TMS Software Buyer's Guide
The Best TMS Software Is All About Transportation Organization and Efficiency
By Hunter Lowe, Market Research Associate
When it comes to transportation management, efficiency and accuracy are key. Optimizing the transportation side of the supply chain is a challenge. Between organizing fleets of trucks, optimizing shipping routes and maintaining organized billing practices things can get complex. It’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed. Luckily, a transport management system software can take care of much of the work.
By the time you finish this guide, you should have enough knowledge to begin searching for your transport management software.
- Boost efficiency, organization and gain supply chain visibility with TMS.
- Increase transportation intelligence, reduce errors and enhance customer service functionalities.
- TMS software provides foundational core features as well as advanced functionality for more complex operations.
- Coming up with a list of questions to ask vendors can help narrow down your choices. See some examples below.
What This TMS Software Guide Covers
See how the top 10 TMS Software leaders fare against the most common key requirements
Benefits of Transportation Management Software
As supply chains continue to grow, the usage of TMS software will continue to rise. A recent Gartner report expects the transport management software market to grow by a compound rate of 6.95 percent and that it will reach $1.72 billion by the end of 2019.
At its simplest, TMS software should help optimize your fleets and organize your back of house operations. Every operation requires its own solutions, so take some time to consider what you need to accomplish.
When people search for transportation software solutions they are often looking for logistics support with their supply chain. There are many moving parts to a supply chain, and a common need among TMS users is organization. Whether you need some help with freight consolidation, achieving greater visibility along your supply chain, inventory management or optimizing fleet performance, TMS systems have the answer.
TMS software serves many groups upon implementation. Distributors, third-party logistics providers, manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers are just some of the major users of transportation management software. Not only are transportation management solutions in wide use, but they’re also useful management solutions for enterprises of all sizes.
Larger operations with expansive supply chains can gain useful visibility into freight data to recognize discrepancies and discover their origins. Smaller enterprises may have less freight to worry about, but could benefit from the automation of billing tasks that often plague less extensive supply chains.
Reducing operational costs is a goal every business continually pursues, and transportation logistics software works in your favor here as well. Invoicing errors can cost you money and customers, but with transport management software present, many of these errors can be caught and corrected.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top TMS Software
Before jumping on the bandwagon of a particular transportation management suite, you should identify any essential needs your business has. The success of your transport management system will depend on the needs it fulfills for your supply chain. Let’s check out some of the more common goals that TMS systems should accomplish in order to optimize your transportation processes.
Better Freight Cost Estimation
Start saving money immediately with quick analysis of the many variables involved in the transportation process using TMS software. Cut costs associated with mode of shipping, freight weight and delivery distance. This data allows cost-efficient decision making that can aid in saving both time and money.
Quick Shipment Consolidation
Transportation management systems allow you to rapidly consolidate multiple orders into their most efficient configurations. Free up valuable employee time spent on putting together bundles of freight and cut costs by maximizing freight consolidation.
Automate Billing Support
Reduce errors inherent in the billing process through automated payment transport management system functionality. Settle bills for service, asset usage and cost accruals with low turnaround. Maintain organized records on freight cost audits and fuel spending.
Optimize Shipping Routes
Use traffic, fuel cost, road speed, and modal transport data to generate the most efficient transportation routes via TMS systems. Optimized routes equal more on-time deliveries and less money spent on inefficient routes.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top TMS Software
Basic TMS Features
There is a whole sea of choices out there when it comes to selecting among the best TMS systems, but these are some core features that come with many of the available solutions. If any of these core features solve a major pain point for your business, make sure to research your final choices to identify if the functionality is included. Just because these features are part of most solutions does not mean they are available in them all.
|Automatic Order Processing||
With transport logistics software you can share the details of purchase order information directly with suppliers and file EEI via an automated export system. Streamline the sourcing and procurement tasks by automatically pulling data from past orders.
Easily carry about dispatching responsibilities through the automation of more mundane tasks with this feature. Utilize direct, real-time wireless communication for the dispatch and deployment of truck drivers. Allow dispatchers to quickly create, plan and track shipments through the transportation software.
