No one likes spending their valuable time working on manual tasks that take forever. Streamlining operations with automation is the dream for every business, yet many companies still rely on spreadsheets and manual interactions. One way to drastically reduce your manual processes is by implementing a transportation management system (TMS). Many companies use a TMS for their logistics management, like e-commerce companies, retail businesses, manufacturers, and distributors. By adopting a TMS, you’ll be able to eliminate manual processes and focus more of your team on revenue-generating tasks. Read on to learn how a TMS can help you make the most of your time by automating your manual processes.
Even if you already have a TMS, you might still be doing more work than necessary if your software doesn’t have integration capabilities for order entry. You might be stuck typing each order into your enterprise resource planning system (ERP), as well as your TMS. And if you don’t have a TMS, you certainly are spending way more time doing data entry than you should.
If you’re currently using an ERP, you should make sure the TMS you’re working with can interface with your system, allowing order information to transfer automatically. This prevents the need for dual entry and gives you and your team more time to focus on revenue-generating tasks.
Shopping for shipping rates can be time-consuming if you have to look through each of your carrier’s rates on a lane, and that’s if they offer contracted rates. If not, emails and phone calls to every available carrier might be necessary for even just a single lane. And even after all that, are you sure you’ve selected the best carrier for the best rate? If you work with several different shipments, it can be time-consuming to be on the phone or going through emails asking for rates from carriers in your network. Trying to manually keep track of all those quotes can take you away from more important aspects of your business.
Quickly compare contracted rates or submit instant spot quote requests to multiple carriers at once with a best-in-class TMS. The carrier quotes are automatically filtered into the system by the lowest cost carrier for easy comparison instead of piling up your inbox.
Manually managing documents or paperwork is monotonous and outdated. Everything from manually completing the documents to organizing and filing takes a significant amount of time. Not to mention the process of searching for the documents you need later. According to a report by CMS Wire, 36 percent of an employee’s day is spent looking for documents, with information going unfound up to 44 percent of the time. Going by those statistics, you could be spending almost three hours of your day searching for lost documents.
Managing large volumes of loads is timely, and in business, how you spend your time is critical. Sifting through filing cabinets or folders is not an effective use of your time. By using a TMS, all of your documentation is managed, stored, and shared digitally. Not only does this keep your information more secure, but it makes organizing and accessing your documents easier. Using a TMS is the easiest way to manage all of your documents while saving you hours of time every day.
Calling or emailing carriers to see if they can not only accept your load but have the expertise to haul it can get quite time-consuming, especially if you’ve got hundreds of loads to cover. And even more so if you’re working with many kinds of freight. Because not every shipment is the same, the same carrier probably shouldn’t handle them all. Finding carriers best suited for your shipment needs is tough. In the midst of your workday, it’s easy to forget which carriers you’ve talked to already or those you’ve missed. This can translate to a long list of uncovered loads at the end of the day.
Say goodbye to the dozens of phone calls and emails previously used to secure carriers on your loads. With a TMS, you can send a load tender to your preferred carrier, allowing them to accept it electronically. If they reject the tender or don’t respond promptly, the load automatically goes to the next carrier on your list based on cost, performance, or other parameters defined by your company.
Without using technology, you often won’t know about a shipment delay until your unsatisfied customer calls you. If you’re tracking your shipments, you’re usually doing this manually through emails or phone calls to find out where your freight is, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. While it can be common for several different shipments to be in transit on different company trucks and located all over, tracking can be a challenge. Without a TMS, a lot of time is spent manually tracking shipments and trying to get ahead of delays.
Spend less time tracking your loads and more time filling your orders with a TMS. Carriers will have the ability to provide their own status updates on each of your loads either manually or automatically, allowing you to easily manage your shipments and know in real-time whether there is a delay or not. When asked what features they were looking for in the aforementioned survey, 25 percent of shippers said they needed shipment tracking.
Reports can be a pain to produce manually since they require merging multiple spreadsheets or pulling information from different sources. This is often done in Excel, which has no way of validating if the reports are accurate. It’s also almost impossible to track carrier performance since it’s hard to see if loads were delivered on time and who shipped which load, all on one spreadsheet. Without proper reporting, how can you really know which carrier had the best performance, what your freight costs were on specific lanes, or which carrier was cheapest the past year?
Forget spending precious time compiling reports from multiple spreadsheets. A TMS will give you the ability to generate all your transportation reports on demand. Do note that not every TMS can generate the reporting you may need, but a best-in-class TMS can offer you advanced reporting to go into specific logistics metrics. From gauging your monthly freight spend to rating your carriers’ performance, you can easily access it if you need it. Need it on a regular basis? With Trinity’s TMS, you can schedule reports to be run daily, weekly, or monthly and even have them automatically emailed to recipients on a distribution list.
With the ability to eliminate multiple manual processes, it’s easy to see why a TMS allows you to focus your time and attention on more important things, like widening your profit margin.
If you’re ready to make the move to automation to improve your logistics, we’re here to help. Our combination of experienced account management and best-in-class TMS technology offers you a customized solution to help you achieve your unique supply chain goals. Whether you’re looking for Saas, a Managed TMS, a fully integrated Outsource, or something in between, we’ll work with you to design a solution that’s unique to your business. Gain control, cut costs, improve performance, and most importantly, eliminate those manual processes!
Author: Christine Morris
Logistics experts estimate high freight rates will remain through 2022, so now is not the time to stress over costs. Instead, you should be focus on capacity, customer service, and communication.
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