12 challenges of transportation companies and how to overcome them by implementing custom TMS software
Transport and logistics companies operate in a dynamic and demanding environment, facing numerous challenges that affect their efficiency and profitability. From complex transportation and logistics management to regulatory compliance requirements, to often suboptimal processes and solutions. All of this is in times of ever-increasing fuel prices and a shortage of qualified drivers. However, a custom transportation management system, designed specifically for the needs of a given company, helps to deal with most problems and streamline operations.
The challenges that transport companies face
Time-consuming management of orders and document processing adversely impacts the efficiency and profits of the entire company, and results in suboptimal utilization of the working time of dispatchers and drivers.
Empty transports are associated with fuel losses, driver working time, and unnecessary vehicle wear and tear.
Suboptimal routes, with no consideration for traffic density, have the same consequences as the above point.
Wrongly estimated transit times. Failure to arrive on time with a load, or for loading, causes customer dissatisfaction. It can also lead to further delays when the driver has to wait for their turn at the ramp.
Lack of tracking capabilities for cargo or shipments can lead to customer dissatisfaction and operational inefficiencies.
Lack of continuous monitoring of drivers and vehicles also leads to operational imperfections.
Difficulty in accurately assessing the work of each driver. Without reporting driver actions, both automatic and driver-initiated, much information is lost irretrievably, and it is impossible to evaluate the driver’s work progress.
Suboptimal work with paper documents and spreadsheets. Manually entering data and relying on paper-based processes leads to errors and delays, resulting in financial losses and customer dissatisfaction.
Ineffective communication and collaboration. Efficient communication and collaboration are crucial to the smooth functioning of transport operations. The lack of adequate channels and tools can lead to communication errors, delays, and difficulties in coordinating between different stakeholders, such as drivers, dispatchers, and customers.
Compliance requirements. Transport companies must adhere to various regulations and standards related to safety, driver working hours, customs and tax requirements, and industry-specific guidelines. Ensuring compliance manually can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
Complex logistics management. Transport companies deal with complex logistics networks that involve multiple modes of transport, routes, and destinations. Coordinating these operations manually can lead to imperfections, delays, and errors.
Existing, off-the-shelf, or rented applications that are not well adapted to the company’s work specificity result in suboptimal, inconvenient work and the need to supplement software deficiencies by creating processes and applications.
The solutions provided by bespoke transportation management software — possible application functionalities
Individually designed transport management software plays a crucial role in addressing transport companies’ challenges. It provides tailored solutions to specific business needs, allowing for streamlining of operations and improved efficiency.
Order and document management become much faster in a convenient online dispatcher administrative panel. They can also be automated when the vehicle’s geographic location is known: declared by the driver or current, obtained from the GPS of the device on which the driver’s mobile application operates.
Reducing the number of empty runs can be solved by combining transport orders into one route, both manually and automatically. Grouping loads within one route can be based on the starting and ending points of the route, the date, as well as the weight and volume of the cargo and the capacity of the vehicle. The obtained value can be approved by the dispatcher.
Route optimization. We obtain the route from external services such as Google, in the driver’s mobile application and in the dispatcher’s administrative panel.
The estimated travel time is obtained as described above, considering the traffic flow. The Google navigation on a driver’s phone always shows the current estimate of the arrival time at the destination.
Freight tracking is made possible through a driver’s mobile app that periodically sends the GPS position of the device over a set distance and time. The geographic positions of all vehicles, along with their statuses, are visible on a collective map in the dispatcher’s panel and an individual map in the order details. Therefore, you can track shipments easily.
Continuous monitoring of drivers and vehicles is possible thanks to the solution described in the above section.
The work of each driver is evaluated by a predetermined algorithm, based on its availability and actions within the driver’s mobile application. It is then visible in the dispatcher panel on the driver’s details, or a separate summary or report.
Working on paper documents and spreadsheets comes to an end with the implementation of a dedicated TMS. Say goodbye to clutter, chaos, delays, and frustration and hello to order, clear and up-to-date data, smooth workflow, and peace of mind.
Communication between the dispatcher and driver is instantaneous, thanks to the chat, push notifications, and one-click calling features provided by the mobile app. The driver can update the order status, report a breakdown or delay, and the dispatcher can immediately see it on their panel. The entire communication history is available. The customer has their web panel and can also see in real-time where their load is when it will be delivered, the order status, how it was handled, and photos. This increases transparency and improves operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. The transportation management systems offer dispute management capabilities, claims management.
Regulations are easier to comply with through monitoring drivers’ working hours, crossing borders, and efficient document circulation – such as consignment notes – with the ability to print them in the vehicle. Additionally, safety checklists and report generation capabilities allow transport companies to effectively meet legal requirements and reduce associated risks while servicing the whole continent.
Complex logistics management. Integrating carrier transport applications with logistics applications is possible. So is creating a solution that encompasses various means of transportation. A tailor-made application automates and centralizes various logistics processes, such as order management, loading and shipping planning. This streamlines operations, reduces errors and improves overall efficiency.
The custom application is individually designed according to the specifics of the company’s work, leading to optimal and comfortable work. Overall, a custom transport management system allows businesses to more efficiently meet the challenges of running their business. It saves time and resources by automating logistics processes, reduces risks associated with non-compliance.
Custom transportation management systems – the benefits
The implementation of individually designed transport software offers many benefits to transport companies, including:
Improving operational efficiency. Streamlining processes, automating tasks, and enhancing communication lead to increased operational efficiency and reduce costs.
