What is a transport management system?

A transportation manager may oversee the receipt and shipment of a company’s goods.

Transport management is the practice of organizing and optimizing all aspects related to the movement of goods and services. Professionals who practice transportation management are often concerned with planning routes, estimating packing and delivery times, and budgeting costs. A transportation management system is any type of computer software that helps transportation managers optimize transportation-related supply chain processes. Most of these programs are designed to assist managers in planning transportation, filling out transportation-related paperwork or data entry, and taking accurate transportation-related measurements.

Managers who need transportation management systems are typically responsible for orchestrating multiple projects at once. A system can allow a manager to analyze key dates and costs related to each project. This information can allow a manager to prioritize transportation processes. The software can also help a manager deploy manpower and develop the most cost-effective routes.

It is also common for a transportation management system to assist with administrative tasks. For example, a program may have the ability to record and store invoices and bills of materials. The departure and arrival times of drivers at locations can also be recorded by a transport management system. Notifications about bad weather and road closures can be sent to drivers through some management systems.

One of the most useful benefits of a transportation management system is that it allows managers to track and record transportation-related measurements, often in real time. A manager has the ability to track how long it takes certain drivers to complete routes. Vehicle weights and capacities are noted and recorded by managers. This software can also generate cost calculations per unit of distance or weight.

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While basic management systems are designed for managers responsible for tracking road and air transport, some systems serve more specific purposes. For example, a manager who is more concerned with international shipping might benefit from a program capable of working with multiple currencies. Likewise, an organization that specializes in car rental to customers can benefit from systems that make calculations based on weight, time, and distance.

Larger companies with complex transportation management needs often purchase management software that managers can install on individual computers and networks. Small businesses may prefer on-demand software that can be accessed over the Internet. This type of software typically requires users to pay usage fees. Some open source software can be downloaded for free or for minimal prices.

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