The advent of the cloud-based transport management system (TMS) is creating a virtual revolution within the courier industry. Now, no matter what their size, courier companies can utilise this innovative software to not only provide a better, faster and more accountable service for customers, but to also lower costs and improve their own bottom line.
Small Business, Big Service
For the most part, larger firms are already using TMS solutions, but it would also be beneficial if more small- to medium-sized enterprises integrated a TMS into their operations; this would go a long way towards creating a more level playing field. The technology allows for significant improvement in the areas of cost and customer experience and, for businesses still relying on methods like fax, spread sheets, phone and email, using these potentially outmoded administration systems can cost both time and money.
For some small- and medium-sized courier companies, a manual approach is familiar and often difficult to move away from. But with the rise of e-commerce and globalisation, it's never been more important, or easier, for smaller operations to reap the benefits of cheap (or free) cloud-based TMS solutions.
Benefits of a TMS
The benefits of using the software are manifold for small courier companies. As well as integrating easily with existing freight platforms, the technology can impact every aspect of administrative and operational systems.
Flexibility: Flexibility is greatly enhanced, with users able to change plans without fear of negative effects on the supply chain. This results in increased options for customers, allowing businesses to be more competitive when tailoring individual solutions.
Planning: With route planning facilities, delivery times can be minimised by tracking traffic conditions, and vehicle efficiency maximised by decreasing fuel consumption. These aspects, in turn, lead to greater customer satisfaction and a healthier bottom line.
Accountability: With the ability to oversee and analyse every stage of the delivery, not only can processes be monitored and improved, but accountability for any problems or human error is also increased.
In addition to the above aspects, because the software allows for simple and effective integration with existing freight platforms, users enjoy instant access to a huge carrier pool, with instant performance evaluation through analytics and reporting.
There are multiple high-quality transport management systems on the market, including some (like the first two) that are specifically targeted towards small- and medium-sized businesses.
URoute: With an easy-to-navigate interface and a monthly payment system based on usage, URoute is one of the more popular systems. Suitable for flexible, growing courier companies, it was a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) to successfully address the cost barrier and provide a hi-tech, web-based solution at an affordable price.
Freightview: With an excellent reputation in the industry, Freightview's point of difference is the high standard of customer service. Being a small enterprise themselves, these software suppliers pride themselves on their flexible approach to working with smaller businesses. Offering a free 30-day trial and compatibility for both PCs and Macs, the software is super easy to set up and extremely user-friendly.
Kuebix: Developed by pioneers of logistics innovation, Kuebix Shipper is the first free cloud-based transport management system on the market. With features that allow exceptional visibility and control, it also provides the reporting and analytics to create true "freight intelligence" in order to optimise courier companies' operations. Its ability to be fully integrated with existing freight platforms affords secure leverage of a much wider community.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,500 drivers, courier companies and transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.