Cargo tracking allows you to locate products by their SKU identifications en route to and at their pool locations. Maintain customer trust through your ability to give them the exact location of any piece of freight they may have questions about. A proactive and visible view of your shipping processes provides valuable data and the ability to strengthen weaker supply chain segments.
Track vital performance metrics like transit, loading and unloading times with this TMS functionality. Plan deadlines for shipments and collect data across your entire flow of goods. Improve overall efficiency by defining weak performing metrics and addressing them.
Automate the pick-up process with this TMS software inclusion. Automatically schedule pick-ups for a time of day that won’t interrupt your normal flow of business. Get a head start on your deliveries with quick freight transfer scheduling.
|Automatic Carrier Selection||
Transport management software can automatically generate the most efficient carrier options for a new delivery. Always choose the right carrier for your transportation needs and save money that would otherwise be spent on less efficient options.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top TMS Software
Advanced TMS Features
After spending some time with the core features of TMS software, you will want to keep some of the more complex features in the back of your mind. These advanced functionalities can help boost efficiency in other portions of your supply chain that you may not have considered yet. Much like the core features, be sure to ask vendors about the availability of these functions in their software suites.
Analytics tools help you to gain data from integral aspects of the transportation process such as transaction data, user interaction, profitability, and carrier and profit margins. Tracking KPIs gives you a nice overhead view of what has been working and what hasn’t. Data about these key points allows for informed, forrward-thinking business decisions.
Access all the functionality of your TMS software from hand-held devices with this feature. Use your transportation management software, make informed business decisions, view trucking schedules and locations and driver performance from anywhere at any time.
Be in the know about any claims or damages at a moments notice with dispute management capability. Solve issues before they spiral into disasters and keep customers happy by quickly resolving any disputes. See how a shipment goes from on-time to late and tackle the problem areas before any more issues occur.
Plan, optimize and execute multi-leg multi-model shipments with transportation management software. Use straightforward functionality to solve complex rate structures for shipments involving more than one mode of transportation with multiple stops along the way.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top TMS Software
Compare TMS Software
It is clear to see that there are a number of capabilities that top TMS software can bring to the table when optimizing your supply chain. Hopefully, you are creating a list of the must-have functionalities your solution needs to support.
Taking a look at our in-depth comparison matrix can help you begin to choose transportation and logistics software providers that meet your needs. Our helpful guide can lead you to the top performing software vendors and simplify your choices.
Questions for Yourself
While there are some similarities among the core features within different transport management systems, no one solution fits all businesses. Hasty decisions can lead to costly mistakes that can set you back in both time and money. No one wants to implement a whole transportation management software package only to throw it out and search for a brand new one. Before making any moves, consider some of these questions to get yourself on the right path to a perfect solution.
What is wrong with your current solution?
If you already have a TMS software solution in place, what does the new solution need to bring to your business? Spend some time collecting data from users of your current software package and find out what is and isn’t working for them.
Does this solution work with your budget?
While expensive solutions often come with extra functionalities, they may not always be the best option for your business. Your transportation management system software should meet your needs while also allowing scalability. Just because a certain product costs extra does not mean it is the perfect option. Smaller businesses may be fine using a cheaper software package without the unnecessary complexity of a more expensive suite.
What are your biggest pain points?
At the end of the day, what is causing your business the most trouble? Is the efficiency of your trucking fleet down? Are you suffering from multiple freight discrepancies? Whatever your biggest problems are, they should be at the forefront of your search for top transportation management systems.
Does the software solution work long-term?
Finding transportation management software that solves immediate needs is great, but not the final goal. Your business is growing, and your transportation software needs to grow with you. Look down the line and factor in future growth to your decisions. You won’t be moving the same quantities or kinds of freight forever, and your choice of a solution should be able to adapt.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top TMS Software
Questions for TMS Vendors
It is equally valuable to prepare some questions for the various software vendors you will be interacting with. After all, who better to ask about your future solution than the people selling it to you? Not only can you discuss the features you need, but you can also cover deployment and infrastructure requirements.
