One of the most frustrating and time-consuming tasks a shipper undertakes is finding the right LTL carrier for their light shipments. Shippers from retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and more are dependent on less than truckload carriers to move cargo and freight efficiently to their customers. However, with so many fish in the sea, how can a shipper find the top LTL carriers that provide them with affordable rates and top-shelf service? The answer falls in the automated solutions that TMS systems provide users.
Today’s transportation management systems are cloud-based solutions that help shippers and the top LTL carriers connect with each other. While the systems are customized for each industry, there are 3 main reasons why both shippers and LTL carriers depend on the automated features of TMS solutions to power the daily operations.
One of the biggest myths about a transportation management system is that it’s only used by shippers. In truth, the modern TMS is simply a platform that can be customized to fit the needs of virtually anyone who operates within the supply chain. A TMS is designed to be an automatic data collection and organizational tool that can be accessed through a dashboard and in some cases, from multiple locations. The dashboard is designed to provide users with a big-picture point of view of the supply chain operations for a company. These dashboards can be configured to fit the needs or tasks that an individual company completes on a daily basis. Due to this flexibility in customization, both shippers and leading LTL carriers depend on them to power their networks.
Shippers and carriers use TMS solutions for different reasons. But, one common usage is to ensure that special handling shipments are efficiently moved throughout the supply chain. Shippers will often use a robust TMS to find carriers that can transport shipments that require special handlings, such as reefer, secured shipment, or other unique shipment types. Once the right LTL carrier has been found, the TMS permits the shipment to be tracked, with instant notifications being sent to all parties within the movement of that freight.
Here is a practical example of how this system works for both the carrier and the shipper.
Let’s say that you’re a shipper that makes technology equipment that requires cold-storage and enhanced security protocols. The TMS is used to search for carriers who can provide these special services, along with displaying rates, availability and more. This permits the shipper to streamline routing of freight, set up the pick-up and delivery, and upload contact information for stakeholders involved in the shipment. Once the freight is picked up, instant updates on the movement of that freight can be sent to the original shipper, recipient, or other third-parties involved in that shipment.
This permits the carrier to update all parties on weather or traffic delays, improve estimations for delivery time, and then provide proof of delivery notifications. The best part – is that many advanced TMS solutions are cloud-based, meaning that users can access them from any location – and often from multiple devices.
Today’s consumer demands information quickly and accurately delivered through their communication platform of choice. This is another strong automated feature of TMS solutions used by shippers and carriers alike. The flexibility of custom notifications can be configured to send updates on the fly via SMS text messages, emails, even desktop or laptop device notifications. Automated phone calls can be sent that inform parties involved with the shipment about delivery notifications, changes in delivery point, and also permit recipients to confirm and reply to these automated messages.
Delays in shipping happen and quite often, out of the control of the shipper or carrier. The key is making sure to quickly update the recipient of the freight to permit them to adjust their schedules accordingly. By taking this simple action, customer service is vastly improved.
Regardless of the type of business you have, a TMS solution can be a huge benefit. If you have questions about setting up a customized TMS solution for your supply chain related business, contact a professional 3PL such as LTX Solutions to ask about how your company can integrate this affordable platform into your daily logistics operations.