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What is a Transportation Management System?

When you hear the phrase transportation management system (TMS), your first thought might be of a tool that trucking companies and shipping companies use to plan their routes and deliveries. This isn’t wrong, but there’s more to it than that! In fact, transportation management systems can manage all sorts of vehicle fleets, not just trucks.

In short, they are the software that allows companies to manage their transport and specialist logistics operations more efficiently and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. It’s hard to ignore the role of a  transportation management system. A great TMS can help reduce costs and increase efficiency, but it can also be a powerful tool in maintaining compliance with government regulations and consumer expectations. Here are the basics of a transportation management system and why it’s important for your business.

Introduction to TMS

A transportation management system (TMS) functions as an information portal connecting carriers and shippers, making it easier to plan shipments and develop long-term supply chain strategies. A TMS like specialist logistics swire shipping also serves as a tracking tool that allows all participants in a supply chain to know exactly where their shipments are at any given time.

It is a logistics platform that uses software to help plan, execute, and optimize the physical movement of items. This includes both incoming and outgoing items. The platform also ensures shipments are compliant and proper documentation is generated.

Who Needs TMS?

If you handle physical items, you will likely need a TMS. Some of the actors in supply chain management who need TMS include:

1. Manufacturers:

 Manufacturers benefit from TMS because they need transparency on inventory and labor; TMS can help them monitor these metrics. TMS providers offer different monitoring solutions based on whether manufacturers use tools like lean or lean-six sigma techniques.

If they use these tools, they get mostly real-time data updates and metrics that can help them visualize process improvements. These systems also provide immediate updates to digital supply chain planning tools so companies can adjust plans in real-time to be more efficient.

2. Distributors:

Distributors benefit from TMS because they need to monitor shipments and inventory and their drivers’ routes and deliveries. TMS providers offer solutions that help distributors track their drivers’ routes and provide real-time updates on any delays or detours to ensure customers get their products on time. These systems also provide visibility into inventory levels at each of their warehouses, which helps them avoid running out of stock or overstocking items.

3. Retailers:

Retailers can benefit from TMS because they need to manage their supply chains with end-to-end visibility and cost control. TMS providers offer solutions that provide retailers with real-time updates on shipments, which helps them avoid out-of-stock situations and quickly restock items when necessary. These systems also provide real-time updates on inventory levels at each of their warehouses, so they can make adjustments in case of shortages or surplus stock.

4. E-commerce Companies:

Companies that sell products online need to be able to control their supply chains and monitor shipments, inventory, and costs. TMS providers offer solutions that help eCommerce companies monitor all of these metrics and keep tabs on how they affect profitability in real-time.

These systems also provide real-time updates on freight carriers’ rates so they can take advantage of lower rates when available. This helps them keep shipping costs down without sacrificing service levels or quality.

5. Third-Party Logistics (3PL ) Companies:

Third-party logistics providers need to monitor shipments, inventory, costs, and drivers’ routes in real-time to provide their customers with end-to-end visibility into operations. TMS providers offer solutions that help 3PLs do just that.

What are the Benefits of TMS?

Some of the benefits of deploying specialist logistics swire shipping include:

  1. Reduced freight expenses  by managing demand
  2. Improved customer service by streamlining delivery processes
  3. Increased supply chain visibility by providing real-time access to shipping data
  4. Improved inventory control by making sure products are shipped to customers on time
  5. Increased employees’ productivity by enabling them to use their time more efficiently and effectively within their organization’s supply chain network.

What are the Features of a TMS?

  1. Order management – To handle all order-related details
  2. Ship rate management- For seamless calculation of shipping rates  factoring in the distance, nature of the load, weight, volume, etc
  3. Load planning-  To enable plan for loading space on containers, trucks, and trailers
  4. Fleet management – For managing logistics assets, including drivers and  vehicles
  5. Dock scheduling – For managing more efficient warehouse dock operations
  6. Route analysis- To solve and schedule routing problems
  7. Tracking, tracing, and event management-  See what’s happening in real-time
  8. Business intelligence and analytics-  For enabling data-driven business decisions


A transport management system is a crucial logistics tool that can make your business more profitable while delivering optimal customer satisfaction. If your business handles physical items, it is imperative to partner with a platform provider like specialist logistics Swire shipping for sustained business growth.



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