There is a subset of supply chain management called “transportation management system” that refers specifically to transportation operations and is a component within an enterprise resource planning system. This area has evolved quite a bit in recent years thanks to technological advancements, and now transportation management software has made it possible for companies to add context to a shipper’s transportation data. This software oversees four key processes of transportation management: planning and decision making, transportation execution, transportation follow-up, and measurement. Modern transportation management software has the ability to use context to determine whether:
- an incorrect invoice charge was caused by a carrier re-weighing their freight or by re-classifying their freight
- a shipment arrived late due to inclement weather or due to the consignee not being available to sign for the delivery
These are just two examples of the types of judgments that logistics shipping companies can make with the help of transportation management software. Here are a few more ways that this technology can be used today:
Exception Management Process
This software can be configured to periodically alert an individual when lanes, carriers, or facilities do not meet specified targets. This is especially helpful because it allows managers to instantly know when the amount of business their company is doing has changed. Before transportation management software, management would have had to wait up to a year before being made aware that targets were not being met. The sooner that management is aware of a problem, the sooner it can begin to look for a solution.
Today, a single transportation management software product can be used for shipments in all modes, whereas before additional applications had to be added for special cases like small parcels. Additional documents, which are needed for shipments like pallet labels or hazardous materials documentation, can now be printed on-site. In the past, this documentation needed to be printed ahead of time.
Logistics shipping companiescan provide vendors with a tool that allows them to pre-load shipping business’ rules, carriers, and purchase orders. Using this pre-loaded information, vendors can send shipments to the shipper’s carriers without having to wait for the carrier to provide this information.
All of the aforementioned data can be pulled into a centralized location, or dashboard, that shippers can use to monitor the company’s freight activity in real-time. The result is an effective measurement of the Freight Payment and Pre-Audit so that it matches the data that is continuously coming in. Put more simply, the ability to monitor this data in real-time means that shipper is finally able to determine what is happening in their supply chain. Only by staying up-to-date on trends and data will a shipper be able to make the most intelligent decisions.
When logistics shipping companies decide that they are ready to acquire transportation management software, they have three ways to do so. They can use a traditional purchased license (on-premise licensing,) a remote or cloud-based solution (hosted licensing,) or a blend of these two options (on-premise hosted licensing.) Shippers looking to determine which option is best for their organization should reach out to a transportation management software provider about their preferred opinion.