Every supply chain consists of not just the manufacturing and warehousing of products, but their transportation as well. This requires logistics enterprises to undertake several activities such as delivery planning, fleet management, shipment tracking, and more. A small business with only a few shipments on the move can probably handle operations on a small scale by utilising traditional tools like Excel spreadsheets as well as back and forth communication through emails and calls. But once your turnover starts to grow, it will become impossible to properly handle daily processes without a more robust way to control all the activities taking place.
A study by McKinsey has estimated that the current Indian transportation ecosystem has a value loss of about $80 billion, and the inefficiencies are only expected to go up. This is due to the fact that 90% of logistics companies in India are not organised and are owned by people with only one or two trucks. In fact, logistics costs in India account for almost 13% to 15% of the product cost, while 6% is the global average. This current wastage in India’s transport industry is majorly caused due to inefficient logistical practices and processes and equals to around 4.3% of our GDP.
What is TMS or Transportation Management System?
A Transportation Management System offers you everything you need to plan and execute your shipment while having complete visibility over every process taking place. TMS is modular software, which means you can integrate different functions separately and can consist of many modules. Such ‘control tower’ capabilities allow you to have a complete view of the shipment process, thus capturing pertinent data from manufacturers, customers, and more. This data is also captured in real-time with the use of API or EDI technology for instant updating and can be reviewed later for the purpose of analysing service issues, supply chain performance, financials, and more.
To know more, read our blog - All you need to know about Enterprise Transport Management System
Features of Transportation Management System
Businesses in the transportation and logistics industry face complex challenges when it comes to supply and logistics management, cost management, and strict regulations. With data-driven contract management, companies can get help with managing every stage in the contract process through the shipment cycle. It will allow you to manage complex agreements with the utmost compliance and line item tracking, and delivery schedule management to improve your transportation processes and handle them seamlessly. You can also create and manage the agreement across all vendors with complex procurement as well as Indent logic.
Job Booking - Indent Planning
As a shipper, transportation company, or any logistics service provider (LSP), you must ensure that you are completing your transportation jobs in the best possible time, price, and efficiency. Job Bookings are planned by businesses that are going to send the shipment from the warehouse to the retail shop or from the mining location to the manufacturing plant. This can be done by using prominent Job Booking and Planning features of a TMS that allow you to get low transportation costs, reliable, on-time services, as well as better sourcing and procurement. You can find the best rates from manufacturers, carriers, and more so you can seamlessly transport products between locations. A Transportation Management System provides you with the necessary tools to find vendors, request quotations, assess responses, and find the best for the job.
Indenting - Actual Request
A TMS offers powerful tools for processing and optimising the transportation process. You can view decision-influencing data such as transit times, size loads, price, distances, labor costs, fuel, and more to pick routes that are the fastest and most cost effective. When using a Transportation Management System, you can also execute the major activities needed for freight and transportation management such as shipment bookings with carriers. Real-time visibility into where your fleet or shipment is throughout the transportation cycle as well as GPS features for time and distance measurement make it easier to execute your planning. You also have automated features for auto-indenting based on contract, trigger spot-auction in case of indent failure, and more to support your processes.
Logistics businesses that still use a combination of databases and spreadsheets to fulfil orders with their suppliers and customers will find it hard to look beyond what is happening in the day to day. Using a TMS will change the situation drastically and offer ways to work better, smarter, and faster, without losing opportunities and resources. This technology gathers, integrates, and presents resources to make data-driven decisions and get a quick understanding of measured situations.
A Transportation Management System provides companies with complete insight into the thousands of shipments taking place under your management. With a multitude of data available at your fingertips, each shipment can be easily tracked and managed, including its internal and external processes. Visibility and performance management also aids logistics businesses in managing complex motor carrier schedules, diverse freight delivery networks, capacity supply challenges, rising freight rates, and more. With such optimised capabilities, you can also get reporting and analytics features to track carrier performance and other important metrics.
Electronic Proof of Delivery or ePOD
Electronic Proof of Delivery or ePOD is a paperless and seamless way of delivering products while getting real-time updates on progress through the delivery cycle. It lets you track deliveries digitally, while improving the efficiency of processes and enriching your customers’ experience. You can get multi-party Electronic Negotiations on delivery charges and qualities beforehand as well.
No more lost invoices and missed papers, as everything is digital and reduces the need to do manual paperwork. You can also capture signatures electronically and record pickups and deliveries instantly. With real-time tracking, you can keep your customers in the loop and keep them informed on where their shipment has reached with GPS tracking, barcode scanning, photos, and more.
Billing/ Freight Settlement
Freight audits for thousands of transactions can become a very daunting task that is not just manually paperwork driven, but also cumbersome with almost no optimal results. Using a TMS with audit capabilities can be a game changer as such software automates the entire process by identifying elements such as the invoice total and shipment reference number, and matching it with the earlier decided rates listed in the contract on your Transportation Management System. Such a swift process barely takes 15 to 20 seconds to be completed, that too without you going through stacks of paperwork and email follow-ups. This is also a way for transporters to eliminate leakage via double billing by vendors as everything is recorded in the system.
E Lorry Receipt or eLR
After auditing, carry on to freight settlements and track costs seamlessly by closing orders. Reduce the time it takes for invoices to get cleared and bills to get settled as well as remove any manual errors associated with financials when using a Transportation Management System. Complete orders quicker with a faster procure to pay timeline by using eLRs that provide instant notification of the shipment being delivered. Here, you can get acknowledgement of delivery and completion of the order from both ends to finalise and close the job.
To become a leader in today’s transportation industry, you must think of building a competitive advantage, which can be fulfilled with a Transportation Management System. Such a system can streamline transportation and fleet operations and adds crucial data analytics to help your business grow.