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How to Utilize a Transportation Management System

Published on
1/17/2024
A supervisor in a hardhat reviewing information on a clipboard.

Shipping can be a management nightmare. Keeping track of who has what, what’s going where, and where packages are in real-time is difficult — not to mention all the planning and bookkeeping that goes along with it.

A transportation management system makes shipping easier to track. It does the tracking for you. TMS software can help small business owners detangle the hassle of shipping logistics.

What is a Transportation Management System?

A transportation management system is also known as a TMS. Businesses utilize them to keep track of their shipments. They’re great for both large and small companies.

Transportation management systems are special software that houses everything you’d want to know about your freight logistics, including:

  • Drivers
  • Shipping costs
  • Routes
  • Locations of packages
  • Projected costs
  • Time spent
  • And more

Overall, a TMS is a great tool that ensures your shipping operations are running smoothly.

White trucks and vans parked in a row.

Why You Need a Transportation Management System

A TMS gives you a bird’s eye view of all things regarding the shipping process. When using a TMS, you’ll have more control over the whole process, including planning and execution. 

As well as helping with individual jobs, a TMS can be used for analytics. Almost any business can benefit from using a TMS.

Planning

Those using a TMS will have a much easier time planning future jobs. These systems help businesses find the best shipping options for them. A good TMS should consider the following:

  • Distance
  • Cost
  • Efficiency
  • Multi-carrier options

With this information, it becomes much easier to negotiate with the driver.

Load Execution

Executing a job can be even more difficult than planning one. This step involves finding the driver, booking their payments, and handling the package correctly. 

A TMS will help you with all that information and let you know who has your freight, where it is, and if it’s hit any snags. 

A good TMS offers a lot of help during this step of the shipping process. Some features to expect are:

  • Route optimizations
  • Tracking dock schedules
  • Managing your fleet

Track Payments and Invoices

Finally, a TMS can help you track payments and invoices after a freight delivery. The shipping industry is full of paperwork, and keeping track of everything can take time and effort. A TMS can act as a way to track payments and invoices.

Whether you’re shipping through a third party or are a third party, a TMS makes tracking freight simple. Every small business with shipping needs should use a transportation management system.

A person calculating invoices at a desk.

Benefits of Transportation Management Systems

Newer TMSs are outpacing traditional transportation management systems, and rightfully so. These newer systems have a lot of benefits. Let’s look at the benefits of TMSs.

No More Lost Shipments

At this point in history, you are the exception if you haven’t had a package get lost in the mail. Lost shipments are a fact of life in the shipping industry, but TMSs allow for a new level of trackability that negates lost packages.

A great benefit of using a TMS is you know exactly who has your freight and where it’s going. This readily available information will help you ensure none of your shipments get lost.

Shipment Tracking

Customers want to know where their shipment is and when it will come. A considerable benefit of using a TMS is the ability to track shipments precisely. Know where your cargo goes, when it changes hands, and when it gets held up.

Record Keeping

Transportation management systems make great record-keeping tools. Not only can you use them as a bookkeeping tool, but you can track reliable drivers as well. 

Having more information at your fingertips will help you find where discrepancies can occur and how to prevent them in the future.

Increase Efficiencies

Another benefit of using a transportation management system is increasing efficiency. Because there’s a single space for all tracking information, managing the whole supply chain is much easier.

A good system will even help you make sure operations are financially efficient. When efficiencies increase, that means lower costs to the shipper, driver, and receiver. Everyone wins when using a TMS.

A smiling man reviewing information by the side of a truck.

Open Road for Shippers

For large operations and small businesses alike, TMSs are incredibly helpful. These systems offer a holistic picture of your processes and can help your business become more efficient.

Although these systems are helpful, only some companies have significant shipping needs. Some small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) only need a cargo job on occasion. Open Road offers small business shipping solutions for those jobs that need to get done. 

Open Road is a TMS for SMBs with several of the most critical capabilities as other TMSs. These benefits are available to our customers who sign up as a shipper. Once registered, you can track shipments, save contacts, and know the costs upfront.

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