A transportation management system is more than just a piece of software that lets you manage all of your shipments in one place.
It’s a way to streamline your logistics company.
It allows you to be more efficient, more effective, and ultimately, make your end clients happier with the services you provide.
But which system is going to be the most comprehensive – and ultimately, the one that allows you to be as lean as possible?
In order to figure this out, we need to discuss what lean methodology is in the first place.
Lean methodology and logistics
Lean thinking got its start with manufacturing, thanks to Toyota in the 1980s. It focuses on customer value as a way to improve efficiency.
Simply put, if the customer doesn’t get value from the activity, the activity needs to be minimized or eliminated.
Lean focuses on minimizing waste by ensuring the entire process, rather than specific steps, are as efficient as possible. By emphasizing overall efficiency, rather than the efficiency of a single point, it improves the customer’s value by allowing faster production times and decreasing the cost of having inventory waiting at each step of a manufacturing process.
This focus on efficiency naturally made its way to the supply chain, as there was little point in having an incredibly efficient production process if the materials weren’t making it to shelves at an equally rapid pace.
Providing the experienced, efficient service that distributors and manufacturers require is the best way to gain more customers.
Lean methodology is no longer just one option that might be considered by the businesses you’d like to acquire as customers – it’s a leading practice used by the most successful businesses out there.
And to gain their business, you need to provide service that’s just as lean as their production processes are.
That’s where the transportation management system you use comes in handy.
Gone are the days when clients want to call you up for every shipment they want to book. They want to be able to log in online, review their options, and book a shipment on their own when they need it.
The modern shipper wants an easy, efficient process where they can see for themselves what the best options are for their shipments.
They still want your expertise in selecting the carriers they work with, and they still want the rates you’re able to negotiate on their behalf.
But once that framework is established, they don’t want to have to keep calling you for shipments. That’s inefficient, and doesn’t provide the flexibility or speed they desire now.
A transportation management system like BrokerWare™ allows you to provide customer portals for your clients – giving them the option of booking their own shipments.
A lean-friendly TMS has more capabilities than simply managing shipments.
The low cost or “free” transportation management systems out there rarely offer the capability to integrate with warehouse management systems, requiring more man-hours to manage both systems.
In addition, integrations with accounting software may be nonexistent, or require purchasing add-ons that quickly make that low cost option into an expensive option.
Is it really cheaper to pay your staff to double-enter your invoices and paperwork, or would it be more effective to simply integrate your systems – and not worry about errors or time spent on administrative tasks?
Providing a lean shipping experience is about more than simply getting shipments from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s about minimizing or eliminating activities that don’t provide value to your customers.
A lean TMS allows you to improve your customer’s experience – and allows you the increased bandwidth to take on more of them without increasing your own overhead at the same time.
Request a demo of BrokerWare™ to see just how much we can help you improve the efficiency of your processes.