How to choose transportation management software

What TMS is, its perks, various use cases including PortPro's application in drayage, essential features of TMS, and tips for choosing a TMS.

How to choose transportation management software

As the dynamics of transportation and logistics become increasingly complex, the search for solutions that simplify and streamline operations intensifies.

This is where transportation management software (TMS) comes into play. In this article, we delve into what TMS is, its perks, various use cases including PortPro's application in drayage, essential features of TMS, tips for choosing a TMS, and how PortPro is pioneering in the industry.

Transportation Management Software (TMS) is a category of software that aids businesses in planning, executing, and optimizing the physical movement of goods, both imports and exports, providing visibility and control over the entire supply chain.

To illustrate, imagine a company that ships goods worldwide. They need to coordinate numerous shipments across various carriers while ensuring cost-effectiveness and on-time delivery. TMS can manage these factors with seamless efficiency.

The perks of modern transportation management software

At its core, TMS aims to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction. Modern TMS offers major benefits for internal operations and business outcomes such as:

  • Streamlined operations: TMS automates administrative tasks, reduces paperwork, and minimizes human error. It also provides its users - like drayage trucking companies with the ability to grow and scale their operations. Everything from dispatching to equipment management becomes scalable with TMS.
  • Improved customer service: Real-time tracking and advanced analytics help meet customer expectations and improve overall service. With automation built in TMS, your customers can see where their goods are in real time and without cumbersome and endless phone calls and emails.
  • Cost savings: TMS optimizes routes and carrier or driver selection, leading to significant cost reductions and the more expeditious delivery of freight.
  • Better decision making: With data-driven insights, businesses can make strategic decisions that improve their bottom line. Reallocating resources that have freed themselves up from tedious back office tasks allows for a more strategic outlook on improving business operations.

Use cases for transportation management software

Transportation Management Software (TMS) plays an instrumental role in various facets of supply chain operations, offering a platform to manage, optimize, and track different processes:

Freight Management

TMS provides a centralized platform for all freight operations, making managing freight shipments more organized and efficient. For example, it can simplify dispatching and tracking containers, auditing costs and rates, and creating accurate documentation.

Route Planning

Efficient route planning is essential in logistics, affecting both delivery times and customer expectations. TMS uses a combination of tangible tools and advanced algorithms to optimize routes, taking into account factors like traffic conditions, distance, and delivery windows. This results in reduced fuel costs, quicker delivery times, and improved customer satisfaction.

Carrier & Driver Management

Choosing the right carrier or driver based on cost, service, and capacity can be a complex task. TMS simplifies this process by consolidating all carrier and driver information, including rates, transit times, and service types. You can easily compare options, ensuring you choose the best carrier for each shipment.

Drayage Management

Drayage, or the transport of goods over short distances, often involves complicated logistics and strict timeframes. PortPro, with its specialized drayage management capabilities native in drayOS, streamlines the process of container pickups and deliveries at ports. It provides real-time visibility into container status and location, helping avoid demurrage charges and improve overall operational efficiency.

Dispatch Management

A TMS also plays a critical role in dispatch management, coordinating shipments to ensure they are picked up and delivered on time. It enables dispatchers to manage multiple drivers and loads efficiently, using real-time data to adjust plans and respond quickly to unexpected events.

Asset Management

Asset management is another area where a TMS shines. It tracks and manages all transportation assets, including trucks, trailers, and containers. This gives businesses a clear view of asset usage and availability, aids in preventive maintenance, and reduces downtime.

Driver Communication

In the logistics industry, clear and timely communication with drivers is crucial. TMS facilitates this through features such as in-app messaging, route updates, and delivery notifications. This ensures drivers are always updated, reducing misunderstandings and delays.

Customer Service

TMS plays a significant role in customer service as well. It provides real-time updates on shipment status and estimated delivery times, keeping customers informed. Furthermore, it automates the process of handling customer queries and complaints, ensuring prompt and effective resolution.

These are just a few examples of how transportation management software like PortPro can revolutionize logistics and supply chain operations. By understanding these use cases, businesses can make more informed decisions when choosing a TMS that fits their unique needs.

