freight management softwareNearly 12 million trucks, rail cars, locomotives, and vessels move goods over the transportation network. Trucks carry the largest share of freight by value, tons, and ton-miles for shipments moving 750 or fewer miles. Rail, on the other hand, is the dominant mode by tons and ton-miles for shipments moved from 750 to 2,000 miles. What these vessels have in common is that many use freight management software to help them organize and maintain their transportation schedules. But before you invest in a transportation management system, it’s important to know how to find one that fits your needs. Here are just a few essential questions to ask before choosing a freight broker software provider.

Is the TMS system compatible with other systems?
If you already have existing software or TMS system in place and are looking to supplement it with an additional program, this should be one of the first questions you ask. This is also true if you have an existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, as you’ll want to make the you can integrate the multiple systems seamlessly. And if you plan on investing in additional software in the future, you’ll want to accommodate for that compatibility as well.

What are the TMS system’s billing capabilities?
By now it should be clear that not all TMS systems are created equally, and billing capabilities can say a lot about the overall quality of any given system. Simply put, the freight management software you choose needs to be able to handle all of the different ways you bill your clients. Otherwise, you won’t be able to convert you billing process entirely to automatic, which is much more efficient. You’ll be stuck processing billing manually. Always make sure that your TMS system supports any and all billing functions you need.

What is the actual cost of the system?
Finally, it’s important to make sure you understand the full cost of the system. It’s a good idea to get this information in the form of line by line pricing, because between installation, training, notifications, and reports, the cost may be 25% to 30% more than you expected. Make sure to consider the long-term costs as well, including potential software upgrades and/or technical support.

U.S. e-commerce revenue is about $423.3 billion and is steadily climbing. Whether it’s full truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL), or parcel, carriers are being forced to adjust to changes in the retail industry. Understanding how to choose a freight management software based on your individual needs is the key to optimizing your operations.

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