Visibility in the supply chain is crucial to your business. Investing in the right information systems will be key to maintaining a competitive edge. Your transport management is at the core of service delivery so it needs to be up-to-date and able to integrate smoothly with other business systems.
How can transport operations benefit from the variety of data systems available?
The Transport Management System (TMS) sits at the heart of your operation giving visibility into delivery orders, vehicle & driver resources and planning & plan execution.
Whether in B2B or B2C, rising service level demands put pressure on transport planning and daily operations. Central to this is the ability to keep control of your operation in real time. Large companies and third party logistics are investing in appropriate technology but it is not beyond smaller companies to remain competitive.
Some businesses use systems to help the transport team make use of ever-increasing complexity and data availability and even to bridge a gap in skills. Whilst systems will never replace a good transport planning team, the right system will enable them to be more productive.
How can you implement systems that work in harmony?
Assessing your current system, fleet and operation will identify issues and service gaps so you can match your business with the right system functionality.
Issues with complex delivery planning involving a high volume of loads with multiple drops, tight delivery windows and short planning horizons can be overcome by linking to a planning optimiser to generate optimal routes and resource levels. Optimisers take a variety of parameters such as the road network, delivery-point restrictions and vehicle/driver constraints to generate the best plan for delivery. Route information is then fed back into the TMS. Once planning is complete, good execution is critical for service delivery and will be managed through the TMS.
As the plan progresses the TMS can access telematics systems to collect information from the delivery fleet. Beyond vehicle location, a wide range of operational data is available; including data from the vehicle CAN bus, which allows controllers and devices in modern vehicles to communicate with each other. For example, vehicle data on fuel consumption and driving style provide management with crucial information to reduce cost, while operational data about unloading times and adherence to route will identify potential areas where efficiency can be improved.
Portable devices allow data to be collected from subcontractors so that information capture is not restricted to your core fleet. You can have complete visibility of orders with real-time tracking through to proof of delivery and give management the option to intervene quickly when things don’t go to plan.
Measures of activity and key performance indicators can be produced to allow you to track and control performance, target continuous improvement and reduce operating costs.