Supply Demand Chain Executive - Kuebix

How the Evolution of Transportation Management Systems is Changing the Future of Freight

Supply & Demand Chain Executive, November 2017
by Dan Clark

There’s constant change fueling the evolution of the transportation industry. And when it comes to shipping freight, the future is now, as a breakthrough in transportation management systems (TMS) portends to bring freight intelligence to the business masses for the first time.

Boxed out of these systems by price, and the internal resources needed to handle their care and feeding, businesses of all sizes have either outsourced their freight shipping to third parties, or have been boxed in to an inefficient, resource-draining and no-tech status quo.

We’ve reached a breaking point when you consider companies are spending millions on freight and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process due to inefficiencies, non-optimal mode selection and discrepancies. The largest enterprises use TMSs to contain costs, find capacity and speed operations. All the rest, the have-nots, use paper and spreadsheets to manage their transportation processes.

Logistics professionals are under super-heavy pressure from above to cut costs and seek out revenue generation opportunities. But without the necessary tools, getting the job done is a bridge too far for most. There’s a mean to achieving the alluring ends that has the potential to give shippers an efficient, automated freight shipping operation. It’s called a truly free TMS.

And free is not a four-letter word. Just the opposite. Now, businesses of any size can quickly benefit from the basic functionality of a TMS, including the unlimited rating, booking, tracking and management of shipments across all modes (LTL TL, intermodal and parcel).

When Products Proliferate

So how would a free TMS reshape the market?

To understand the evolution of freight shipping, look at revolutions in other industries that changed the way companies and consumers do business.

Think back to when smartphones first came out about a decade ago. These devices have changed the way people communicate and interact, allowing businesses to move into the collaborative digital era. Now what if businesses of any size could use a TMS for free to empower their freight operations, gain visibility into their shipments, manage their freight more efficiently and utilize their trucks better. This would have a similar impact on the shipping community as the smartphone did

In case you’re too young to remember, you used to have to pay and use travel agencies or airline reservation agents to book travel. That process was largely replaced by online travel sites that let you rate (price), book and manage your travel for free.

Apply these two evolutions to the challenge of efficiently shipping freight. Broadening the use of TMSs by knocking down the cost barrier, and enabling logistics managers to rate, book and track freight the way travel is booked today, represents the future of freight, which can be experienced by all starting now. The intelligent TMS will become the freight industry equivalent of the iPhone, once most everyone has one, and the industry as a whole will evolve beyond basics quickly. Letting business and consumers conduct business free—be it by TMS or smartphone—is the second component driving change.

Business Benefits

Democratizing basic shipping features for all size businesses goes far beyond cost savings—though those are difficult to ignore, especially over short time intervals. Removing the enormous basic shipping function weight from the shoulders of logistics teams also lets them:

  • Use cost savings to invest in other lifeblood functions such as R&D to create new products that would lead to new sales channels that would lead to greater revenues.
  • Free staff to turn their attention to other aspects of their freight shipping operation that could be made more efficient.
  • Focus on developing a flexible supply chain that can meet the fluctuating needs of suppliers and customers to boost sales and elevate customer service.
  • Identify technologies and best practices that can be implemented to enhance and advance the way their companies do business.
  • Change the view of the logistics department from a cost center to a profit center.
    The Bottom Line

There’s little doubt that the future is upon us in the transportation management industry, as wave after wave of businesses experience the control and visibility offered by TMSs.

Now imagine how the freight shipping business could be elevated if all those logistics professionals were freed from inefficient, resource-devouring processes, and put to work using big data, reports and predictive analytics to enable better business decision making faster.

Dan Clark is the founder and president of Kuebix, which offers a transportation management system (TMS) that delivers true shipping intelligence, empowering companies to capitalize on supply chain opportunities through visibility, collaboration and predictive analytics. Clark is a transportation industry veteran who possesses extensive operations and sales experience gained from years of working with leading freight carriers and companies with multi-billion-dollar supply chains. He continues to deliver on his original vision of using best-of-breed cloud technologies to create an innovative intelligent transportation system that returns control and visibility to freight shippers at companies of all sizes.


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