Cloud TMS: What It Is And The Best Software Solutions

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Transportation management is an integral piece of any successful supply chain. The speed and accuracy of deliveries made to customers are vital to maintaining happy clients and a good reputation in your industry. While it may seem as simple as getting a package from point A to point B, an effective cloud TMS system involves a number of processes that can be difficult to stay on top of without the help of software.

These systems are critical for timely deliveries and accurate shipping, with cloud TMS solutions growing in popularity as vendors try and support these practices. But before we jump into the best cloud-based TMS software on the market, let’s begin with what a transportation management platform is and how adopting the cloud is the way to go.

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What Are Transportation Management Systems?

Transportation management systems take care of a lot. Simply saying that they “streamline the shipping process” isn’t enough. These platforms do optimize shipping, but in order to accomplish this, there are many other operations that need to be considered first. Here are some features available in most TMS platforms that are integral to a well-oiled transportation operation:

  • Shipment Consolidation
  • Route Optimization
  • Carrier Networks and Selection
  • Freight Estimates and Optimizations
  • Accounting and Payment Support
  • Increased Visibility

As you already know, more goes into a transportation business than moving a box from a warehouse to an office. Managing all of this without the aid of software is a daunting task, not to mention trying to find the time to improve processes and cut costs. Manually seeking out carriers, keeping accurate accounting records, figuring out the best pallet layout for an optimized shipment and estimating freight costs without the help of a software solution is simply not necessary with the advances of today’s business software.

TMS solutions automate the more time-consuming and tedious processes so employees can focus on what humans do best — planning for the future and managing. So, it should be fairly evident by now how one of these systems can help out, but should you go with cloud TMS or on-premise?

Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise Deployment

While there has been some debate about which is the superior deployment method, cloud-based deployments are sure to become the go-to strategy for many businesses in the near future. Time and money are what make the world of transportation management go ‘round, and on-premise deployments are costly in both areas. But there are still many pros and cons of each deployment strategy to consider.

On-Premise

Pros

While on-premise deployments may be losing popularity, there are still some benefits to adopting this style:

  • Everything is hosted on-site
  • Allows for a high degree of control as the solution is located in-house
  • Enables stronger security against online threats
  • Depending on the industry, this deployment method may be the only choice

Cons

Knowing where and how your data is stored at all times can provide some comfort to those with sensitive data. However, the downsides to this deployment style can be enough to frighten those deciding between this method or the cloud:

  • Time intensive integration that has to be performed in-house by skilled labor
  • High sunk costs due to full license purchases
  • Maintenance and upgrades are costly and time-consuming

Cloud-Based

Pros

Cloud-based deployment strategies come with some hard to ignore benefits:

  • Cheap cost of entry thanks to subscription-based payment models
  • Nearly unlimited storage capabilities (although be aware of hidden fees)
  • Real-time maintenance and upgrades that do not require a lengthy shut down of the system
  • Files are easily backed-up and recalled
  • Ease of access with mobile devices
  • Users can handpick integrations and customize the software to fit unique requirements
  • Quick deployment

Cons

As you can see, choosing a cloud TMS over an on-premise competitor has many advantages to offer. However, while the cheaper cost of entry makes these solutions prime candidates for smaller businesses, it’s still important to be aware of the downsides.

  • Relies on an internet connection
  • Though these solutions are known to be very secure, they are still stored in a third-party environment that is not under your control
  • More concerns involving data and privacy
  • Could be vulnerable to outside attack

Now that we have seen some of the pros and cons of each deployment, we can take a look at some of the top competitors in the cloud-based TMS market. When considering a solution for purchase, be sure to keep the unique requirements of your business in mind.

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The Best Cloud-Based TMS Software

Our research team dove head-first into the cloud-based TMS market and measured up the competition. After comparing, contrasting and formulating a report, these five solutions emerged as the top choices in the cloud-based market for transportation management (listed in no particular order).

3G-TM

3G-TM is a multi-mode TMS solution that works well with mid-sized to large third-party logistics (3PL) providers, shippers, and other non-asset based transportation businesses. Their new partnership with TMW Systems gives this solution a competitive edge for companies partnering with private fleets or third-party carrier solutions.

3G-TM

Users can expect helpful features such as route mapping, financial tendering and a full suite of tools to manage the full transportation lifecycle. A full support team is available to answer questions, solve problems and provide specialized training consulting services.

Here are some more stand out benefits of 3G-TM:

TMS Health Check

3G-TM can help users maximize their operation’s productivity with explanations on best practices and expert workflows. Any integrations that have been made part of the system are monitored to ensure they are efficient additions.

Reporting

A full suite of reporting tools is available to help monitor carrier metrics, delivery performance and adherence to compliance. Data visibility is valuable and can be leveraged to make important decisions about the future.

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Freight Settlement

Anything that takes the pain out of accounting is a plus. Luckily, 3G-TM contains features that handle customer billing, invoicing, auditing and the allocation of freight costs. Automation of accounting processes can prevent needless human errors that can become costly problems if unnoticed.

3G-TM contains more features focused on optimizing your transportation management tasks:

  • Quick Ship Portal
  • Rating and Contract Management
  • Planning and Optimization
  • ERP, EDI, API and Order Entry Integration Support
  • Execution and Visibility
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L 

3T Event

3T Event is a multi-tenant, end-to-end SaaS TMS platform built to handle the challenges of larger businesses. To accommodate a changing business environment, 3T Event provides a mix of carriers by route and mode to optimize strategic decisions. A network of about 500 carriers is available along with support for road, full truckload, air and ocean transportation.

