An automated Transportation Management System, or TMS, is a common tool used by traffic managers in logistics departments of larger businesses, providing an efficient and cost-effective way to streamline shipping expenditures that can reach into the seven figures. However, these systems can also be highly beneficial to small- to mid-sized companies with lower spends, yet equal need for efficiency and sharp focus on their bottom line.
Is a TMS Affordable for a Smaller Company?
The first thing a smaller shipper might wonder when considering investing in a TMS is if such a system would even be affordable. The good news is that the majority of today’s Transportation Management Systems are web-based with a software intermediary known as an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing for seamless communication and integration with a shipper’s own system, at very reasonable costs. In many instances, 3PL’s will adjust the cost of the platform based on shipping volume, offering lower (or sometimes free) use costs for higher shipping volumes.
Numerous Advantages for LTL Freight Management
All shipping depends on processes coming together smoothly from start to finish. The Less Than Truckload (LTL) category is no exception and inherently has even more layers of complexity. For example, keeping close track of all inbound freight is critical to avoid delays in shipping and even in production—not to mention chargebacks due to inadequate research regarding correct lanes and carriers—which can result not only in financial hits but unsatisfied customers, who could potentially leave less than favorable reviews online.
Coordinating loads with the best LTL carrier and equipment, in the correct lanes ensures both optimal rates and service. Benefits of TMS include:
- Rates from Multiple Carriers: From LTL freight rates that are real-time, to management-directed preferences, to greater speed and room for expansion, a TMS offers shippers multiple quotes from all of the major carriers, allowing the shipper to choose the best rate for their freight..
- Freight Tracking: With step-by-step visibility of your shipments, enhanced communication with both customers and suppliers leads to stronger relationships and improved accountability.
- Streamlined Processes: Integration of a TMS with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and address book, fuel surcharge and accessorial details along with your automatic storage eliminates many of the manual data entry issues that can lead to higher—and even duplicate!—shipping costs.
- Accounting Made Easy: Numerous locations and/or weekly shipments can quickly complicate accounting processes. With a quality TMS you can access all shipping info, set up automatic reports to consolidate and analyze quotes vs. actual costs, do supplementary auditing, and more.
- Fact-based Insight: TMS-generated reports can offer valuable insight for your LTL activity, including cost comparisons between carriers and which one might offer the most solid service as well as the least potential for future claims.
- Transparent Communication for All: Everyone benefits from the ease of document retrieval that a web-based TMS provides. Shippers, carriers, consignees and/or a third-party logistics provider (3PL) can enjoy fluid communication with all necessary “paperwork” available at the click of a mouse. Setting up electronic data interchange (EDI) notifications ensures that all parties can access freight information, 24/7.
Contact Amware today and learn how you can start saving on your LTL shipments with our proprietary, web-based TMS – Amrate. Amrate is a full-featured and recently updated (Amrate 7.0) cloud based TMS. Amrate 7.0 can typically be easily integrated into many ERP, warehouse, and inventory management systems. Click below to request a free trial and see for yourself how much a TMS can save your organization.