Transportation Management System (TMS) software is arguably the most important asset of a third-party logistics provider (3PL). An inclusive TMS will provide the tools, resources, and technologies necessary for supply chain management, all within an integrated system that serves as a system of record.
Unfortunately, modern supply chain demands have altered the definition of what a TMS needs to be capable of. As a result, many 3PLs are working with a solution that’s “good enough” instead of a TMS that enables them to best serve their customers.
Supply chains are changing
The modern supply chain is robust, far outstripping even the most complex supply chains of the early 2000s, when modern TMS solutions hit the market. These legacy options worked great for a time, even updating with the growth of global commerce. Where they’ve stopped being effective is with the rise of 4G telecom and the introduction of networked devices. As we move into 5G and the internet of things (IoT), legacy TMS software is quickly falling out of favor.
Part of the struggle is in defining the role of a TMS. Should it strictly route freight? Should it be an automated system, translating predictive analytics into decisions? Should it manage information such as carrier selection, account, cargo, and more? Some argue it should include all of this, but few TMS solutions encapsulate even a fraction of these capabilities. And with supply chains growing more complex by the day, there’s a widening gap between what a TMS should be and what freight managers can expect theirs to do.
Is your TMS up to the task?
Putting aside the argument of what a TMS should be, freight managers need to ask if their current software solution is effective. More importantly, is it equipped for the next generation of smart supply chains?
Vetting your TMS means taking stock of its features and capabilities. Take a close look at the problems facing modern 3PLs and pair these challenges with opportunities offered (or not offered) by your TMS:
- Risk management and cybersecurity features
- Supply chain visibility at every transactional phase
- Application programming interface (API) capabilities for IoT integration and data aggregation
- Business intelligence and predictive analytics
- Data collection and reporting capabilities
Consider cybersecurity, for example. Does your TMS system offer a cloud platform that’s protected by two-factor authentication, robust data encryption, and decentralized data distribution? Or, facing a customer question about a particular freight shipment, do you have records of every transaction within the supply chain?
The days of routing a shipment and validating carrier details have long passed. Your TMS needs to afford you the ability to think on your feet, adapt, and make informed decisions — all in real time.
Make an impact with a better TMS
A modern TMS is more than one that’s evolved — it’s one designed for the next generation of supply chains. Impact TMS, from nVision Global, is a prime example.
Our TMS is a full-package solution. We’ve identified the demands of the modern supply chain and built out a comprehensive TMS solution that meets these needs. Because everything is contained within a single ecosystem, it’s easy to go from a top-down supply chain view, to granular inspection, to affiliated information. It’s built for mobile, designed for scalability, and open for integration.
Ask yourself if your TMS is helping or hindering when it comes to supply chain management. If you constantly have to find workarounds or are at a loss for proper decision-making, it’s a sign to leave behind the legacy software in favor of a TMS rooted in the future.