No matter how good your products are, if you fail to ensure their regular availability, many customers will abandon your brand. To give your buyers one more reason to stick to you, make sure they get their preferred products when they want and where they want. An inefficient shipping process is one of the most common roadblocks managers face in ensuring timely deliveries. To help their managers overcome this problem, many businesses are opting for Transport Management Systems.
TMS: An introduction
TMS is a platform that is designed to help businesses streamline their shipping processes. Usually, TMS is a subset of the part of supply management that deals with transportation, and can also be a part of an ERP system.
Typically, TMS include both inbound and outbound shipping orders. TMS planning modules help users by suggesting various routing solutions. Once they have these suggestions, users can evaluate them, later passing them along to the transportation analysis module.
After the best mode and the provider with the lowest quote are selected, the system generates electronic load tendering. Once the optimized shipment is executed, the system supports freight payment and audit. Links are generated to the ERP system, and in some cases, to the WMS used by the business.
Managers use TMS to perform a number of tasks such as real-time transportation tracking, route optimization, freight negotiation and performing audits.
Hosted vs in-house TMS
When choosing a TMS, you will have two options. You can either opt for an in-house system or go for hosted services. Though in-house systems are specially designed for the business, managing them can be a time-consuming and effort-intensive exercise. Additionally, in many cases, businesses, to their dismay, find that their in-house system is unable to communicate properly with those used by their vendors.
Due to these headaches associated with using an in-house system, many businesses prefer outsourcing their TMS. Providers offering hosted services offer end-to-end services, ensuring that their clients do not need to take matters in their own hands.
Still wondering whether it is a good idea to outsource your TMS? TMS experts say you shouldn’t. Here are six reasons why outsourcing your TMS makes sense:
Service providers offer end-to-end services, which means you do not have to worry about updates, upgrades and maintenance. Additionally, servers are located at the provider’s location, and they are responsible for minimizing downtime.
Since everything is taken care of by the hosted service provider, you don’t need a large team and extensive infrastructure to manage processes related to your TMS. Opting for hosted services helps free-up the man-hours available with your IT team, that can now focus on more important tasks such as designing an IT policy.
2. Enhanced security
Hosted service providers are subject matter experts. Equipped with years of experience and technical know-how, they are well aware of the security and safety challenges of managing servers.
A hosted service provider not only takes steps to beef-up the physical security of the premises where the server is located but also educates clients on the best practices to reduce system vulnerabilities. To help clients avoid cyberattacks and other risks, providers publish updates and patches at regular intervals.
Additionally, most providers allow clients to create a backup on their servers, which appeals to managers who fear giving up control of critical business data to a third party.
3. Better productivity
Opting for hosted services would provide a much-needed breather for your IT teams that are already burdened with several tasks. When they have more time on their hands, your team members will be able to concentrate on more critical tasks that have a direct impact on productivity.
Additionally, you don’t have to spend resources (man hours and rands) on training your teams. Hosted service providers work with subject matter experts, who have trained eyes to detect system issues and errors. Once they get to the root cause of the problem, these experts come up with an action plan to get rid of the issue once and for all.
4. More avenues for continuous improvement
Hosted service providers understand the structure and functioning of different TMS like the back of their hand. These experts know different report generation techniques and can use the TMS to create different reports and custom analysis.
Experienced service providers not only help businesses with different activities such as choosing carriers, creating bills of lading and tendering loads but can also assist them in taking critical future decisions without having to invest considerable time and efforts in collecting important data. A hosted service provider can help their clients recognise unproductive processes and get rid of them while retaining best practices which forms the basis for continuous improvement.
Hosted TMS can be scaled easily to meet the needs of your growing business or a change in business demand. Most providers allow clients to add more users with time. Equipped with extensive resources, experienced providers are always ready to help businesses with their changing needs. Additionally, hosted service providers are known for swift deployments, helping businesses avoid losses due to downtime.
Your service provider is responsible for ensuring that your teams get round-the-clock access to system functionalities. To reduce downtime, hosted service providers use power backups. Technical support teams are available round the clock to take complaints and resolve them swiftly, ensuring that users get a sustainable solution to their problems.
Take a look at our infographic where we explore the 8 Benefits of Using a Transportation Management Provider.