TMS Best Practices: Your Strategy For Modern Technology

The modern era of logistics is being facilitated largely by technology. E-commerce is growing steadily year by year which means more shipping, and more variety in shipment size.

Manufacturing, retail, and shipping in general are becoming more competitive, and the supply chain is the main battleground. This all leads to added complexity that must be addressed with automation and modern data connectivity, especially from a TMS standpoint.

There are few systems that benefit more from connectivity, real-time information, and normalized data than a TMS. Users rely on the information they get from their TMS to make informed supply chain decisions. Faster and more accurate data can have a massive financial impact over the course of a year. Every TMS should have a strategy in place to ensure they are receiving the best connectivity and data possible through API connectivity.

With that in mind, here are some best practices:

Utilize Modern Connectivity

API technology is facilitating the modern era of logistics. APIs are incredibly versatile—they serve as the connective tissue between different systems or pieces of technology. In the case of logistics, they can connect a TMS with shippers, carriers, 3PLs, and just about any other technology system that houses relevant data.

While API networks have been adopted by other large industries, logistics did not have a viable API network before project44. The rate of change has been experiencing a tailwind however, as the competitive advantage enabled by logistics API networks has created a sense of urgency.

With APIs in place, a whole new world of possibilities opens up within logistics technology.

Analytics and business intelligence

Thanks to modern data capabilities, supply chain visibility now extends well beyond just tracking shipments.

Your TMS should provide you with standardized, high-quality data that you can use to glean business insights—like your percentage of on-time deliveries, level of carrier compliance, and where your most frequent extra costs occur—and increase efficiency across your entire organization.

That means avoiding TMS providers who are overly reliant on data feeds from FTP files, database uploads, email data, or EDI, as they do not update in real-time, have no method to standardize data, rely on human interaction, and are far more prone to inaccuracy. Without high-quality data, analytics won’t produce accurate or actionable results.

By leveraging a TMS with API connections to real-time high-fidelity visibility data, you can take advantage of advanced analytics and gain business intelligence that can lead to significant cost and time savings.

Breadth and depth of network

TMS users want data from their preferred carriers. Importing data from these carriers relies on the network of your technology partners. A larger network means faster onboarding time as well as consistent data quality.

Leveraging a one-to-many integration point also significantly reduces your need to do “one-off” integrations which are costly and timely—you integrate once, and your technology partner handles further carrier integrations.

Maintaining carriers after you’ve integrated them is costly and requires significant overhead from your development team, as well as substantial communications with carriers—leveraging the network of a technology partner means that your team doesn’t have to do any of that, and can focus other tasks.

Low-cost, simple Implementation

The rate at which the market is changing is creating urgency among shippers and manufacturers (and by proxy, their TMS providers) to implement the latest technology. That means TMS’ should look for partners who can provide fast, simple (usually cloud-based) API integrations without sacrificing quality.

This is best done through a one-to-many connection, where the TMS provider only needs to integrate once with a SaaS platform through APIs, and that SaaS provider handles all the integrations with carriers, additional modes, and anything else that might need to be added. The result is unparalleled speed to market and agility.

What does an integration with an advanced visibility provider do for TMS platforms?

When reviewing TMS vendors, users are looking at functionality, performance, speed to value, scalability, and vendor experience. Users also have increasing demands regarding real-time transportation visibility.

project44’s model improves each of those areas within a given TMS – while also delivering a significant cost reduction and speed.

  • Through API connection, project44 feeds TMS’ with better and more real-time data to and from carriers, allowing customers to make smarter decisions.
  • A one-to-many implementation model allows all parties to move faster with onboarding queues dropping from months or even years to under four weeks.
  • Dedication to native integrations, resulting in reduced costs for TMS’, faster customer onboarding time, and an optimized user experience.

Industry leaders — such as SAP, JDA, Oracle, MercuryGate, McLeod, 3Gtms, Cloud Logistics, and more — have partnered with project44 to provide their customers with the highest-quality of data in real-time, all through the systems you rely on every day.

Learn more about project44’s TMS and ERP partners.