How does the software integrate with your supply chain?
When implementing a new TMS software package, there are many things to keep in mind. One of them is how this new solution will impact the rest of your supply chain. Talk to vendors to find out if the solution you are seeking integrates with other software packages you have in place. Unless you are starting from scratch, you’ll want a software suite that fits into your established line-up.
Does the solution mesh with the size of your business?
If you are managing a massive trucking fleet or a complex warehousing operation that spans the globe, then your needs are probably different than those of a small business. Complex enterprises require sophisticated solutions, whereas a smaller business may only need a low-end implementation that tackles one or two problems.
Is there a support system in place?
It is common knowledge that integrating new software can come with a few headaches. Before setting off on that dubious journey, ask your short-list of vendors about their support systems. Talk to them about how they will help guide you through issues and if they have staff ready to field any questions you may have. Do they have any tools to help users self-learn about the software solution?
Does this solution link to a carrier network?
If you are on the hunt for TMS software, moving freight is undoubtedly on your list of important functionalities. Some vendors have connections with various carriers that can help move freight faster and get your products out the door quicker. Acquiring helpful transportation management systems software as well as breaking into a new network of carriers is a win for any supply chain.
MercuryGate is a global system that can handle all modes of delivery. This software package comes with architecture that makes it easy to integrate with other systems, including warehouse management systems and enterprise resource planning systems. Plan, optimize and execute stock movements through this single-platform solution. This platform provides high-level visibility into all transportation management tasks and helps quickly locate suitable carriers to transport stock. As your operation grows in response to the global transportation market, this application contains functionality to scale up to fit more complex requirements.
Oracle Transportation Management suite focuses on continuously optimizing transport networks while providing real-time data visibility into the transit of shipments. Oracle TMS strives to keep up with the rapidly growing world of global trade and shipping.Oracle Transportation Management is a scalable, secure and performance-based software package that is able to handle complex transportation networks. Included functionalities aid in optimizing a number of transportation management processes from fleet management to smarter planning of shipping and trucking routes.
JDA TMS is a planning and cost-cutting focused platform that is available with on-premise or cloud-based deployment strategies. This application gives users a control tower approach to managing the daily processes associated with shipping and distribution. By leveraging the features of this system, users can optimize transportation plans and streamline supplier and carrier collaboration.Businesses of all sizes can benefit from improved visibility and the system’s real-time analytics tools that increase organization and aid in planning for the future.
This SAP transportation management platform features both on-premise and cloud-based deployment styles. This solution features a number of tools focused on increasing end-to-end efficiency and increased visibility. Operations can leverage forecasting tools in order to effectively plan ahead for a range of transport processes while gaining valuable insight into project-wide data.This application provides collaboration features to enhance communication with partners and clients. Automation tools optimize processes that normally require a large investment of manual resources.
BluJay TMS provides a cloud-based platform for businesses of all sizes that takes care of supply chain planning, execution and transportation settlement. It can scale to fit into numerous industries, including pharmaceuticals, automotive, building materials and more. Users can access a vast network of transportation partners through the included Global Trade Network. This network allows shipping partners to collaborate to better optimize shipments while enabling carriers to manage their mileage. It provides useful intelligence that users can leverage to boost the productivity of valuable links in their supply chains.
Transplace configures our proprietary TMS to fit your unique business. The system streamlines your supply chain through actionable data and automated decision-making, order management, shipment optimization and tracking. By increasing efficiency, the TMS improves performance while reducing costs.
Manhattan TMS is a robust, connectable and scalable solution that provides rapid implementation with multiple utilities. It offers planning, a focus on optimization and improved transport technology execution. It lets logistics and transportation managers leverage the multi-modal outbound and inbound capabilities necessary for creating utility within a transportation network or a supply chain.It enables clients to meet customer expectations with greater convenience, reliability, visibility and fast deliveries. Its modules include software modeling, procurement, planning and execution, fleet management, audit, payment and claims and carrier management.
