What is the Difference Between TMS (Transport Management System) and FFS (Freight Forwarding Software)?

Explore the key differences between Transport Management System (TMS) and Freight Forwarding Software (FFS), their features, benefits, and top software options.

In the complex world of logistics and shipping, efficient management tools are essential for smooth operations. Two critical types of software that help streamline these processes are Transport Management Systems (TMS) and Freight Forwarding Software (FFS). While both are designed to aid in the transportation of goods, they serve distinct purposes and offer different features. This post will delve into the differences between TMS and FFS, highlight the best Transport Management Systems and top Freight Forwarding Software, and explain why TMS is vital for logistics and FFS is crucial for shipping companies.

Understanding TMS (Transport Management System)

A Transport Management System (TMS) is software designed to manage the logistics of transporting goods from one location to another. It is an integral part of supply chain management and primarily focuses on transportation operations. TMS for logistics offers several key features:

  • Route optimization: Automatically finds the most efficient route for deliveries.
  • Carrier management: Manages relationships with multiple shipping carriers.
  • Load optimization: Ensures that vehicles are fully utilized in terms of space and weight.
  • Freight audit and payment: Streamlines the invoicing and payment process for transport services.
  • Tracking and visibility: Provides real-time data on the location and status of shipments.

Exploring FFS (Freight Forwarding Software)

Freight Forwarding Software (FFS), on the other hand, is tailored for companies that arrange shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer, or final point of distribution. FFS for shipping companies includes several benefits:

  • Documentation management: Handles all necessary shipping and customs documentation.
  • Booking and inventory management: Manages bookings and keeps track of inventory levels.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM): Integrates CRM features to maintain and improve customer interactions.
  • Shipping schedule coordination: Coordinates times and schedules for shipping across multiple carriers.
  • Cost estimation and freight consolidation: Provides tools for estimating shipping costs and consolidating freight to reduce expenses.

Key Differences Between TMS and FFS

The primary difference between TMS and FFS lies in their core functionalities and target users. TMS is generally used by companies that have significant logistics and transportation needs to manage and optimize their own fleets and shipments. In contrast, FFS is used by freight forwarders who act as intermediaries between companies that want to ship goods and the transportation services that execute the shipments.

Choosing the Best Software

When looking for the best Transport Management Systems and top Freight Forwarding Software, it is important to consider specific needs such as the size of the company, the volume of goods shipped, and specific features required for your operations. Some of the leading TMS providers include SAP, Oracle, and JDA Software, which offer comprehensive solutions that integrate easily with other enterprise software. For FFS, software like Flexport and Freightview are popular among users for their user-friendly interfaces and extensive features.


Choosing the right software depends largely on the specific needs of your business. If you handle all or most of your logistics and transportation management in-house, a robust TMS might be the best choice. However, if your company primarily focuses on coordinating and facilitating shipments without directly handling the transport, then FFS would likely serve you better. Both systems play crucial roles in modern logistics and selecting the right one can significantly enhance efficiency and reduce operational costs.


Q1: Can TMS and FFS be integrated?

A1: Yes, many businesses integrate their TMS and FFS to leverage the strengths of both systems, ensuring more comprehensive management of their shipments and logistics.

Q2: Are there cloud-based TMS and FFS solutions?

A2: Yes, cloud-based solutions are available for both TMS and FFS, offering scalability, remote access, and reduced IT overhead.

Q3: What is the impact of using TMS or FFS on cost reduction?

A3: Both systems can significantly reduce costs by optimizing routes, managing carrier relationships, and consolidating shipments to achieve more competitive freight rates.

By understanding the functionalities and benefits of both TMS and FFS, companies can make more informed decisions to streamline their logistics and shipping processes.