The value and importance logistics technology provides to every transportation company is not up for debate anymore. While some businesses may be slow to adopt new forms of automation, smart forwarders understand they need technology, like a TMS, to improve their logistics operations.
What many companies (even the more progressive ones) don’t realize, however, is that a TMS is not always a complete solution on its own. Yes, a TMS performs many important tasks that ultimately lead to better shipping execution, but it only makes up one piece of a complete logistics technology stack puzzle.
To get the most out of a TMS, forwarders need the information that drives and enhances the user experience, which requires making connections outside of the system. By using a TMS as a starting point, freight forwarding companies can then tack on additional technology to create their own ideal combination of logistics applications and shipping related data sources.
Forming a Comprehensive LogTech Stack
Most forwarders focus on connecting their TMS to an external source that offers rates, capacity, and tracking information. All of these data points are now easy to integrate into modern TMS systems with pre-built API and EDI connectivity capabilities.
The reason most technology stacks take shape this way is because while a good TMS platform is a powerful tool, it’s only as good as the data available to it. A TMS can’t fix inaccurate rates or make up for gaps present within your carrier tracking information. Fortunately, these problems are exactly what specialized logistics technologies strive to solve.
Advanced freight forwarding software paired with the right TMS fills in the missing data that’s critical to freight forwarders and their shipper customers. Many believe that building off of a TMS really only gets you lower rates, selling the idea of what logistics technology can actually do short. The best integrated software solutions give a TMS (and the forwarders that count on this technology) many other advantages though, including:
- Interactive, hassle-free online booking and invoice payment options
- Real-time track and trace technology that updates users throughout the entire shipment process
- Direct front-end visibility to reliable rates across all modes
- Deeper, more accurate information enabling strategic, data-driven decision making
- Intelligent connectivity that increases workflow automation
Few forwarders can say they have no room for improvement in any of these areas despite how simple they are to attain with today’s resources.
Logistics Technology Is Easier Than You’d Think
The process of implementing new technology has developed a bad reputation for being expensive and complicated. In the past, this perception may have been true when connecting systems and sharing data was a lot more difficult. Now, modern platforms are built based on the expectation that they need to be easy to use and capable of freely communicating with other systems. There is also a far greater emphasis placed on creating a seamless user interface, so training and operating costs are much lower too.
The point is that you should be leveraging and building on fundamental technology like a TMS at the very minimum. A well-planned technology stack is not that hard to construct at a reasonable price. Forwarders that still rely on basic logistics technology are merely treading water rather than standing out from the competition.
Smart and progressive companies, however, are already well aware of the benefits that come with combining exceptional logistics technologies. Visit GAMA to learn more about how you can design the best logistics technology stack for your organization.