The transportation industry has undergone some dramatic changes over the last 15 years, during which time features like usability, flexibility, scalability, and other advanced functionalities have been folded under the traditional transportation management system (TMS) umbrella.
Those TMS platforms that produce results today—and that will continue to do so well into the future—include state-of-the-art capabilities that can be customized to meet the needs of individual shippers.
One of the most important of those capabilities is integration, or the ability to combine individual software components into an integrated whole that runs like a well-oiled machine. In the past, many software platforms operated independently of one another; but today’s collaborative, cloud-based environment demands an entirely different foundation. To work most efficiently, a TMS must be able to seamlessly integrate and operate with myriad other systems.
No TMS implementation is easy, but integration is a high hurdle for most systems. According to the “Transportation Planning and Execution Benchmark Study” by American Shipper, 61 percent of respondents said that the biggest challenge of their TMS was system connectivity. And yet a TMS is only as powerful as its connections.
“A TMS is different from a lot of other business applications,” says JP Wiggins, vice president of logistics at 3Gtms. “Not only do they need to integrate well with internal systems such as order management, warehouse management systems (WMS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), but they must also manage outside of the four walls and connect with customers, vendors, carriers and a whole host of third parties.”