Top TMS Features for Carriers and Shippers

The transportation management systems market is growing, from $10.53 billion in 2023 to an expected $12.01 billion in 2024. This growth correlates with the globalization of supply chains, unprecedented e-commerce demand, and a greater need for efficiency. 

A TMS helps shippers and carriers adapt to changes in their industry and remain competitive. This article explores key TMS features that streamline the transportation process.

Why You Need a Transportation Management System (TMS)

At its core, a TMS simplifies the challenges of transporting goods from one location to another. It offers many benefits that enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the visibility into your business.

By leveraging a TMS, businesses can gain advantages, such as:

  • Cost savings through optimized route planning and dispatching
  • Reduce shipping and transportation costs
  • Enhanced customer service with better delivery reliability
  • Increased transparency throughout the transportation process

TMS Features for Carriers

Let’s examine features to look for in a TMS for carriers and how they can improve a carrier’s daily operations.

Carrier Dispatch

Carrier dispatch within a Transportation Management System is a game-changer for fleet operations. It helps to streamline the entire dispatch process to maximize efficiency and profitability. It has been reported that This feature caters to a variety of dispatching needs, including:

  • Truckload (TL)
  • Less than truckload (LTL)
  • Brokerage
  • Intermodal and multimodal operations

Trucks are paired with the most profitable loads through automatic load matching to reduce empty miles and improve fleet use.

Route optimization allows dispatchers to plot the most cost-effective routes, minimizing transit times and operational costs. Carrier dispatch also offers real-time visibility, tracking vehicle locations, status, and estimated arrival times. This transparency enables proactive decision-making and elevates customer service.

Carrier Accounting

Carrier accounting is a financial solution that streamlines profitability. This approach integrates accounting into the TMS, ensuring GAAP compliance, financial accuracy, and simplifying audits. The data flow between accounting, dispatching, and fleet management improves efficiency and decision-making.

Built-in carrier accounting improves payroll by offering control and transparency across the company. It gives carriers insights into financial performance and the ability to analyze profits by the mile and calculate driver settlements. A TMS also supports electronic processing of bills of lading and per diem bills, along with instant invoice delivery to customers.

Carrier Fleet Management

Carrier fleet management transforms the efficiency and profitability of trucking operations. It reduces manual processes and delivers real-time insights into vehicle and driver performance, improving regulatory compliance across your fleet.

Key TMS features of carrier fleet management include automated reminders for compliance and truck maintenance. A TMS also simplifies the organization of documents, equipment, and work orders. It also optimizes scheduling, freeing up more time for managers to focus on strategic tasks.

Mobile Application

A mobile application offers flexibility and control over operations from a mobile device. This tool enables managers and dispatchers from their smartphones to:

  • Dispatch loads
  • Track assets
  • Communicate with drivers in real-time
  • Receive photos of documents and send them electronically

A mobile application simplifies dispatching and enhances driver communication by enabling the transmission of load information and documents. This level of accessibility boosts efficiency and empowers teams with agility that wasn’t attainable before.

Carrier Reporting and Analytics

Carrier reporting and analytics can transform data into a goldmine of trucking insights that enable smarter, data-driven decision-making. A TMS offers analysis such as load, driver, and customer profitability assessments, along with real-time visibility into safety, compliance, and financial performance.

The power of carrier reporting and analytics lies in its ability to provide actionable intelligence. Carriers can track progress toward goals, ensure compliance, and create strategies based on solid data. With TMS features designed for seamless integration, carriers can see a complete view of their operations. 

TMS Features for Shippers

Shippers play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth transit of goods. This section delves into the specialized features to look for in a TMS designed for shippers. 

Route Optimization

Route optimization can transform the complexity of multi-stop logistics into streamlined, cost-effective operations. Shippers can greatly benefit from using a TMS to consolidate shipments and plan the most efficient paths. 

With a TMS, shippers can maximize truck capacity and reduce the number of trucks on the road, which results in more timely deliveries, happier customers, and better use of resources. Adapting to real-time changes also means shippers can keep deliveries running smoothly, even when surprises arise.

Dock and Yard Management

Dock and yard management in a Transportation Management System turns messy logistics into orderly operations. It helps shippers improve dock usage and keeps trucks and trailers moving smoothly in and out of shipping areas. 

Shippers can schedule more effectively by managing appointment times and truck arrival and departure times. Seeing dock and yard activities in real time helps solve slowdowns and troubleshoot staffing issues. 

Shipping Fleet Management

Shipping fleet management features can streamline the complex web of freight network management, helping shippers:

  • Achieve peak fuel efficiency
  • Track every truck in real time
  • Access to AI-powered insights for strategic decision-making
  • Optimize dispatching for timely deliveries

With proactive vehicle maintenance scheduling to prevent downtime, a TMS can help with regulatory compliance, safety, and driver engagement.

A shipping fleet management feature can streamline invoicing and improve cash flow and financial management. This feature allows shippers to enjoy reduced costs and enhanced control over their transportation network. 

Freight Audit and Pay

A freight audit and pay feature streamlines the complex process of freight settlement. It can automate the reconciliation of carrier invoices, take contracted rates, ensure accurate payments, and reduce administrative overhead. The freight audit and pay features can also be customizable, and they provide granular control over costs through detailed coding and tolerance setting.

Another great part of freight audit and pay is the analytics option. As a shipper, you can gain insights into transportation spend. This information can then help to optimize cost across the business.

And to help with any tedious tasks, shippers can put automation in place and focus on more important tasks.

Shipper Reporting and Analytics

Shipper reporting and analytics give shippers insights that can aid with making the right decision. A TMS includes fully customizable dashboards that help shippers drill into data. Integrations with business intelligence tools further enhance the ability to use analytics to improve and measure performance.

Shippers have the option to run detailed reports on carrier performance and location analysis and can customize reports to include specific key performance indicators (KPIs).

PCS TMS for Shippers and Carriers: Your Best Choice for TMS Features

With carriers’ and shippers’ operational costs increasing, more companies are turning to technology to help with optimization. The growth of the Transportation Management System market highlights how this technology plays a crucial role in streamlining operations, improving efficiency, and cutting costs.

Features to look for in a TMS should be considered from day one, as you may end up with a system for both shippers and carriers. PCS provides a single system that can cater to both carriers and shippers. It handles dispatching, accounting, and fleet management for carriers — and route optimization, dock and yard management, and fleet management for shippers. 

If you want to learn more, visit the PCS blog or book a demo to see how PCS can help.