Core features of transportation management software

There are several key features inherent to transportation management software that are pivotal for efficient logistics operations. Let's explore them in detail:

Real-Time Tracking

Real-time tracking is a cornerstone feature of TMS. It provides immediate visibility into the location and status of shipments, ensuring timely deliveries and proactive issue resolution. This functionality extends beyond mere vehicles; it also encompasses container tracking. Container tracking allows businesses to monitor the status and location of their containers in real-time, providing essential information for making logistical decisions and ensuring smooth operations.

Customer Management

TMS incorporates robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) capabilities. It enables businesses to manage customer data, track service history, and improve customer relationships. This information can be invaluable in anticipating customer needs, delivering excellent service, and cultivating customer loyalty.

Industry Performance Metrics

TMS provides access to a wealth of industry performance metrics, which can empower businesses to gauge efficiency, monitor trends, and make data-driven decisions. For instance, you can track key metrics like cost per shipment, on-time delivery rates, and carrier or driver performance.

Custom Reporting

Beyond standard industry metrics, modern TMS solutions often include custom reporting features. This functionality allows businesses to tailor reports to their specific needs, ensuring they have the most relevant data at their fingertips. This could include reports on per diem charges, fleet utilization, or driver performance.

Per Diem Tracking Tools

Per diem charges, the fees levied for keeping a container beyond the allotted free time, can add significantly to transportation costs if not carefully managed. TMS often includes per diem tracking tools to help businesses avoid these unnecessary expenses. These tools monitor container usage and send alerts when the free time period is nearing its end, helping businesses prioritize container return and avoid per diem charges.

These features represent the comprehensive capabilities a transportation management software like PortPro offers, providing businesses with the tools they need to streamline their logistics, enhance their service, and improve their bottom line.

Tips for choosing transportation management software

When selecting a TMS, consider the following steps:

Define Your Organizational Needs

Identify your specific needs and challenges that a TMS should address. For instance, you might require better route optimization or a comprehensive freight audit system.

Figure Out Your Budget

Understand what you're willing to invest in a TMS. Keep in mind, a good TMS will bring cost savings in the long run.

Audit The Operational Processes

Evaluate your current processes to understand which areas a TMS could improve. This will guide your selection towards a solution that offers the right functionalities.

Ask Your Peers

Consult with industry peers to gain insight into their experiences with different TMS solutions.

Check Out User Reviews

User reviews offer invaluable perspectives about the ease of use, support, and functionality of different TMS solutions.

PortPro’s approach to transportation management

PortPro takes a unique approach to transportation management with its drayOS software. It offers real-time tracking, customer management, industry performance metrics, and much more to cater to all operational objectives.

For instance, the drayOS feature of real-time tracking offers comprehensive visibility into container status, empowering businesses to efficiently manage their shipments and respond promptly to any issues. With the ability to track containers in real-time, businesses can enhance their logistical planning, improve their turnaround times, and provide better customer service.

PortPro's drayOS also focuses extensively on customer management. It incorporates a sophisticated CRM system that centralizes all customer data, making it easy for businesses to track service history, manage customer interactions, and drive customer satisfaction. This feature streamlines communication and fosters stronger relationships with customers.

The software further enables businesses to monitor and analyze key industry performance metrics. These metrics provide valuable insights into operational efficiency, freight costs, carrier performance, and more. With this data, businesses can identify trends, optimize their operations, and make strategic decisions that bolster their bottom line.

One of the standout features of drayOS is its custom reporting capabilities. These allow businesses to create tailored reports that reflect their specific needs and priorities. Whether it's per diem charges, freight costs, or fleet utilization, drayOS provides the necessary data in a user-friendly format.

Additionally, drayOS includes robust per diem tracking tools - called drayOS Track. These tools provide timely alerts when the free time period for a container is nearing its end. This feature ensures businesses can avoid unnecessary per diem charges, resulting in substantial cost savings. In essence, PortPro's drayOS is a comprehensive TMS solution that takes a holistic approach to transportation management. It provides the tools and insights businesses need to optimize their operations, enhance their customer service, and drive their growth.

If you're interested in leveraging the innovative capabilities of transportation management systems like drayOS, we encourage you to explore further. For a more in-depth understanding of the benefits and functionality of TMS, check out this insightful article on our blog: SaaS Product Tenacity & Revenue Durability. There, you'll gain insights into how a robust TMS can bring resilience and profitability to your transportation and logistics operations.