Kuebix is a cloud-based product focused on optimizing supply chain and distribution efficiency by increasing visibility and employing analytics. Its modular platform can meet the requirements of simple or complex supply chains and scales with a business as it grows. Its multi-modal carrier network gives users numerous options to get their shipments to their destinations with trusted carriers.Users can cut costs and boost savings with easily requestable spot quotes and rate comparisons. It allows users to compare shipping options in one easy place without searching website by website. It also saves time on manual processes via automated audits and carrier matches.
The inet transportation management system is the answer to the question of how companies can best resolve the local and global challenges, the many differing participants and the growing transport volumes, and achieve optimum added value throughout the entire supply chain. It offers cost optimization, a high level of reliability as well as safety and transparency. This enables you to deliver your goods to their destination in the most efficient and low cost way.
The challenges and opportunities for transportation service providers and fleet owners are changing quickly. Making the most of those changes and opportunities often depends on the technology platform that supports daily business operations. Transportation management software from TMW Systems supports thousands of agile, thriving companies—large, small and mid-sized— that keep their costs and services competitive while delivering significant value every day.
Based in the cloud, Aljex’s freight brokering software is mobile and accessible from anywhere at any time. It’s customizable and works with businesses of all sizes. It’s built to scale with a business as it grows and adapts alongside its unique requirements. A free update in November of 2016 called Aljex-Vision increased homepage speed, added map views, introduced exception filters and further boosted the accuracy of calculating brokerage percentages.
The 3PLink® Transportation Management System gives you powerful, real-time tools and features to improve your transportation execution with lower costs, higher productivity, and higher levels of customer service and responsiveness. No matter how simple or complex your freight requirements, you’ll find 3PLink® TMS powerful to suit your needs right out of the box.
UltraShipTMS provides users with helpful services and consultations to help improve and optimize their transportation and supply chain networks. It is a single-source for shipment optimization, transportation and settlement across all transport modes. It is available as an affordable, flexible, SaaS model. It offers inclusions that re-engineer and transform supply chain mechanisms while bringing more network visibility, accountability and collaboration.
Get the visibility, resources, and processes to help your supply chain stay competitive in the global marketplace. Managed TMS®—offered by TMC, a separate division of C.H. Robinson—is the first global transportation management system (TMS) that combines technology with logistics process management and consulting services to help you manage your day-to-day requirements through a single global technology platform.
Compare all your LTL rates faster. Connect to your carriers and brokers, search your rates, schedule pickups, print bills of lading and labels. Track all of your shipments on one website. Works great on your phone and iPad. Fantastic customer support.
The Multi-Carrier Shipping module (WISEship®) receives the orders picked from the warehouse or website. The system can also send out email notifications of shipped orders to your customers.A WISE mobile computer can significantly improve driver productivity by eliminating much of the need to perform manual paperwork, and placing all the information needed throughout the workday right at the fingertips of the driver
Built on Ramco VirtualWorks, Ramco ERP on Cloud is one of the most advanced and revolutionary enterprise application assembly and delivery platform, that enables users to get a 360-degree view of their business, anytime, from anywhere by putting all their business functions on to one single platform on the cloud and automating and integrating them, end-to-end. With this unified view of business, they can further drive innovation across the value chain, improve efficiency, and reduce costs and time to market. Also, this entire suite of product is accessible over the internet, which gives them the freedom to access information from any part of the globe at the click of a browser button, whether from a laptop, a PDA, mobile phone or a tablet PC.
TMS designed specifically for medium-sized logistics providers specializing in consolidated forwarding of LTL shipments.
QAD Precision is a transportation management solution designed to handle inbound as well as outbound shipments effectively across the globe. In April of 2019, it was announced that this company would be renamed QAD Precision. It enables seamless integration into the global carrier network, providing the user with a wide variety of partners to choose from. It also ensures that shipping procedures are being carried out uniformly across the enterprise.It makes the shipment process transparent and gives centralized control to the users. The software’s functionality is unanimously applicable for several shipment modes such as Courier, Freight, Truckload, Less than Truckload, and Parcel. Its key offerings include routing, shipment management, carrier management, quotes and estimates.
