The Top 10 Transportation Management Systems

Each year as businesses of every size and industry fight to broaden market share the same old questions haunt the boardrooms,

“How can we reduce transportation costs? How do we streamline our supply operation?”

The answer almost always requires close scrutiny of a companies supply chain infrastructure and the status of its Transportation Management System (TMS).

The TMS Investment

At the heart of every successful trucking company sits a reliable and cost effective TMS, keeping tabs on transport planning and execution as well as real-time point solutions for hectic schedules.

Choosing to implement your first TMS product or deciding to revamp outdated software might seem daunting but long-term savings and increased cooperation along your supply chain is invaluable.

The biggest step to implementing a new TMS is deciding on a single product out of many established and emerging players in this rapidly growing market.

Although, many of the competing brands offer enticing software packages and hand-over-foot support services the leading TMS solutions each guarantee:

  • User friendly, reliable and state-of-the-art programming
  • Exceptional communication functionality between supply partners
  • Increased efficiency in billing and audit schedules
  • Industry leading data security

The following top ten list of industry-leading TMS solutions have all those qualities and more to help keep shipments afloat, trucks on the road and your enterprise running at full potential.

Transportation Management Systems

1.  Oracle E-Business Suite

 Oracle, the world’s third-largest software maker by revenue, has spent over eight years refining its logistics and transportation software and now offers the most extensive supply chain suite in the market. The E-Business Suite offers a series of “Value Chain Execution” applications broad enough to manage and streamline any transportation scenario. Oracle’s “Transportation Management” app provides an opportunity for shippers and third party logistics companies to execute all supply stages in every transportation medium. The app guarantees lowered operating costs, optimum asset use while sticking close to the motto, “tight integration, modular adoption” when describing its approach to any business type or volume.

2.  IBM Sterling TMS package

Sterling Commerce was acquired by IBM in 2010 and is now the company lead in order management, transportation logistics, B2B and supply execution via on-cloud technology. The IBM Sterling TMS software package plans and executes inbound/outbound transport structures and automates the entire process. Perks of the cloud format include less physical IT infrastructure, increased accessibility, reduced operation costs through improved routing and real-time visibility of shipping processes. The program includes: Shipment Planning and Contract Management Workbenches, Shipment Optimization, Inbound Transport Planning and Fleet Management as well as Vendor/Carrier Portals and Audit/Payment applications.

3.  JDA Transportation Manager

 JDA Software Group recently merged with RedPrairie to create one of the most powerful TMS players in the industry. By combining both companies’ previous innovations into one package they now offer industry leading supply chain solutions that tackle the demands of a modern marketplace. The JDA Transportation Manager offers several powerful applications including Fleet and Freight Order Management to create work plans for private or 3PL fleets as well as inbound shipment collaboration. It also offers Logistics Procurement apps to negotiate competitive contracts in a network as well as the JDA Transportation Manager, Modeler and Planner which syncs up planning and execution stages, models experimental transport networks and maximizes use of assets.

 4.  Pitney Bowes Package Management System

 Pitney Bowes is an industry mainstay and a long time developer of shipping software and hardware for documents, packaging and mailing services catering to parcel shipping and business supply. The Pitney Bowes Package Management System includes five major licensed tools: Arrival® is an automatic parcel tracking agent that catalogues signatures and provides email notification service for communicating with the delivery chain. Ascent™ allows the user to select the most efficient carrier based on delivery requirements with an added bonus of real time tracking and dedicated IT support. The pbSmartPostage™ program creates a dedicated online postal system for shipping products while giving a business complete control over decal and insignias by printing postage and package identifiers in-house. Finally, the SendSuite® Live program is a comprehensive mix of the above applications creating a scalable and automated shipping headquarters for managing the entire parcel, LTL and trucking supply line with premier tracking and IT support.

