Efficient management of transportation plays a major role in determining the success rate of an organization’s distribution system.
Transportation incurs massive cost to the company thereby making the company strive hard towards achieving maximum returns on investment. Adoption of automated solutions by companies in such a scenario facilitates optimization of functional activities thereby expanding their line of operations and adding value to their supply chain.
Role of Technology in Transport Management System
Technology is a vital cog in the process of transportation optimization. It can be leveraged at three basic levels:
A well designed Transport Management Software contributes in all these stages and helps to take a business global through effective management of freight flows and increased efficiency throughout the distribution network.
Key Features of Transport Management System
Features of an efficient transport management system that contributes in making a supply chain lean and optimized can be broadly classified into three categories:
- Performance management
Route Optimization and Consolidation
The system is designed to provide the most optimal route for carriers. It can at once manage to plan and execute routing for hundreds of shipments either by consolidating, pooling, and even for multimodal transportation. Consolidating shipments not only saves cost but avoid needless unproductive multiple trips thereby preserving fuel and reducing carbon emission.
Mode and Carrier Selection
This feature aids in suitable selection of most favorable carrier and mode of transport based on service requirements in terms of cost, efficiency and distance. The system is designed to automatically choose the finest carrier from centralized data pool based on previous performance, price and business requirements.
Integrated warehouse management system
Integrated WMS module within existing transportation management system provides real time information about warehouse facility such as in and out inventories movement, material tracking, dispatching the shipments and many such key performance indicators. Access to this real time information improves the process decision making.
EDI enabled standard format of information exchange builds a benchmark for superiority. Organizations gain increased visibility in their functions and experience remarkable reduction in paper work. Integration of EDI with Transport management system provides high end accuracy in data and speed up critical information exchange between the businesses and at the same time contributes greatly to create a green supply chain.
Integrated audit and payment module
Auditing and payment systems allow a TMS to calculate the freight charges, evaluate the service options and identify the areas of improvement. This enables prompt acknowledgement and resolution of overcharge related issues with the carriers and customers alike. Also links to ERP or any financial system allow efficient handling of payment procedures.
Multi-modal Transportation facility
A transport management software equipped with features like enhanced geo-coding, support for rail, air, ocean based multi-modal transportation, and global map and guide allows freight to be transported other than road enabling international business. These features also maximize the efficiency of the transportation process by achieving increased visibility and facilitating accurate transit time calculation.
Track & Trace
This feature allows real time exchange of shipment information between carrier, distributor and customer. Regular and competent sharing of shipment information across the organization through web increases visibility, accuracy rate of tracking and monitoring, and efficient management &reporting.
Visibility features provide a detailed view of every steps of the transportation process thereby making them easier to manage. Accurate and timely visibility of the critical information of the entire supply chain enables to keep a healthy balance between demand and supply through proactive management of the flow of goods. This helps to bring down the overall cost of transportation.
Business Intelligence and Analytics
This feature involves proficient use of data warehousing, dashboard functionality and report generation in standard or custom formats. It aims at collecting, analyzing & summarizing supply Chain data to utilize them resourcefully for effective decision making, identifying needs & key areas of functional enhancement, and evaluating the effectiveness of existing strategies.