Data shows that trucking moves 71 percent of all the freight in America, generating over $700 billion in revenue annually. However, many trucking businesses continue to rely on traditional methods, using spreadsheets and outdated software to manage their fleet, leading to increased operational expenses and inefficiencies.
Having said that, supply chain and logistics businesses have been leveraging Transport Management Systems (TMS) to revamp their strategies and it goes without saying that they have been extremely helpful. But with evolving customer expectations, changing government and environmental regulations, increasing risks and the alarming need to reduce costs, businesses must find ways to derive greater value from a TMS.
The question is how?
By augmenting a TMS with the capabilities of an advanced supply chain and logistics software.
With an advanced supply chain and logistics software on top of a TMS, businesses can manage fleet more efficiently. It helps reduce operational expenses and boost driver productivity. Such software with an intelligent truck dispatch system, real-time vehicle tracking, etc. can automate the tedious manual processes involved in fleet management, while positively impacting your business’ bottom line.
Are you already using a TMS?
If yes, that’s great.
According to ARC research, fleet management software, like a TMS, can help you achieve average freight savings of 7.5 percent. However, businesses can reap more benefits out of their existing TMS by adding these four key features.
Real-Time Dynamic Routing
A logistics software with dynamic routing capabilities based on real-time data can significantly reduce delivery turn-around-time. Such a software considers common disruptions to transportation operations, such as no entry-time windows, tonnage, empty miles cost, etc., before assigning a delivery route to an executive.
Real-time updates also prepare your drivers for unexpected traffic jams, and your software can throw up alternate routes to save time.
Real-Time Collaboration of Delivery Stakeholders
Imagine going through several spreadsheets before you can identify the contact number of a driver or 3PL provider you wish to contact. And, what if their mobile is out of reach?
Fragmentation of logistics stakeholders is a major problem that has been weighing down the transportation industry for decades. At times it so happens that a cosigner does not know the trucker, the consignee has no idea about the 3PL provider who will be executing the delivery and so on. This results in chaos and often incorrect information gets passed on. Hence, if you are handling a large fleet, communications between delivery stakeholders is extremely important.
An advanced logistics software on top of your TMS will give you a unified platform to connect with all delivery stakeholders in real-time. It keeps everyone abreast with the right information at the right time and thereby improves decision making and exception management by multifold.
Digitalizing of Key Delivery Processes
Maintaining log-books regarding your truck’s utilization, maintenance, and other aspects is quite tedious. Drivers often struggle to keep up with the paperwork, leading to compliance issues for your fleet. However, your TMS clubbed with an advanced logistics software can improve this situation by doing away the paperwork and introducing automated data capture.
Such software will allow your drivers to download electronic logbooks on their personal devices, making it quicker to jot down the necessary information, which is automatically updated in the system.
For instance, e-PoDs or electronic proof of deliveries can drastically improve delivery operations. Manual paper-based delivery receipts leave plenty of room for manipulation and unnecessary delays. Archiving manual receipts also become cumbersome. Therefore, by using e-PoDs businesses can increase the speed and efficiency of last-mile delivery. It reduces manual errors, eliminates paperwork, and minimizes the chances of manipulation.
Also, getting accurate customer feedback and that too quickly is important when it comes to improving delivery happiness score and it’s difficult to achieve with manual feedback processes. By digitizing customer feedback, logistics software helps retailers know what a customer feels about a particular delivery and that too in almost a real-time like environment. This, in turn, allows businesses to quickly respond to the issues a customer raised and improve resolution turnaround time.
Risk Mitigation Capabilities
According to the 2018 Semi-Annual Global Cargo Theft Intelligence and Advisory Report, 82% of theft occurs in the truck modality compared to less than 7% by rail. Besides, 66% of theft happens while cargo is in-transit and 11% while in the warehouse.
A Machine Learning-enabled TMS can ensure the safety of your cargo to a large extent by triggering alerts if your truck halts for more than a given duration at any location. In addition, it will scour through hordes of past data to intimate you about previous incidents of thefts in a particular area, so that you can plan your route better.
Managing a growing fleet of trucks poses unique challenges for fleet owners. Fortunately, fleet management is easier than ever before if you pick the right TMS and add some of the unique capabilities of an advanced logistics and supply chain software.