10 Must-Have Transport Management System Features

Transport Management System Features

A transport management system is essential for businesses and companies of all sizes, allowing them to manage their vehicles and cargo efficiently and cost-effectively. When searching for a transport management system, it is essential to look for functions that cover the entire life cycle of transportation, such as pickup, route optimisation, vehicle tracking and final delivery. Following are the key features of a TMS that make it an indispensable tool for businesses.

1. Carrier Contract Management

Carrier contract management is an essential feature of a transport management system because it allows companies to maintain relationships with their existing carrier partners and ensure that their contracts are up-to-date. Contract management enables companies to easily compare carriers, negotiate terms and prices, track payment, manage performance and alert clients when it’s time for contract renewal. It also ensures that the carrier complies with all the agreed-upon rules and pricing within the contract. Contract management improves visibility, reduces paperwork and allows companies to quicken the decision-making process. 

2. Route Optimisation

Route Optimisation tools allow businesses to find the shortest and safest routes to the delivery destination. The system considers the types of goods being transported, the geographical location of the goods, and other factors such as traffic and weather conditions to determine the best possible route for delivery. The purpose of route optimisation is to minimise the time, cost and number of visits required to get the goods to their destination. Route optimisation algorithms optimise fuel consumption, hence reducing carbon emissions for a sustainable environment.

3. Business Intelligence Tools

Business Intelligence is an invaluable tool for reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and creating a data-driven approach to making decisions that ensure optimal transport outcomes. An effective BI tool can collect, integrate, analyse, and ultimately synthesise data from multiple sources. The most significant advantages of BI over traditional spreadsheets are real-time analytics and an array of custom reports that anyone from the transportation management team can generate for their needs. A transport management system with BI capabilities offers valuable insight into fleets’ performance, optimises workflows, and identifies areas of improvement. By leveraging BI, transport companies can monitor potential traffic delays, spot fuel efficiency opportunities, and analyse the effects of route changes on overall performance.

4. Automated Billing and Invoicing

Automated billing and invoicing are essential features of a transport management system because they allow businesses to manage their invoices and accounting efficiently. By automating billing processes and eliminating manual data entry, transport companies can offer streamlined services and avoid tedious paperwork, thus, reducing administrative costs. Additionally, automated billing enables transport companies to incorporate customer discounts and add-ons easily and monitor a customer’s account history. Companies also improve customer satisfaction with automated invoicing since customers can view and pay digital invoices quickly and without any difficulty.

5. Fleet Management System

A TMS must include a fleet management system because it is responsible for providing control, direction, and organisation of vehicle fleets to maximise efficiency, safety, and productivity. It involves tracking trucks, managing vehicle-related data, controlling operations and scheduling fleet inspections. A Fleet Management System increases fleet efficiency, decreases expenses, and optimises resource utilisation. Additionally, it helps reduce environmental impact and increases customer satisfaction by providing valuable data insights.

6. Order Management

Order management tools provide a streamlined, accurate and automated approach to ordering, tracking and delivering goods on time. Order Management tools can monitor the progress of the goods in transit, providing detailed tracking information that can be used to respond to unexpected delays or other operational issues quickly. This helps in increasing the visibility into the supply chain, allowing for better customer service, improved delivery accuracy, and delivery times. TMS order management tools enable warehouses and fulfilment centres to control inventory movements based on specific customer requirements.

7. Real Time Tracking

The real-time tracking feature of a TMS enables transportation companies to track the goods and trucks with precision and up-to-date information to ensure that shipments arrive on time. Real-time tracking also provides customers with an accurate and up-to-date view of their shipment’s status and location, which adds to customer satisfaction. Real-time tracking contributes to the safety of the transportation process, as businesses can monitor the delivery of their goods from origin to destination and ensure they are not subject to theft or damage.

8. Reports & Analytics

Reports and dashboards present summarized information from multiple sources, such as databases, spreadsheets and documents, on a single interface. Reports help understand critical trends, display operational performance metrics, compare operational attributes over time, and identify potential issues for improvement. 

A dashboard is a visual representation of the information stored in the TMS software. Dashboards display key performance indicators (KPIs) and other essential metrics related to the transport operation. Dashboards act as the command centre of the transport operation, providing businesses with an overview of the status of the business. By providing an overview of the performance in transportation and freight operations, dashboards enable transport managers to take corrective action quickly and improve operational processes.

9. Load Planning

Load planning allows companies to plan the loading space of trucks and receive a calculation of the available loading space, considering the maximum loads and weight. It enables the system to identify what vehicles are needed and how much cargo can be carried by each vehicle while also considering the size and number of planned deliveries. The load planning feature will help prevent overbooking, reducing delivery delays and lowering operational costs. In addition, automated load planning reduces paperwork and improves overall driver safety.

10. Data Security

Data security helps to protect sensitive information, such as customer orders, shipping routes, and financial transactions. A TMS with robust data security measures can help to prevent unauthorised access to this information, as well as protect against data breaches and other cyber threats. TMS should have the ability to set access controls and permissions for different users. This allows administrators to limit access to sensitive information to only authorised personnel and restrict the actions that different users can perform within the system.

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