A transport management system (TMS) is a tool to improve work in transport and forwarding. What are the advantages of implementing a TMS program? What should you pay attention to when choosing a TMS for your company?
What is a TMS program?
The Transport Management System, or TMS for short, is a system for planning, monitoring transport events, billing and managing means of transport. The TMS allows you to organise and simplify your work and to optimise the time required for each task. All information about vehicles, loads, drivers and customers is stored in one program.
Although the name TMS indicates a transport management system, it is also used in freight forwarding. Forwarders can quickly create orders, streamline the flow of documentation, manage loads, and analyse the costs and profitability of the fleet.
Key features of the TMS program include:
- transport planning,
- fleet cost analysis and report generation,
- automatic creation and processing of orders,
- vehicle monitoring (using GPS systems),
- monitoring the execution of orders,
- controlling company costs,
- control of payment deadlines,
- detection of risks (e.g. late loading),
- integration with ICT programs (e.g. freight exchange).
Who is the TMS designed for?
The TMS has a number of functionalities that companies in the industry can benefit from:
- distribution and trade.
The TMS can be applied to any company that owns and manages a fleet of vehicles. The size of the company does not matter, as the TMS is a tool for small and medium-sized companies as well as large corporations.
What problems does the TMS solve?
Transport management is complex and time-consuming. On a daily basis companies in the TSL industry have to deal with such problems as: empty runs, multiple orders at the same time, high risk of employee error and a highly competitive market.
Implementation of a TMS system enables optimisation of company costs, reduction of empty kilometres, acceleration and automation of the work of hauliers and forwarders. Communication between employees and company departments becomes transparent, as everyone uses the same program. The automation of processes reduces the number of mistakes made by employees.
What advantage does a TMS give a company?
The functions of the transport and forwarding management system allow the above-mentioned problems of the TSL industry to be solved and have a positive impact on such aspects as prompt completion of executed orders,
- optimisation of loading space,
- reduction of empty runs,
- calculation and determination of cost-effective routes,
- eliminating staff errors,
- access to real-time data.
The use of modern technologies increases competitiveness in the market, where effectiveness, speed and quality of order execution count. A transport or forwarding company that uses the potential of the TMS executes its orders more efficiently, more reliably and more cost-effectively. Thanks to process automation, it is possible to eliminate employee errors, increase work efficiency and the quality of provided services.
Read our article ‘Why Excel cannot replace a TMS’ and see why you should replace your spreadsheets with a dedicated TMS.
What should you look for when choosing a TMS?
When deciding on the implementation of a TMS in your company, it is worth paying attention to several aspects that may influence the choice of a provider.
1. TMS – desktop or cloud?
A desktop TMS is installed locally, on the user’s computer. Advantages include user control over updates and backups. However, it should be remembered that the user is then responsible for data security. In the second option, data is stored in the cloud and is accessible via an internet connection. An online TMS does not require installation and data is updated in real time and available 24/7, from any device.
2. TMS – paid licence or subscription scheme?
When choosing a TMS, you must decide between two options: a paid licence and a subscription system. A paid licence involves a one-time fee, which is often compounded by additional costs (e.g. employee training, technical support, installation and system update costs). A subscription system allows you to pay for a specific period of time, giving you the opportunity to try out the programme (free trial period) and cancel at any time.
3. Data security in a TMS online
Storing data in the cloud is an increasingly popular solution, therefore a TMS system should meet specific security standards. Important information about security includes, among others: resistance to failure, use of SSL encrypted protocol, location of servers, data protection methods (their storage, transmission and processing).
4. TMS – integration with external systems
Integration with external systems allows automation of the entire enterprise, including streamlining communication and document flow (e.g. integration with GPS telematics providers and accounting programs).
5. Dedicated functions in the TMS
The possibility to extend the system with additional functionalities is an important aspect when choosing a TMS. It is worth finding out what are the basic and extended functions of the program, and whether it is possible to implement individual solutions.
fireTMS – a comprehensive programme for transport and forwarding
Switching from paper to digital documentation is an investment. Therefore, choosing the right software for transport and forwarding is important for the future of your business.
fireTMS is a professional software for transport and forwarding, which allows automating processes connected with transport execution and effective and efficient fleet management. Its intuitive interface and advanced fireTMS functions allow the acceleration of work and eliminate mistakes made by employees.
Implementing fireTMS software in your business offers many benefits for transport, shipping and accounting, including:
- transport planning,
- execution and monitoring of transport orders,
- route planning for lorries,
- monitoring of fleet costs,
- automatic generation of invoices,
- recovery and control of payment deadlines,
- monitoring of vehicles using GPS systems,
- integration with other IT systems via API,
- the mobile applications fireTMS Driver and fireTMS Dispo.
fireTMS Driver – mobile application for the driver
The fireTMS Driver mobile application enables efficient communication between the driver and the dispatcher and facilitates the control of orders. The application enables quick exchange of information, transfer of documents to the accounting department and current monitoring of transport.
Key benefits of the fireTMS Driver application include:
- sending orders to the driver’s phone,
- chat with the driver,
- navigation for lorries,
- online and offline access to maps,
- the possibility of forwarding documents,
- GPS location system,
- the possibility to check the status of an order.
fireTMS Dispo – mobile application for shippers and dispatchers
fireTMS Dispo is an application dedicated to freight forwarders and dispatchers that allows them to check the status of a transport order and cargo. From the application, the user can control the execution of transports, monitor vehicles and quickly establish contact with the driver.
The key benefits of Dispo’s fireTMS application are:
- 24/7 access,
- control of the status of transport operations,
- cargo information,
- supervision of drivers’ work,
- chat with the driver,
- reporting of results,
- route monitoring.
Implementing a TMS programme integrates activities within the company, automates processes and optimises working time. TMS will prove useful for transport and forwarding companies of all sizes.
Digitisation in freight forwarding, transport and logistics is inevitable. Excel files cannot compete with a comprehensive transport management tool. Moving to digital documentation allows you to streamline the work of all departments of your company and improve the quality of your services.
You can test the fireTMS comprehensive transport and forwarding management system free of charge for 14 days. If you would like to learn more about fireTMS functionality, please contact us.