Organizations that deal with logistics know that shipping a package isn’t as simple as placing a box on a truck and sending it off to a destination. Across the supply chain, moving goods throughout the globe is a serious business that requires detailed monitoring, reporting, and insights throughout the entire process. For organizations that engage in enterprise resource planning, having the right software to help manage shipping and transportation is crucial to making sure items get where they need to go as efficiently as possible. Transportation management software makes this possible.
Covered in this guide will be the basics of transportation management software, including common functionalities, pain points, and best-in-class examples of solutions currently available on the market. Because every organization’s software needs are different, you should use this as a general guideline to help inform your software decision as well as consult a trusted software expert to help determine which solution is best for you.
This guide will offer information on the following topics:
Transportation management software (TMS) plans, executes, and optimizes the physical movement of goods. Casually referred to as “trucking software,” TMS is a subset of supply chain management and is either used as its own system or as a subset of ERP software. TMS is used by logistics companies and shippers to improve efficiency, provide greater real-time supply chain visibility, and offer better customer service. Through TMS, organizations can better move and track inbound and outbound freight, plan and optimize routes, execute load building operations, audit and pay for freight, and manage carriers. Organizations that take full advantage of TMS can maximize the performance of their fleet while reducing costs across the entire supply chain.
Broadly speaking, TMS offers several functions to help transportation companies coordinate, calculate, and maintain shipments, shippers, and vehicles. Some of the most common TMS functionalities include the following:
|Transportation accounting||TMS helps transportation companies take care of all their accounting needs, including invoice reconciliation and matching, freight billing and auditing, and other general accounting tasks to establish and ensure proper and correct payments. Unlike standard or off-the-shelf software packages, TMS addresses the specific accounting needs of the transportation industry with customized functionality to helps companies operating across the land, sea, and sky.|
|Invoicing and pricing for transportation services||Shippers can fully calculate the costs of delivery through TMS based on many different factors, including the distance, cargo’s weight, and mode of shipment. TMS offers in-depth reporting and analysis to help shippers determine the best and most cost-effective methods of shipment.|
|Routing, dispatching, and planning||Also known as transportation execution, TMS can find shippers fuel and time-efficient routes by analyzing maps, traffic information, speed limits, modal limits, and the cost of fuel. With this data, shippers can determine the best carrier for each delivery and help consolidate shipments into the most efficient loads possible.|
|Fleet Management Software||Offering similar functionality, TMS can assist in maintaining a complete fleet of vehicles, including procurement, payment, disposal, costing, and valuation, along with advanced functionality like driver and service record management, mapping and route optimization, and location history.|
|Maintenance management||TMS helps organizations oversee their fleet’s maintenance schedule, accounting for preventative maintenance, tire conditions, parts and repairs, and recording and reporting to help stay compliant with DOT regulations.|
Because every logistics or shipping company has vastly different needs, there isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all TMS solution that works for everyone. Here are two popular TMS examples that contain core functionality that shippers require:
Selective Software’s Trucking Integration is a comprehensive solution to help automate trucker-brokers or private-fleet carriers that own their own trucks. Built to scale, Trucker Integration enables trucker-brokers and carriers to carry out freight billing, in-house and carrier manifests, management reporting, vehicle fleet maintenance, driver tracking, container and chassis tracking, and load processing. Trucking Integration is also easily integrated into Great Plains.
TMWSuite is a full suite of TMS solutions built specifically for transportation companies. Offering complete accounting, dispatch, invoicing, order entry, rating, and real-time management reporting, TMWSuite has helped thousands of customers worldwide improve their billing ratios, increase revenue per mile, and reduce empty miles and driver turnover.
Adopting a modern TMS can help logistics companies solve common pain points and bottlenecks, including:
As one of the leading accounting software solutions, Quickbooks is the choice for many different industries, including transportation. Most trucking or TMS systems offer full Quickbooks integration, with Quickbooks acting as the core accounting program and TMS features handled through add-ons or integrations. A Quickbooks TMS integration is a great option for organizations seeking to stick with Quickbooks while enhancing their TMS capabilities.