A key issue paper producers struggle with is the dynamic nature of order delivery and how that impacts their ability to predict their shipping requirements. These issues can make it difficult for producers to gain the benefits from their Transportation Management Systems (TMS). Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are a key component of a manufacturers Supply Chain Management software tools. TMS help companies optimize the sending and receiving of shipments by utilizing the best transportation modes and shippers available. More and more TMS solutions enable companies to have up to the minute tracking of their shipments, and analytics to help better manage their supply chain and significantly reduce costs.
Managing Change - Minimize Freight
With your customers changing their order requirements up to the last minute, coupled with paper machine production variability, it is a daily challenge to maintain shipping schedules. Add truck driver shortages and overbooked rail services to the equation, and it makes it tough to manage freight costs and on-time deliveries. Transportation Management solutions promise to help reduce freight costs, but the above problems often cause these systems to provide less than optimal benefits. As tendering processes are delayed to the last minute to reduce the number of changes that need to get communicated, the amount of freight savings can quickly dwindle. There are several steps that you can take to alleviate the effects of last-minute changes on your carriers.
- Contract Lane Volume: If you can negotiate lane agreements with your carriers, make it clear that they will receive minimum number per day/week per a set of lanes. Last minute changes have less of an effect as the carriers and drivers are still utilized.
- Develop Relations versus Price Shop: The cheapest rate is not always the best solution when you are in a bind. In today’s shipping market, a carrier’s reliability and readiness to work with you when things change are worth a lot, especially when it means getting your product to your customers on time.
- Integrated Transportation Management Solution: A TMS that is fully integrated into your load planning, manufacturing and warehousing processes help solve a 'truck load' of problems. As issues impact ship date & times, changes that are known within your MES and WMS are seamlessly communicated to both the customer and carrier. When appointments are then confirmed and the driver pick-up times are available, everyone on your team from production planning through warehouse put-away, loading and shipping, all have a clear and accurate view of product delivery. When your organization is less concerned with managing the delivery changes through dual systems and batched processes, or through emails and phone calls, it gives you the confidence that your load tendering process is efficient for both you and your carriers, which results in maximized freight savings.
Key functional areas found in many TMS solutions:
- Carrier Selection
- Load Tendering and Acceptance of Tenders
- Freight Rating & Carrier Invoicing
Additional Functionality you find:
- Carrier Web Portal to interact with smaller shippers to provide feedback
- Automated Load Plan Optimization including Less Than Truckload (LTL) Optimization
- Real-Time Shipment Status for Trucks and Rail