Cost and Resource Optimization. Optimized routes, better resource utilization, and reduced effort for dispatchers and drivers result in time, money, and resource savings for a transport company. The shipping process is optimized.
Keeping customers satisfied. Current visibility, accurate information, and effective communication contribute to improving customer satisfaction and increasing loyalty.
Better decision-making and planning. Access to current data and advanced analytics enables informed decision-making, leading to better transport planning and resource allocation.
Transport management systems: managing transportation in a modern way
Transportation management software is critical in today’s world, allowing the transportation industry efficient management of transportation. The functionalities of transport applications become crucial for companies that want to remain competitive. Let’s take a closer look at the main aspects of such software and its benefits for transport companies.
A transportation management system offers many key features that facilitate process management in transportation. Thanks to mobile applications, users can use the software anywhere and at any time, speeding up order monitoring.
With bespoke software, companies can save time and optimize transportation costs. It also ensures easy communication between drivers and dispatchers, as well as customers and the transport company. Mobile applications for drivers are an integral part of modern software.
New software possibilities for transportation companies
Integration of systems
Modern software for transportation companies offers the possibility of integrating with other systems, such as financial and warehousing systems. Integration of these systems enables smooth information flow and process automation, increasing the efficiency and precision of operations.
Reporting and data analysis
The software makes generating reports and analyzing data easier. This enables companies to track key indicators and monitor the effectiveness of their operations. Reports allow for informed business decision-making and identification of areas for improvement.
Route planning and order management
Modern TMS software enables more efficient route planning and order management. Its functionalities include automatic task assignment and change notification. This allows companies to optimize their time and resources, increasing operational efficiency.
Communication with clients and contractors
Transport software enables better communication with customers and contractors. Thanks to a customer panel, mobile applications, and notifications, companies can maintain constant contact with customers and keep them informed about the progress of their orders. Customers have access to detailed information about their orders and invoices. Invoices can be issued automatically or manually. Displaying transactions through a convenient panel is also not difficult.
Security and monitoring
The software also provides for fleet management, security, and monitoring. By automating GPS position reports and monitoring driver working hours, companies can track vehicle location in real-time, monitor driver time and improve road safety.
Driver’s mobile application
Mobile applications for drivers are an essential element of modern TMS. The mobile app provides quick access to current orders. Valuable data concerning orders and tasks to be performed are easily accessible on the phone or tablet. The driver changes the order status, enters loading and unloading parameters, and takes pictures. Guided like a pro, they perform all tasks. They have access to document previews and notifications about breakdowns and delays with one click. All in one place.
The application works offline, allowing users to enter data from anywhere, which will also be sent after obtaining coverage.
Application users receive push notifications. Notifications may concern a new message from the dispatcher, a change in order status, added documents or other matters. Having the app provides access to important transportation data in the system. Thanks to the app, real-time tracking of shipment progress is easy.
Work without spreadsheets
If your company works with spreadsheets and paper documents, introducing a custom application will make you forget about them.
A significant aspect of software for transport companies is the transmission of documents. Documents are transmitted electronically between various entities in the transportation process. This enables a transport company to effectively manage documentation and maintain transparency in its operations. Waybills can be printed in the vehicle as well as scanned and sent to the dispatcher panel.
Developing and expanding the supply chain requires visibility across all ecosystems. Transportation management products are designed to drill into the various operations associated with transportation operations and to create easily accessible charts and graphs. It will be helpful to plan the right inventory and match the best shipping companies to your shipment. This feature provides management with a means to track vital metrics for efficiency and avoid potential problems. Visible freight data can expose discrepancies and their origins, so your team can fix them before they cause a costly financial loss.
How does freight forwarding software work?
Freight forwarding management software provides a list of available shipping companies to assist in determining the cost-efficient transport of your goods or materials. It streamlines supply chain operations and logistics operations. It also provides the ability to track your shipment from the warehouse to customers and pays you for shipping services from your company. If you own your fleet, fleet management software may assist you in managing your fleet. Transportation management solutions and applications are also possible with warehouse management systems and e-business software.
The estimated growth of TMS solutions
As supply chain expansion grows, TMS systems will grow. The report by Research and Markets estimates that the global market for TMS solutions will be valued at $21 billion by 2026.
Considerations regarding the implementation of a transportation management system
When implementing custom software, transport companies should consider the following issues:
Needs assessment and gathering requirements. Conducting a thorough analysis of business needs and requirements to ensure that the software aligns with specific goals and processes.
Development and customization. Collaborating with an experienced software development company to create a personalized transportation management solution that addresses the unique challenges facing the transportation enterprise.
Integration with existing systems. Ensuring software integration with other systems such as warehouse management systems, enterprise resource planning software, accounting systems, and GPS tracking tools (although the mobile application that is part of the solution also provides such functionality).
Staff training and support. Providing sufficient training for employees on how to use the new software and providing technical support after implementation.
The use of dedicated transport software can help transport companies deal with many of the challenges they face.
By streamlining logistics operations, communication, data visibility, and compliance, this software contributes to increased efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, and financial savings for the transport company.
Transport software has become indispensable in the logistics industry. Sending documents, managing transport supply chains, and monitoring orders become more efficient with the use of modern mobile applications and software functionalities.
For transport companies, using software becomes a key element in achieving success and increasing competitiveness in the market.