How Technology Drives Transportation Management Efficiency for SMBs

By AmstanOH on 18 August 20 Blog

According to recent studies, shipping and transportation management is the third-most-expensive item in a company’s budget following people and materials. Often, small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) simply don’t have the right amount of resources to invest in an integrated transportation management software (TMS) package. Including the initial expense that comes with TMS solutions, it’s often necessary to invest in staff training and management as well.

Fortunately, there is a solution for SMBs that can help provide efficient and affordable transportation management solutions. Working with a third-party logistics transportation management company, like Amstan Logistics, that utilizes cutting-edge TMS software to provide reduced costs and improved efficiency, as well as an added peace of mind.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at how hiring an outside firm to handle the implementation and execution of your TMS software can increase efficiency and productivity, as well as cut costs.

Increase Transportation Productivity with TMS Software

A recent survey showed that for many businesses, transportation can consume up to 12% of the average company’s annual revenue. This is because many firms, big and small, still manage their transport services the old-fashioned way, keeping details on spreadsheets, calling to check up on orders and deliveries, etc.

There’s often a common misconception that TMS software is only for large businesses that can afford to implement such systems in-house. However, with all of today’s technological advances, such as cloud-based data storage and improved tracking software, this is no longer the case. That’s why many companies have chosen to outsource and work with 3PL transportation management companies. This enables businesses to focus their resources on communicating with customers and creating the best possible product without wasting time worrying about logistics.

How TMS Software Puts the Power Back into the Hands of SMBs

One of the primary advantages of working with a 3PL provider that utilizes TMS software is that it provides comprehensive oversight to SMBs that many wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. Whether they choose to let their 3PL providers handle such services or take the reins themselves is up to them. However, with the right TMS package, businesses can do a host of things, such as monitor route management and optimization, perform planning duties, freight audit and payment services, and more.

Some of the most common benefits SMBs will gain when implementing TMS software include:

Optimized Routing for Inbound/Outbound Freight:

You can route inbound/outbound shipments in the most efficient manner, reducing travel time and mileage or legs for trips with multiple stops. You’ll also improve processes by being able to issue freight logins for vendors/customers for easy ordering and booking. Users can also communicate with vendors in real-time to ensure every aspect of the shipment process is successful.

Improving & Maintaining High Service Levels:

TMS provides end-to-end visibility to track all shipments, as well as transparency in record-level support assignments with centralized user management. Users will also be able to reduce carrier charges and manage their freight bill settlement processes. You can also optimize your carrier network by picking the best service type and provider.

Increased Operational Efficiency & Productivity:

In-app training platforms for TMS software make for quicker onboarding and easier training. Additionally, analytics enables companies to assess existing processes and optimize them. The apps for TMS software also provide opportunities for in-app business processes management and record-level support assignments to drive automated and manual workload distribution.

Managing Modes of Service from Single Device/Platform:

Modes of service that can be easily managed with TMS software include less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, truckload, expedited shipping, air, rail, ocean, and parcel solutions. It also provides solutions for spot/transactional orders and contract/project management.  Importantly, it maintains key data about drayage, volume, final mile, and inventory.

Measuring the Benefits of TMSs for SMBs

Now you’ve learned a bit about what TMS software can do, let’s take an in-depth look at how it will help the different components of your organization. With all the solutions TMS can provide, it will often help nearly every aspect of your company’s organizational structure, from the staff in the warehouse to your CEO.

Some of the leading benefits include:

  • The Logistics or Transportation Manager: Logistics and transportation managers see the biggest benefits of TMS software because it’s aimed at simplifying processes and reducing costs that they are directly responsible for their company. This is especially true for those whose warehouse was previously run on manual systems. TMS automates and makes their role more robust.
  • The Senior VP of Supply Chain: Senior VPs have a lot to manage when it comes to B2B logistics services. However, a TMS package can provide the ideal solution, enabling them to take over the supply chain from end-to-end. It will also provide detailed analytics data integral to the VP’s decision-making process. VPs will find that a TMS streamlines their responsibilities enabling them to provide the greatest value to their firm.
  • For the CEO, CFO or COO: For the entire C-suite in your organization, it’s essential they have the right tools to make financially-sound decisions. This is why so many companies are becoming increasingly reliant on data-driven technologies like TMS software. It can ensure that every dollar spent is going where it needs to, and time and money isn’t being wasted during any step of the process. The TMS allows for easy control of a complicated process that saves them on transportation costs.

How to Determine if You Need a Transport Management System

If you’re not entirely sure whether your SMB would benefit from implementing TMS software, these key questions should help you decide that it’s right for your firm:

Are We Allocating Too Much Manpower to Transportation? With today’s rising costs, it’s important that no SMB is over expend staff resources for transportation management. If you have teams managing spreadsheets and making phone calls, implementing a TMS package will enable fewer staff and streamline efficiency without reducing customer service.

Are We Doing Too Many Things Manually in Our Logistic Supply Chain Operations? If you’re still manually inputting data and tracking down shipments via email or phone, then that’s a big “Yes.” Implementing a reliable TMS package helps avoid such unnecessary and outdated processes by automating them.  Again, you get updated management, greater efficiency that’s almost simple.

Are Our Transportation Costs Rising? Your shipping and logistics costs shouldn’t be drastically going up year after year; if so, it likely means your processes aren’t optimized. If you’re missing appointments or spending your budget way too quickly, you will likely benefit greatly from TMS software.  The TMS software is expensive, but, allowing a 3PL to manage your transportation needs will save your total delivered cost.

Do We Have Good Visibility Over Shipments? Can you track your shipments once they leave your warehouse every step of the way? If not, some customers may go elsewhere, choosing a competitor that offers real-time tracking of freight shipments and deliveries. TMS packages provide online dashboards and support for clients to receive updates at key touchpoints.

How Accessible is Our Data? Is it easy for you to find the data your client or staff member is looking for or do you have to lug out a stack of folders from the old filing cabinet? If it’s the latter, then it’s time to invest in a TMS package that provides easily accessible, up-to-date data and operational and strategic tracking solutions.

Can Our Transportation Network Scale Up or Down as Needed? Do you plan on growing your business? Perhaps you experience production lulls throughout the year that cause the need to scale down services. This means you need a transportation network that can easily adapt to such changes. Without a highly scalable technology platform, this can often be incredibly complicated. The TMS allows you to keep pace with your business and help you to grow.

How Quickly will Our New TMS Pay Off?

Are you wondering when you’ll start reaping the returns of new TMS software? In most cases, those who switch to TMS software from a manual transportation shipping system will begin seeing a return on their investment in several months. However, this includes only direct-cost categories, not implementation and redeployment of resources.  With experienced hands the TMS begins payoff quickly.  Each shipment becomes a source of cost savings.

Let Amstan Logistics improve your daily transportation processes!

Have you decided it’s time to reduce transportation costs and streamline your freight management processes? If so, our team can help you garner substantial savings. In some cases, we’ve managed to save our clients up to 15% on overall transportation costs. Depending on your SMB you could even save up to 25% on transportation management expenditures.

To learn more about implementing one of our customized TMS packages, contact Amstan Logistics online today or call 1 (800) 322-5546.

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