Transportation Management - FAQ

TMS & Visibility

2023 Global Transportation Management Benchmark Report

Descartes conducts annual benchmark research among global transportation professionals. The 2023 study reveals that higher (fuel) costs and a shortage of drivers pose challenges, while investments in visibility present opportunities.

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TMS and Visibility

Does a TMS provide full visibility on all my shipments?

A TMS should provide full visibility into all of your shipments. It needs to be properly integrated with your other systems (ERP) and carriers. By integrating with forwarders, carriers and other data sources a TMS can provide real-time information on the status of your shipments, including tracking information, delivery times, and any potential delays or issues.
A TMS should also provide visibility into the overall performance of your transportation operations, allowing you to analyze trends and identify areas for improvement. This can help you to make data-driven decisions about carriers, routes, and modes of transportation, and optimize your transportation processes to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

A complete TMS should natively cover; all forwarder/carrier communication (incl bookings, status events and invoicing) and give details on:

• Real-Time Tracking
• Status updates
• Collaboration and Communication
• Analytics and Reporting
• Exception Management

Can Visibility be a separate solution from your TMS?

A Transportation Management System (TMS) and Visibility software can be separate solutions. The more complete TMS platforms offer built-in visibility features tightly integrated into the whole TMS providing more flexible and advanced options to use the data for all TMS users and other internal or external users. Such complete TMS can also use that data to automatically communicate updates via EDI/API messages to forwarders/carriers if needed.

It's important to note that while having separate TMS and visibility solutions is possible, integration between the two is essential. Integrating the systems technically is one step but having an aligned data model is also very important. How does the TMS use the different datapoints it gets from a visibility provider and what logic is already applied by the visibility provider itself. This often results in numerous issues where data is not correctly interpreted.

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