Summing Up “Rock Your Supply Chain: The Evolution of TMS”
On August 25th, Innovecs hosted “Rock your Supply Chain,” featuring Michele Pelino, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research; Ron Richardson, Chief Revenue Officer at Turvo; Ryan Schreiber, Vice President, Industry & Growth at Metafora; and moderator Michael Beelar, VP of Supply Chain & Logistics at Innovecs.
We had a fascinating talk with leading supply chain experts who shared their perspectives on the following:
- The future of FreightTech
- TMS evolutions tips
- Data analytics (both prescriptive and predictive)
- Supply chain visibility is the critical success factor in logistics
- Digital twins and other tech trends
We reviewed some of the key points that were discussed. Let’s go!
Changes That Have Taken Place in the Transportation Industry Over the Years
As little as 10 years ago, most brokers, carriers, and shippers used transportation management systems (TMS) for simple tasks such as load management, tracking orders, and executing transactions.
In the webcast, experts explored some of the latest global trends and products available to enhance your transportation management systems (TMS). Options like load and route optimization, supply chain visibility, data analytics, and digital supply chain twins have created an enthusiastic demand for the latest digital platforms.
The results are in and the return on investment is undeniable. However, the evolution of new shipping technology is still at the starting line, like a Tesla about to go from 0 to 60 MPH in 2.3 seconds.
The dynamics of the industry push carriers and shippers to automate processes and make transportation fast, smooth, and more visible. The integration of a TMS helps achieve this—whether it’s your internal solution or you are using 3PL providers.
The transportation management system is a part of your supply chain in the context of transportation operations. TMS software arranges, executes, and tracks shipments, performing several functions:
- Moving freight by all modes (by ocean vessel, train, truck, or plane—in bulk, palletized, or parcels)
- Searching for both internal shipping assets and external service providers to deliver goods
- Arranging inbound and outbound shipments both domestically and internationally
Organizations use TMS software to arrange freight movements quickly and efficiently. These logistics solutions manage commodity sourcing, transport planning, and transaction settlements.
Using these types of specialized software contributes to a company’s visibility across all transport modes. The TMS of the “now and future” is considerably different from the old legacy systems. A new generation of systems provides the following:
- Services are provided through the cloud and subscription-based providers (SaaS). Cloud and SaaS solutions make transportation management systems more user-friendly, cost-effective, and affordable for small and medium companies.
- Freight is visible wherever it is on the land, ocean, or in the air. Most B2B applications have a tracking feature.
- Uber-like options allow shippers, drivers, and carriers to provide deliveries with the best rates on the market. This new open market helps drivers and carriers handle freight easily (spot-market purchases, immediate delivery of goods, last-mile shipments, and moving commodities from transportation hubs to end-user delivery).
- Immediate ROI starts from the first day of TMS installation. Thanks to the expanded integration capabilities of modern applications, the software is more flexible and adaptive to business workflows (containing manual data, web services, ERP, and APIs). So, companies invest in the software platform, can implement it quickly (a.k.a. “Nail it & Scale it”), and has vast possibilities to tune it to their business needs.
The Importance of Having TMS: The Basic Objectives of the Platform
It seems common knowledge that having a TMS platform is a “must” for the modern competitive supply chain. But today’s TMS should be not just a basic transactional platform.
When it comes to planning execution and schedule, we can see how much effort, and how many clicks are needed to cover the basics of operational life in the supply chain.
The obvious benefits of the TMS system include:
- reduced freight expenses;
- track deliveries in real-time;
- increased quality of the customer service;
- improved warehouse efficiency and productivity; and
- reached overall impact on the supply chain efficiency.
What “the fewest clicks” benchmark means is that using a really nice TMS, we can cover the load as seamlessly as possible.
So, the implementation of a TMS prevents companies from wasting a lot of time by relieving the burden of repetitive routine paperwork. Technology speeds up the performance of necessary tasks and allows companies to delegate time to other aspects of the business, allowing them to do more without driving up costs.
Moreover, many collaborations with external people under-cover the load, and the great thing a TMS can do is to allow this collaboration to be smooth and efficient.
Being Proactive Makes You Competitive in the Market and Grants an Added Value to Your Customers
The speakers talked a lot during the webcast that predictive and prescriptive analytics are behind the scene of a really effective TMS. But they’ve got the common opinion that for the customers, this looks like a reinforced positive experience of knowing everything beforehand, proactive contact to let them know about what’s going to happen further.
Customers do not need to hear information like “the drivers are late because of the crash some hours ago.” TMS should share only critical information to create really positive experience of collaboration.
Traditional functional logistics deal with the placement of production, warehouses, and customers, modeling supply chains with the aim of optimizing costs and order time. In modern conditions, it implies refocusing on adaptive-digital methods.
A new approach is required, one based on the system mechanism of integrated management, not only in supply chains but also that of processes in an enterprise based on the interaction of intelligent and Internet technologies (the Internet-of-things type).
An adjustable TMS contributes greatly to company sustainability, collaboration with third parties, and proactive customer treatment. Michele Pelino, Forrester Principal Analyst, determines that while building a TMS, we should arrange it considering not today’s needs, but tomorrow’s ones. All our experts agreed on this.
Integrating the TMS, we need to look around what’s happening in the environment, where we’re heading to be much more dynamic in the company supply chain. Experts recommend assuring the inside TMS information is valuable for all the stakeholders.
We need to be sure the information our TMS provides “plays across the company,” contributes to sustainability, and could be applied more than just in one certain case. The data captured for one reason should be valuable for some other ones to perform sustainable TMS functioning.
Ron Richardson stressed that considering any TMS solution one should think about whether it brings enough speed, agility, and “elegance in work” rather than how many tech trends are incorporated in the product.
Summing up an emotional talk about TMS efficiency features, the experts concluded that everybody was glad to work with “an elegant innovative high-tech solution,” but only because it performs considerably and sustainably.