What is transportation management software?
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.
What are the most common functionalities of transportation management software?
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.
- Transportation execution, including routing, dispatching, and planning: 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: Offering similar functionality to fleet management software, 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.
What are some of the best transportation management software products available?
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.
- TMW Systems’s 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.
What are some current buying trends in transportation management software?
1. Standalone TMS vs. TMS functionality included in ERP software: Your organization may be looking at a standalone TMS, but a number of ERP software packages also include similar functionality. Choosing the solution that’s right for your organization all depends on its specific needs. A standalone TMS that offers integration with your ERP may be the best choice when seeking to simply add on TMS functionality or improve upon existing functionality. Likewise, TRP functionality in ERP software may be the best choice when upgrading your entire organization’s resource management. A software partner like Software Connect can help recommend the best solution to fit your needs. 2. Cloud vs. on-premise: Cloud technology enables logistics companies to access their data anywhere. For an industry that’s built around transportation, this transforms visibility throughout the entire logistics process — and with IoT sensors and wireless capabilities, cloud software can seamlessly keep track of your inventory, fleet, and information. The modern TMS is cloud-ready, making your trucking software more capable and smarter than ever before. 3. The emergence of driverless technology: Self-driving trucks are already on the horizon. These will require new and complex software solutions to oversee a fleet of virtual drivers. Switching to a modern TMS can future-proof your TMS and ERP by keeping your system in place for the next technological disruption.
What are some common pain points that transportation management software solves?
Adopting a modern TMS can help logistics companies solve common pain points and bottlenecks, including:
- Recording accurate fuel costs: The freight audit and payment component of the TMS can keep track of fuel prices between your contracted agreement and current fuel indices, ensuring you don’t overpay for such a volatile resource.
- Regulations, including government regulations or emissions regulations: Transportation is one of the world’s most heavily regulated industries. TMS can ensure your organization is compliant with government regulations by accurately recording regulated tasks like driver hours worked, fuel tax payments and surcharges, vehicle maintenance schedules, and other common restrictions.
- Cutting costs: It may seem counterintuitive, but investing in better TMS can help logistics companies save money in the long run through better resource management.
- Manual entry: Rather than relying on users’ recording information by hand, TMS can enable automatic logging and tracking to reduce the potential for user error.
- Integration issues between standalone TMS and other software: A modern TMS offers better software integrations that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, offering greater flexibility and performance than ever before.
What are the Quickbooks upgrade options for transportation management software?
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.