At the same time, many shippers also want to connect their TMS to other solutions, like a warehouse management system (WMS), so they can leverage a broader range of information. Unifying these logistics operations also means that organizations can handle exceptions further in advance, when more corrective options are possible. Looking ahead, “the prevalence of ecosystems that provide a one-stop shop” is likely to grow, Kass says. Technologies like artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and visibility will converge, he predicts. TMS solutions will converge with other technologies, such as autonomous vehicles (AVs). This should reduce the driver bottleneck and increase safety. Leveraging machine-to-machine communication between a TMS and an AV could help reduce the carbon footprint, Kass says. Eventually, it’s likely that TMS solutions also will be used to manage drone deliveries. Until recently, TMS solutions had been deployed primarily as an execution platform. While that’s still critical, companies today expect more. And, they’re finding it. “Users will look to their TMS for long-term planning and procurement, network insights, supply chain optimization, and end to end visibility,” Martin says. n
Control tower functionality and analytics within MercuryGate’s TMS enable users to identify at-risk loads and quickly take action to meet delivery requirements. That capability can help shippers make decisions when fulfilling orders or planning other activities across the full network, including within the final mile.
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the carrier networks and marketplaces to access prices in real time, Peck says. Shippers then can make more informed load-tendering decisions.
As part of this effort, the system might rework routes to minimize wait time, benefiting both drivers and the company. “A TMS can handle all sorts of business rules to help drive changes,” Peck says. Given the continued growth in e-commerce, more shippers are looking to manage last- or final-mile and parcel logistics operations from within their TMS. Providers of TMS solutions might collaborate with last-mile specialists to provide visibility and optimize transportation plans across first, middle, and last miles. Another result of the boom in e-commerce sales is increased interest in native parcel capabilities, Wilson says. These allow companies to evaluate parcel delivery options and identify ways to drive efficiencies and performance. Many companies also are working to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Increasingly, TMS solutions will allow them to assess delivery modes against the emissions generated, Wilson says. They can choose the most environmentally-minded option, while also considering costs and meeting service agreements. Dynamic price discovery (DPD) capabilities streamline the process of identifying a carrier for a specific load by providing real-time access to market rates. Rather than manually try to find the best rate, the solution reaches out to
The ways in which shippers are purchasing TMS solutions is changing as well. For instance, some shippers want just one or a few features from within a TMS, such as the ability to create three- dimensional models of loads, Peck says. Some TMS vendors separately offer components of their larger TMS solution. These often can be deployed more quickly and at lower cost.
Providers such as Trimble Transportation offer flexible TMS solutions suites that help shippers, carriers, and brokers streamline operations and grow their businesses.
54 Inbound Logistics • May 2022
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