Built on leading Force.com platform, Streamline is the first in a series of products integrated with Award winning Salesforce.com to provide a "World Class" Total Enterprise Solution without a large capital expense of traditional ERP systems.
Roadnet Transportation Suite is cloud-based and offers a range of tools to its users. It was acquired by Omnitracs Telematics, a SaaS fleet management provider in 2013. Its primary utility is to ensure that fleet managers and operators have pinpointed, real-time access to operating data to aid them in carrying out everyday operations. It enables the user to effectively monitor their vehicle usage, including operating parameters, engine faults, idle time and others. As a result, the user can track, analyze and influence or modify the behaviors of fleet drivers, leading to seamless fleet operations.
This fully-integrated suite comprises a Warehouse Management System (WMS), Transportation Management System (TMS), 3PL-centric billing and financials (FMS), secure customer access portal (MyLogistics) and collaborative business intelligence tools. Standard functionality includes support for RF, EDI and XML communications, cross docking, assembly/ disassembly, hazardous materials (HAZMAT), foreign trade zones (FTZ), as well as the bonding and excise/ taxation reporting requirements associated with beer, wine, spirits and other regulated commodities.
ShippersEdge is multi-carrier shipping and logistics software for LTL and Truckload shipping with scalability from a single user to large enterprises. It is an affordable, hosted TMS shipping software with all the functionality most companies will need. It can transform the way you manage your logistics by supporting all departments, reducing shipping costs by as much as 20% and cutting work-time by more than half.
Express WMS is a cloud-based warehouse management solution (WMS), designed exclusively for third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses. Express WMS is built for startups and 3PLs that need a robust solution to meet their current needs, but with the ability to evolve the system as the business grows. The solution is designed for single-location warehouses, with up to 5 users. Features include: Inventory Management, Multi-client Billing Invoicing, Inventory History Reporting, Basic Physical Count Reports, Customer WebView, Optional Accounting Interface, and Optional Wireless Barcode Scanning. Express WMS is perfect for 3PL warehouses that need a top tier WMS but aren’t ready for the larger time and financial investment of an enterprise WMS.
Manhattan Software’s platform provides a suite of management tools that are designed for larger and more complex operations. Applications for both warehouse and transportation management are included in this solution as well. With this system, users can leverage analytical tools, dashboards, data visibility applications and more while executing vital supply chain processes. Included tools help users discover stagnant inventory, manage critical supply chain tasks and benefit from a wealth of data.
Silver Bullet Technologies provides logistics software for Freight Forwarders, NVOCC's, 3PLs, Warehousing, Trucking, Transloading, Yard Management, Container Freight Stations, Customs Exams Stations, Distribution, and large companies handling freight internally, including cold chain operators. Automating Air, Ocean, Rail, Trucking, and Multimodal transportation modes, our suite of intuitive software modules is flexible and highly adaptable supported with the best customer service in the industry.
Silent Passenger®, powered by Vehicle Tracking Solutions®, is a multi-use fleet management platform. With state-of-the-art telematics and GPS fleet tracking software, Silent Passenger streamlines fleet operations to drive efficiency and productivity. Silent Passenger allows users to oversee fleets with complete visibility, control, and protection over the vehicles and assets that power the business. Silent Passenger allows users to work from anywhere with easily accessible mobile applications.The software solution comes paired with 24/7 service and support. Vehicle Tracking Solutions has an in-house client success team and development to ensure that the platform is both easy-to-use and scalable to meet the unique needs of any business. With its innovative, secure, and scalable telematics platform, Silent Passenger helps users increase the efficiency of fleet operations, allowing users to provide better support to customers.The configurable, robust fleet management system monitors all aspects of the fleet including maintenance, assets, safety, routing, fuel, and more. With the information provided by the system, users are armed with the knowledge and insight needed to make better business and operational decisions. Telematics software collects data and compiles it into easy-to-use dashboards. Those dashboards reveal key insights about fleet operations based on historical and real-time data. This allows users to make data-driven business decisions that improve operations. These insights allow users to find cost savings and transform fleet operations to boost profitability.
