How to choose drayage software

Transportation management software (TMS) is a type of SaaS solution that streamlines and optimizes the operations and logistics involved in transporting goods.

How to choose drayage software

In today's rapidly evolving shipping and drayage industries, it's essential to stay ahead of the game with efficient drayage management. The best way to do that is by selecting and implementing drayage software that enables your business to streamline and optimize operations.

Transportation companies using this crucial technology to automate manual processes have seen dramatic improvements in operational efficiency. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of selecting the best drayage software for your business by discussing the impact of technology and automation in the industry and providing practical tips for evaluating software solutions.

What is (TMS) transportation management software?

Transportation management software (TMS) is a type of SaaS solution that streamlines and optimizes the operations and logistics involved in transporting goods. A good example of a modern and effective TMS is PortPro’s drayOS, a platform that allows you to plan, execute, and monitor the movement of containers from port to final destination. By implementing a TMS, drayage companies benefit from increased efficiency, cost savings, and improved customer service — becoming their customer’s carrier of choice with tailored reporting and metrics-driven velocity.

What to explore when choosing a TMS for drayage

When evaluating drayage software, it's essential to consider the key features and functionalities that will directly impact business operations. In the following sections, we'll discuss several essential features of TMS software — specifically drayOS — and their impact on your business.

Automated container tracking

Automated container tracking is unique to PortPro and enables drayage truckers to monitor the real-time location and status of their containers, whether they are located on a vessel, on a dock, or are sitting empty at a yard.

This feature helps drayage firms proactively address any issues, such as detention and demurrage (per diem), ultimately leading to a reduction in per-diem charges. Automated container tracking also helps to optimize trips to and from the terminals. For example, a TMS with automated tracking would alert you if a container is held up at Customs, is approaching the last free day, or is on a vessel en route to its destination. These alerts allow you to take immediate action or to plan ahead.

Real-time dispatch and routing

Real-time dispatch and routing capabilities allow your team to optimize routes and assign jobs to drivers efficiently — in near real time. By providing accurate, up-to-date information on the location of your vehicles and the status of jobs, a TMS can help you reduce operational costs and improve service quality.

For instance, the software can suggest the most efficient route for a driver, considering traffic, distance, and other factors. The real benefit realized in the dispatcher-to-driver relationship is in the near-instantaneous communication between web app and driver app, allowing companies to transparently communicate with one another on important loads.

Customer support

When choosing a TMS, it's crucial to consider the level of customer support offered by both the software provider and the product. A reliable support team can help troubleshoot issues, provide training, and ensure that your software runs smoothly.

For example, a provider with excellent customer support will offer multiple channels of communication, such as phone, email, or live chat, and respond promptly to your inquiries. Be sure that the product, too, serves your needs so you, in turn, can offer support and transparency to your customers with options like automated reports, tailored to their exact and specific demands.

Transitional training and onboarding

Implementing a new TMS can be challenging, and adequate training and onboarding support are essential to ensure a smooth transition from one TMS to another. Solid support is especially necessary for companies moving to TMS from non-software management tools, like spreadsheets.

A good software provider will offer comprehensive training and resources, such as a knowledge center, to help your team get up to speed quickly, which will help reduce downtime and maximize the benefits of the new system. For instance, the provider might offer webinars, video tutorials, and in-person training sessions. TMS providers should have robust onboarding and training teams to accommodate the multi-faceted needs of drayage trucking companies. TMS providers who have made investments in customer-facing teams illustrate an understanding of their customers and of the broader market overall.

Tips for evaluating drayage software

The ideal software solution and provider will depend on factors unique to your business. In this section, we'll provide some short, simple, and practical advice for selecting the best TMS for your business.

Assess your current and future needs: Before selecting a TMS, evaluate your current processes around things like dispatching, driver management, and informing customers of freight status, and identify areas for improvement. Software can dramatically improve the workflow for these processes and bring efficiency benefits you’re likely not getting currently. Consider the future growth of your business and ensure that the software can scale with your needs.

Compare features and pricing: Review the features and pricing of various TMS solutions to find the best fit for your budget and operational requirements. Keep in mind that the cheapest option might not always be the best choice in the long run. For instance, TMS offers functionality to help fight against costly per diem charges by ensuring that your containers don’t go past the last free day. This capability helps you save both time and money. Furthermore, with TMS, drayage companies can realize instant cost savings. Your dispatchers can do more with less, resulting in fewer missed deliveries, more on-time appointments, and superior customer service. This is how you can become a carrier of choice for your customers — which increases volume and helps you scale your business.

Request a demo and explore sales engineering: Before committing to a TMS, request a demo from the vendor and spend time with industry experts within your organization to ensure that the software meets your expectations and is user-friendly. This hands-on experience will also help you identify any potential issues or shortcomings in the system.

Carefully considering the features and support that various TMS providers offer can help you make an informed decision and choose the best drayage software for your business. The right software will not only improve efficiency and cost savings but also ensure that your operations are well-positioned to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the shipping industry.

Improving drayage operations with drayOS

PortPro's drayOS is one of the leading TMS solutions for drayage trucking carriers. Our SaaS solution is designed to streamline and optimize the entire drayage process, offering a wide range of features that can significantly improve operations. In this section of the blog post, we'll discuss the key functionality and features drayOS offers and how they support and improve operations.

Centralized platform: drayOS offers a centralized platform that consolidates your drayage operations, making it easier to manage and monitor your entire fleet. This feature allows you to make data-driven decisions, go paperless, reduce the number of administrative tasks (such as manual data entry), and ultimately improve overall efficiency.

Efficient dispatching: drayOS streamlines the dispatching process by providing real-time information on container availability, driver location, and load status. Dispatchers can easily assign loads to drivers based on their proximity to a pickup location, ensuring quick and efficient loads. The platform also allows for easy communication between dispatchers and drivers, via our mobile app, which helps to minimize delays and miscommunication.

Seamless integration: drayOS can easily integrate with your existing systems, such as ERP, WMS, or other TMS solutions. These seamless integrations via API ensure smooth data flow between systems, reducing the risk of errors and saving time spent on manual data entry.

Advanced analytics and reporting: With drayOS, you can access in-depth analytics and generate customized reports that provide valuable insights into your operations — and for your customers. These insights can help you identify areas for improvement, track key performance indicators (KPIs), and make informed decisions to enhance business performance.

Scalability and flexibility: drayOS is designed to grow with your business, offering a scalable and flexible solution that can adapt to your changing needs. This adaptability ensures that your TMS will continue to support your operations as your business expands or evolves.

By implementing drayOS, you can leverage the power of cutting-edge technology to improve drayage operations, reduce costs, and become the carrier of choice for your customers.

Transportation management systems are bringing technological innovation to drayage firms, helping them transform their businesses and make the switch from outdated, manual processes into the modern era of automation. Digitizing operations is an important step, so it’s important to fully research the options and understand the market.