Implementing Transportation Management Software
The essential functions of TMS, use cases, and tips on the implementation process.
As the logistics & supply chain industry evolves, staying ahead of the curve becomes increasingly important for businesses in the drayage sector. One way to ensure you maintain a competitive edge is by embracing innovative technologies that streamline operations and maximize efficiency. In this blog post, we explore the world of Transportation Management Software (TMS), discussing its essential functions and use cases while offering valuable insights to guide you through the implementation process.
What is Transportation Management Software?
Transportation Management Software (TMS) is a digital solution that optimizes and automates various aspects of transportation and logistics operations. These solutions empower organizations to plan, execute, and monitor the movement of goods, saving time, reducing costs, and enhancing overall efficiency. By automating and streamlining operations, TMS helps businesses improve visibility, productivity, and competitiveness in the rapidly changing logistics landscape.
For example, drayOS is a TMS solution specifically designed for drayage carriers, taking into account the unique needs and challenges faced by businesses in this sector.
TMS address common transportation management problems by offering a range of core functions, such as:
- Traditional dispatching and dispatch optimization: analyze multiple load options and routes and select the most efficient option based on factors like distance, time, and cost.
- Driver selection and management: Choose the most suitable driver based on performance, cost, and service requirements.
- Freight audit and payment: Automate the process of auditing and settling freight invoices, which reduces errors and streamlines payment processes. TMS automatically tracks every load and ensures invoices are sent on time and without manual intervention.
- Visibility and tracking: Real-time tracking capabilities enable organizations to monitor shipments and receive status updates on last free day, holds, and empty return requirements.
A drayage-focused TMS, is designed specifically to address the unique challenges and requirements of the drayage industry. Use cases might include:
1. Optimized Dispatch and Route Planning
A drayage TMS provides advanced algorithms for dispatch and route optimization, considering factors such as traffic, road restrictions, and container pickup/drop-off schedules. This enables organizations to minimize empty miles and reduce overall transit times, ultimately leading to cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.
2. Enhanced Visibility and Real-Time Tracking
Drayage carriers use TMS to gain real-time tracking and visibility of containers and truck movements which allows logistics managers to monitor shipment status and make informed decisions in real time. This enhanced visibility also helps in reducing detention and demurrage fees by ensuring timely container pickups and returns.
3. Streamlined Communication and Collaboration
With a drayage-focused TMS, communication between stakeholders such as drivers, dispatchers, and customers is simplified and centralized. This improved collaboration can help reduce miscommunication and delays, which increases operational efficiency. drayOS offers a next-level mobile application to enhance dispatcher and driver communication.
4. Automated Documentation and Compliance
A drayage TMS automates the documentation process, allowing carriers to pull load documentation, such as bills of lading, proof of delivery, and invoices, from a variety of sources including the driver mobile app or marine terminals. This ensures documents do not get lost and secures all of them in one place, ready to be invoiced. Additionally, when integrated with ELD solutions, a TMS streamlines the process of managing compliance requirements, such as Hours of Service (HOS) for drivers. This ensures that operations adhere to relevant regulations.
A Checklist for Implementing Transportation Management Software
This section of the blog post covers the essential steps necessary to successfully implement a new TMS:
Identify your organization's specific transportation and logistics needs. If you’re migrating to TMS from spreadsheets or a legacy system, be sure to inquire about your soon-to-be providers’ onboarding and training process. Look for a provider that offers robust support.
Evaluate and select the most suitable TMS solution based on your requirements.. When choosing a solution, ensure the user experience is catered to your operations needs today — and tomorrow.
Establish a dedicated implementation team comprising key stakeholders across your operations, accounting, and executive management team(s).
Develop a detailed project plan with your TMS provider. Make sure to include timelines, resources, and deliverables. It’s key to have bilateral buy-in when implementing a solution that will underpin the operations of an entire drayage division.
Conduct regular progress meetings with your provider to ensure the project stays on track. At PortPro, for instance, meeting cadence is catered to user needs based on fleet size, etc.
Address any issues or roadblocks that may arise during the implementation process. These include, but are not limited to peak season, changes in staff, etc.
Configure the TMS to meet your organization's unique requirements. Your TMS provider should be able to consult with you on your individual needs and guide you through how best to realize operational tenacity.
Integrate the TMS with your existing systems, such as ERP or WMS, via API. Not all TMs providers offer API integrations, but those that do realize greater success in the long run without having to handle cumbersome EDI integrations.
Train your staff on how to effectively use the TMS. Your provider should be available to you for additional training sessions and offer a comprehensive knowledge center and webinars that employees can access on an as-needed basis.
Develop a comprehensive user manual and other supporting documentation. Your TMS provider should offer this online, along with webinars, but it is also smart to develop your own internal solutions for onboarding new employees.
Ensure that all relevant compliance and regulatory requirements are met and enact controls around equipment and driver compliance. Your TMS provider should work with you to track things such as driver’s license expiration as well as Hazmat certifications and overweight permits.
Use your TMS provider’s online knowledge base and schedule additional training or onboarding sessions if necessary. It is important that your provider offers next-level support, both in terms of resources and responsiveness. It is also important that they provide self-training material to ensure you are getting the most out of your solution.
Challenges in the TMS Implementation Process
Common obstacles in the TMS implementation process include, but are not limited to:
- Resistance to change: Encourage open communication and provide ample training to help employees adapt. Change management is important, and executive buy-in often precedes successful implementation. Education in industry best practices - and how PortPro helps execute alongside them - is helpful for championing change management.
- Integration challenges: Work closely with your TMS vendor to ensure seamless integration with existing systems. If they offer API documentation, consider using a third-party integration vendor to work with your TMS supplier.
- Data quality issues: Regularly review and maintain data accuracy to enhance system effectiveness. If your TMS provider offers data migration templates, task a stakeholder within your organization to ensure these are completed in a timely and effective way.
PortPro's Approach to Customer Success and Support
PortPro is committed to delivering exceptional value to our clients. Our TMS solution offers robust features, seamless integration, and ongoing support to ensure your organization's success. We provide comprehensive training and are deeply dedicated to customer service.