IBM® Sterling Transportation Management System (TMS) is a software solution that optimizes and transforms your supply chain network by planning and executing inbound and outbound transportation processes. IBM Sterling TMS connects you to a collaborative logistics network of carriers, shippers, and customers, automating your entire transportation management process. Delivered “Software-as-a-Service” (SaaS), means fewer IT resources, no upgrade costs, easy connectivity, and low total cost of ownership
High Point GPS is a web-based solution designed to help companies coordinate and track their fleet of vehicles in real-time.Each vehicle is installed with a tracking device with a constant satellite and cellular connection that sends location updates to the online application, providing real-time locations. Through the systems Route Manager, users can view assets on a map and differentiate between vehicles by color, type custom labeling to indicate usage type.Through their dispatching feature, dispatchers can find an address, locate the closest vehicle to a stop, and dispatch the stop to the driver, which will simultaneously appear on the driver’s device. Communication between drivers and dispatch can be managed with the two-way messaging feature from the web application directly to a driver’s device, rather than SMS messaging. Drivers can access this interactive dispatch feature via mobile, tablet, and select Garmin devices; it also provides directions with truck routing to prevent them from getting lost.
FleetZoo is a SaaS for field operations and last mile delivery including modules for Order Management, CRM, Vehicles Management, Route planning and Optimization, Dispatching, Tracking, and Customer Notification modules. The solution is designed to cut operational costs through optimizing fleet routing, minimizing vehicle run-time, and maximizing fuel savings while improving fleet utilization, driver productivity, and customer service levels. Our Fleet Optimization Solution simplifies and improves the planning, execution, and monitoring of any fleet operation, for any fleet size.
Over 1500 fleets use RTA's Fleet Maintenance system, the best solution for your fleet management needs. Designed by fleet professionals for the fleet industry, RTA's fleet management software is robust and flexible, offering inventory management and customization options for every industry
uRoute is designed to enable and empower shippers across the world to handle their transportation effectively. It provides users with claims management, bill auditing, robust analytics, e-load tendering, spot bid capabilities, RFQ development, direct e-carrier management, user-friendly shipment procurement and more. These features define an interface that can be accessed from anywhere in just a few clicks. It is web-based and can be a useful option for organizations that already have or plan to outgrow spreadsheets. It has a straightforward and user friendly interface that allows new users to adapt it quickly without IT support. Its wide range of features enables shippers and carriers to manage multi-stop and intermodal shipments, drayage, truckloads and various other shipment categories. Users can easily access their interface from any kind of screen including, desktop, laptop, tablet, or a mobile device. It also aids in multi-facility management and is easily integrable with accounting modules, API communication, customer EDI, WMS and an ERP.
Dynamic route optimization software that plans the optimal routes for trucks and bikes under many constraints in time frames and orders weight or volume. The system is included with a fleet management system to keep track of your vehicle locations and routing conditions.
Agistix is a global supply chain and transportation management solution suite. It aids businesses with complex supply chains to gain better visibility over their shipments. It is agile and supports all modes, suppliers, carriers, and systems. Data and analytics provide detailed insights regarding a business’s supply chain. It enables users to act on opportunities found by studying in-house data and providing actionable insights. It also includes real-time shipment transit updates, and users can control shipping charges, get improved contracts, check for fraud and establish strategic and more reliable supply chains.
Waybill Tracking for Windows simplifies the day-to-day procedures that Freight Forwarders, Couriers, and Truckers deal with. This easy-to-use package has been in use since 1986 by freight companies large and small. With the optional Client Server Back-end, we can easily handle 1 to 100 users.
FleetFocus is part of a comprehensive suite of fleet management software applications making it the only product on the market with a real-time, single database integration for nearly all fleet management functions. The full product suite is comprised of FuelFocus fuel management system, KeyValet automated motor pool solution, GPS powered by Networkfleet and the Field Service Solution mobile workforce management system.
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