If you’re shipping any significant volume of items, a transportation management system is the best way to manage operations. With better management, you can drive business efficiency, save cost, and ultimately provide better customer service, which will improve your bottom line. Sounds great, right?


There are many benefits to having a good transportation management system in place. But, what should you look for in a transportation management system? 


Well, let’s dive in and explore what exactly a TMS is, why you need one, and what the key differentiators of cutting edge systems are.


What Is A Transportation Management System?

Let’s start with the basics, shall we? 


Getting your business’s goods from A to B is a matter of logistics and a key part of supply chain management (SCM). A TMS is simply a platform that uses technology to help you to plan, execute, manage, and improve your transportation operations in real-time. 

Having a solution like this in place gives you real-time visibility into the day-to-day running of your business and ensures that you deliver your goods on time. 


Why You Need a TMS

A TMS will do basically everything except steering the ship, truck, or plane for you! It will:

  • Select the best mode of transportation.
  • Plan loads, considering space, weight, and maximum loads.
  • Manage trade compliance of all trade information, documentation, and policies.
  • Improve your Business Intelligence using collected data.
  • Manage quotes and complex tariffs.
  • Manage your scheduling.
  • Manage your fleets.
  • Match loads and carriers.
  • Optimize and consolidate routes
  • Track, document, and trace deliveries in real-time.
  • Facilitate communication and the exchange of information between carriers, distributors, warehouses, and customers.
  • Prevent human error.
  • Prevent and detect problems or delays ensuring timely delivery.
  • Freight Pay and Audit.
  • Track and monitor performance.


And this is just the beginning. With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, there is no closed list of what a TMS can do for your business.  


Key Technology Differentiators of Cutting Edge Transportation Management Systems

Now that you know a TMS investment is a must-have for your business, let’s dive into some of the tech stuff you need to understand. 


TMS’s can be tailored and integrated with different features to suit your business’s SCM needs. But, there are some key technological features that you should look out for when choosing the right TMS for you. 


Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning

Using AI and machine learning means that the ‘bots’ learn the ropes for you while you reap the benefits of accuracy, efficiency, and optimization. 


AI and machine learning are both the now and the future of supply chain management. Real-time data can be captured, processed, and analyzed continuously for never-ending optimization. 


The automation of processes and communications simplifies the logistics and helps you achieve customer satisfaction and meet demands. 


Cutting edge transportation management systems should be able to collect and learn from historical data and trends. This way, it can provide you with predictive, planning, and detective capabilities to enhance your operations. 


Adaptive AI will improve accuracy when it comes to recommendations, like alternate delivery routes and matching loads and carriers.


The benefits of AI include: 

  • cutting costs
  • making logistical processes less labor-intensive
  • improving analytics


With a transportation management system that uses AI and machine learning, your freight operations can become a real profit driver in your business!


Advanced Reporting and Analytics

In today’s digital world, we should all know the importance of monitoring analytics in all types of businesses. So, why this isn’t exactly the most cutting-edge, new type of technology, it is crucial that a TMS has good reporting and analytics capabilities.


Reports are the best way to monitor your operations over time. They let you see where you succeed and where you may fall short. This lets you improve your strategies over time and keep up with ever-changing customer trends. 


A Cloud-Architected System

TMS software is not a new concept, nor is the Cloud. But, a cloud-architected TMS is pretty cutting-edge and can provide many benefits to your business: 

  • It centralizes the location of all stored information. 
  • You can manage everything remotely, which is crucial for businesses in 2021.
  • As a new user, it makes investing in your TMS more affordable.
  • It levels the playing field for smaller businesses that can tap into the best rates and reduced costs.
  • Cloud-cybersecurity equates to stronger and improved data security.
  • The Cloud uses real-time data to process analytics. So, you can easily identify the best and most accurate metrics and key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your business.
  • Automated data back-ups ensure continuous access to all your data despite any potential business interruptions. 


Final Thoughts

To wrap everything up, let’s just say that technology’s role in your business is to optimize efficiency and save you money. It should not waste your time with complex, difficult to use interfaces. 


A good TMS solution not only helps you prevent transportation problems from occurring, but also helps you detect and get ahead of problems before they become a liability.

Why sail close to the wind when a TMS can take the helm and ensure smooth sailing?


We want you to select the perfect solution for your business (even if it isn’t ours).

SwanLeap TMS Buyer's Guide