 5.  INTTRA Desktop and Data Services

 INTTRA has secured the title of the world’s largest logistics network in ocean shipping by offering a range of TMS products for planning, booking and analysis of ocean freight. Their product line features INTTRA Desktop and Data Services with the Desktop portion providing a standalone freight solution with off-line order creation and shipping instructions available through six integrated apps: Ocean Schedules, Container Booking, Shipping Instructions, Shipping Order, Bill of Lading and e-Invoicing. INTTRA Data Services features Ocean Metrics data from INTTRA’s e-commerce platform, Data Direct for monitoring 40 of the world’s leading carriers, OceanSchedules Data for efficiency planning as well as Track&Trace and Reports options.

 6.  GT Nexus Transportation Management System

 GT Nexus offers a unique cloud-based supply chain coordinator that can be tailored specifically for manufacturers and retail chains, import/export businesses, 3PL providers, and even banks. The GT Nexus Transportation Management System includes three major programs: GT Nexus Trade, FGT Nexus Logistics and Cloud Tools. While GT Nexus Trade provides the digital infrastructure for everything from orders to payment FGT Nexus Logistics helps importers, suppliers, carriers and 3PL partners execute their orders from receiving to destination. The Cloud Tools program is a multi-enterprise trade network giving many authorized partners the chance to manage their interactions with all companies in the supply chain also using the GT Nexus cloud.

 7.  HighJump Transportation Management System

 The HighJump TMS software package has dozens of valuable applications including: Warehouse Management, Electronic Data Interchange, Route Accounting, Mobile Pre-sales and Delivery, On-Demand TMS, Enterprise Resource Planning and Data Collection. They recently also included a cloud-based Warehouse Management program. HighJump’s On-Demand TMS feature can be delivered as a point solution according to business volume instead of being installed on-site along with the promise of an extremely rapid implementation time. HighJump even provides route optimization and international multi-modal management to help you decide the most efficient carrier and mode of transportation to reduce cost and carbon footprint.

8.  Appian Logistics Software Suite

 Appian Logistics, now operating under the TMW Systems brand, has been honing its distribution and transportation solutions since 1987 meaning it has the right to consider its applications pro tools. The DirectRoute and DRTrack programs are Appian’s answer to route planning and optimization featuring GPS fleet tracking and web-based reporting tools to catalogue actual mileage, driver hours and route efficiency. The Pro package includes TerritoryPro, ResourcePro and SchedulePro, which integrate fully with the DirectRoute programs. TerritoryPro works to establish a dynamic supply territory based on useable assets, business volume and service time by constantly updating a statistics database. ResourcePro monitors resource schedules and fleet assets to efficiently plan drivers, plan supply line growth and eliminate cost. Finally, SchedulePro programs customer appointments and balances volume for a 12-week planning period while looking to lower total miles and driver hours to improve overall service.

 9.  Four Soft Product Portfolio

 Four Soft has been in the logistics business for nearly 15 years now and although popular in its home market of India it has been slowly gaining the attention of North American companies. They specialize in many different industries such as automotive, electronics, retail, natural resources and life science companies. The Four Soft Portfolio is composed of 4SeTrans, 4SeLog, 4SVisilog and VisiologPlus, 4SeCustoms, 4SInfoTips, 4SeTrans SME, 4SiFreight as well as a line of 4SiShipping products and various IT services. The complete package would offer a business complete web-based muli-modal transport management with built in accounting, order management, warehouse management, supply chain execution, customs compliance plus a test platform for executives to model business spending scenarios.

 10.  Syncreon Transportation Management System

 Syncreon International Group offers supply chain logistics for producers and original equipment manufacturers with offices literally spanning the globe. Syncreon’s TMS software handles everything from supply fulfillment and e-fulfillment, reverse logistics, telecom network infrastructure and parts distribution to export packing, deconsolidation and project management. The company specializes in automotive, hospitals, medical supply and pharmaceutical companies.

About the Author

Joyce Smith works in marketing and PR, with a specialist interest in fleet management and logistics solutions. She’s also a marketing consultant for Canada Cartage, a leading private fleet trucking company in Canada.