3T Event

Users can cut costs with optimized routes that are constructed to get the most out of whatever mode of transportation is in use. The included Event BIP features help manage real-time KPI metrics, provides a number of filter options and offers access to customizable views. 3T Event can also load building plans to construct optimized fills to get the most out of every shipment.

Some more standout features of this platform are:

A Global Platform with Carrier Invoices

3T Event can compare carrier invoices to international tariffs to ensure proper accounting practices. This global platform is deployable in regions across the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Dock Control and Tracking

Transportation managers can rest easy knowing that 3T Event tracks compliance standards to ensure their businesses are always operating within regulation. Management tools streamline slot scheduling and online shipping bookings.

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Easy-to-Use Software

3T Event’s intuitive cloud-based platform displays detailed information in organized and visually digestible methods. Customization tools and templates, graphical dashboards, and notification functions make 3T Logistics user-friendly.

Some more noteworthy features include:

  • 4PL Collaboration
  • Carrier and Load Management
  • SKU-Level Information
  • Planning Tools
  • Consulting and Training
Price: Not Listed
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L 

Cloud Logistics

This cloud TMS solution fits with businesses of all sizes and comes with features focused on planning, executing, monitoring and analyzing transportation operations. Analytics tools provide data visibility that gives managers the tools they need to streamline and optimize their daily processes. A customizable experience gives users the ability to set custom alerts and create workflows that best fit their requirements.

Cloud Logistics

Communication is key to a successful transportation operation and Cloud Logistics gives users a full suite of collaboration tools. Shippers, carriers and 3PL providers are all reachable through a built-in network that allows instant messaging between partners and relevant parties. Mobile features let drivers gain visibility into upcoming loads, receive delivery instructions and capture proof of delivery once a shipment is complete.

Here is a deeper look at some features:

Implementation

Cloud Logistics’ TMS platform can be implemented with Same Day TMS and go into use over the course of a single day. Clients are quickly trained to enter in carriers, users, carrier contracts and routing guides during a morning training session. By lunch-time, shipping can resume with the brand new system in place.

Operational Efficiencies

Automated waterfall tendering is available through this solution. Integrated internal and external benchmark data provides context-sensitive support to aid in decision-making processes. Spot quoting allows users to take actions in bulk.

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Automated Freight Bills

Carriers can submit invoice data through a carrier portal or EDI. Rules-based exception identification is also available along with features to help facilitate any disputes with carriers through the built-in social network.

These helpful features are also available:

  • Manual Planner
  • Carrier Assignment Optimization
  • Built-In Social Network
  • Low TCO and Implementation
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L

Kuebix TMS

Kuebix TMS supports businesses of all sizes and modes of transportation. This platform focuses on businesses involved in the grocery, food and beverage, chemical, retail, manufacturing and distribution industries. Businesses can compare rates side-by-side and select the best carrier for each and every shipment. After selecting a carrier, Kuebix TMS streamlines the rest of the shipping process with tracking, automated invoice audits, exception management and more end-to-end features.

Kuebix TMS

Outbound and inbound operations are supported, and a myriad of modes of transport are available, including LTL, LCL, intermodal and heavyweight air. Users can leverage analytics tools to measure carrier performance and shipping trends to make smarter shipping choices.

Take a look at these standout features:

Financial Management

Users can add important GL codes to every line item in an invoice so that landed costs by product are accurate for analysis and capture. Rate exceptions, approved carrier invoices, remittance creation and carrier payment reviews are also included.

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Predictive Analytics

Analytics tools can drill-down into freight spend and generate scorecards related to carrier performance. This data is sent to a user-accessible dashboard that also reports on freight savings.

Prepay and Add

This feature lets users add a percentage or flat upcharge to a negotiated carrier rate. These fees help cover operational costs attached to shipping, handling and unforeseen accessorial charges.

This platform also includes:

  • Carrier Relationship Management
  • Shipment Management
  • Dynamic Allowance Manager
  • Vendor Compliance Program
  • Kuebex Community Loadmatch Service
Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L 

MercuryGate

Mercurygate is a TMS platform for logistics providers, shippers, freight forwarders and domestic freight brokers. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from features that let users procure, plan, optimize, execute and settle on freight movements. All modes of transport are supported by MercuryGate, including parcel, less-than-truckload truckload, air, ocean, rail and intermodal.

MercuryGate

An online customer portal is available that allows customers to access logistics information, create their own quotes and track the progress of shipments. This portal also gives customers a tower view of freight activity while delivering automated reports on essential metrics. MercuryGate knows what 3PL providers need, and this solution includes everything they need to handle daily tasks.

Some more included features are:

Freight Visibility

MercuryGate provides end-to-end visibility when tracking freight from its source to its destination. Once a shipment is in progress, the platform shares key data with customers and partners through a configurable portal.

Visual Dashboard

This dashboard features reports on pending, picked up, in-transit and delivered products. Graphs display load count per origin per destination, and a summary of quotes is also available, which allows customers to accept or reject quotes.

Carrier-Capacity-Load Matching

The capacity and load to be moved are provided to a carrier network to make for easy bidding. This way, there’s no confusion about what’s being moved and how it’s being moved before a carrier is even assigned to the shipment.

These features are also included in the platform:

  • Global Transportation Execution
  • Locate Carrier Capacity
  • Control Tower Page
  • Quick Quote Additions
  • Carrier Matching

Our requirements guide can provide some guidance for those looking for the perfect transportation management system.

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Price: $$$$$
Deployment:
Platform:

Company Size Suitability: S M L 

Final Thoughts

Transportation management systems are vital to operations looking to keep up with today’s changing global market. We have a variety of articles discussing the ins and outs of transportation management, feel free to take a look!

How has a transportation management system helped your business stay competitive? Let us know with a comment below!

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