While many shippers have made a Transportation Management System (TMS) part of their supply chain management suite, a significant portion of the industry is still relying on manual methods to try and track their freight spend—as much as 25% by some estimates. If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that we all need to be able to access reliable information at any time from any place. A TMS became a requirement for shippers before 2020, but COVID-19 has driven the point home even more.
Here are some ways you are wasting your time without a TMS—and how you could save it.
- Dialing carriers to find capacity and get bids
Few things are more frustrating than making reminders to follow up on calls and emails. With a TMS, you can get bids electronically with a built in routing guide that knows your preferred carriers, giving you the best option with the least manual effort. A TMS also provides route optimization so that you don’t have to figure out the best arrangement yourself.
- Asking carriers for updates on shipment status
When you need to track the status or shipments, instead of logging into different sites or calling for updates, a TMS allows you to track it all in one place. Most systems also have tools for communicating with carriers so that you don’t need to hunt down email addresses or phone numbers.
- Updating spreadsheets manually & writing down notes
Without a TMS, it’s up to shippers to keep track of all the shipments planned or in process. As more and more people work remotely, or unplanned events arise, it can be critical to be able to access everything online.
- Communicating shipment status to others on your team
A good TMS will support unlimited users with different access levels so that your whole team can get the details they need. This eliminates the need to follow up with coworkers, possibly many times, to find out the status of a shipment. It also eliminates the perils of tribal knowledge. When only certain locations or individuals know key facts about how your carriers and vendors do business, it’s only a matter of time before someone without that knowledge makes a costly mistake. A TMS puts all the knowledge at the fingertips of everyone who needs it.
- Relying on carriers for reports
Instead of waiting for carriers to send or release reports, a TMS allows you to find all your shipment metrics online. This provides shippers with more information than they’d typically receive and puts it all together while keeping things objective. Reporting in a true TMS includes features like dashboards and carrier scorecards that can drill down into your data and provide actionable insights to save you both time and money.
These are just a sampling of the ways that a TMS saves time. We encourage you to request a demo of our Constellation TMS to learn more.