution from 2-days to 2-seconds

With the massive amount of shipping information available today along with the tools to access and manage it, Transportation Management Systems can be powerful tools for anyone who ships at high volumes. Processes that took 2-days can now execute in 2-seconds. Packed with feature promises like mode shopping, load consolidation, route optimization, control tower tracking, payment and auditing, and even analytics, it’s easy to see why a TMS can deliver value. It’s also easy to be overwhelmed with features that complicate productivity. Someone executing parcel orders at a pick and pack station doesn’t need analytics. After all, this thing is supposed to make shipping easier.

While a TMS can be a great solution, many TMS’s rely on outdated technology and manual processes to deliver value. With so much effort and upkeep it’s easy to understand why some people think of a TMS as a glorified label maker.

Legacy systems fall short.

Today’s systems can provide visibility, speed and control.

You can’t build a house on a cracked foundation and you can’t build a modern TMS on outdated legacy systems. Legacy systems fail in three major areas.

1. Legacy systems are static in a dynamic shipping world. Outdated solutions rely on clunky methods such as business rules and manually-entered load plans. Think about how limiting that is. What if you have a new customer that needs to ship on a lane that isn’t in your contract? You could go through the time consuming process of rate shopping that lane, but that may take too long to implement. You could try to negotiate a new contract, but that process would take time away from executing shipments. You could also hire a broker or 3PL and pay a markup. But what if you didn’t have to?

A modern TMS gives you access to a transportation marketplace with below-market rates on every lane, lets you mode shop, and uses artificial intelligence to optimize your shipping choices. All of this translates to hard dollar saving.

2. Legacy systems can’t give you control tower visibility. According to SwanLeap CEO Brad Hollister, “Legacy providers in the transportation industry are unable to provide true visibility of supply chain events real time.” This prohibits you from making data-driven decisions about your shipping processes. What if your best carrier can’t pick up until 1:30pm, but the warehouse doesn’t start picking until 12:30pm? You won’t be able to see that without a control tower and you’ll lose money as a result.

A modern TMS uses AI to learn from big data and make recommendations on everything from deliveries to shipping error elimination. This translates to satisfied customers and efficient, repeatable processes.

3. Legacy systems aren’t flexible. What if you have a semi-annual sale and your shipping volume doubles? Can your current solution keep up? Let’s say you want a simplified interface for a location that primarily handles parcel for Ecommerce, and a more complex interface for a distribution center shipping LTL and Full Truckload. This scenario, while very practical, isn’t even on the radar of the average provider. And what about integration? How long is that going to take? Does the legacy system charge more for integrations with certain systems?

A modern TMS can be up and running within a day and seamlessly integrates with any system you use, all for the price of admission.