The supply chain never sleeps. At all hours of the day and night, shipments are moving, data is being produced and exchanged and external factors that can impact your operations can arise. In part one of this two-part blog series, I’ll explain how today’s advanced technology systems now give you the visibility and capabilities necessary to control your supply chain more effectively than ever before.
An Agile Supply Chain with TMS 2.0
What if you wake up one morning to find out that there is a blizzard in the northeast, and you have 100 times-sensitive shipments heading into Boston that day? What do you do? For organizations with a traditional or out-of-date transportation management system (TMS), your ability to respond is limited. Fortunately, the days of TMS that only allow you to create a shipment and track it are gone.
The next generation of TMS now allows organizations to harness data from multiple sources and apply it to deliver a real, sustainable impact on your logistics and supply chain operations. Gathering data and monitoring shipments is only the beginning. Some systems can even predict the future and alert shippers of potential disruptions, such as severe weather, and allow you to proactively take steps to address those disruptions in order to maintain smooth operations and high levels of customer service.
What a Next-Gen TMS Looks Like
As the supply chain has evolved, so too has the TMS technology that allows shippers to access and leverage data, including the ability to combine internet data with logistics data. A true “TMS 2.0” can incorporate a graphical view of shipments and active dashboards of key performance indicators (KPIs), including:
- Active shipments
- On-time arrivals/departures
- Carrier performance
- DOE fuel index
Additionally, information from the web, including weather and traffic alerts, should also be integrated with shipment data to give organizations a 360 degree view of their transportation network at all times. This “control tower” type of approach to transportation management gives shippers a singular, all-encompassing, real-time view of their supply chain. Being a cloud application, this type of TMS provides organizations with a data center application at a significantly lower cost of ownership.
It’s also important to remember that shippers that are diving into the next generation of TMS solutions can trust their 3PL provider to leverage its inherent technical and industry expertise to help leverage all of these new capabilities and data possibilities. As technology progresses, TMS providers can help deliver a next-gen experience that will take your supply chain operations to the next level and beyond. These logistics providers have the experienced personnel to support your business and keep your shipments out of that impending blizzard.
In part 2 of this two-part series, I’ll discuss the specific software, data and analytics that are an important part of a true “TMS 2.0.” Stay tuned!
Is your organization considering implementing a “TMS 2.0”?
*Note: A version of this article originally appeared in CIO Magazine.