The pallet and parcel industries are fast-moving and highly competitive.
With the ongoing rise of online shopping fuelling further growth in home delivery, logistics and last-mile delivery, companies must be able to scale up without sacrificing profitability.
Both pallet and parcel logistics operate on very tight turnarounds and timescales, with customers demanding faster, more accurate fulfilment. Both often require the management of complex and high-volume loads.
A Transport Management System (TMS) – also known as transport management software – can be a great tool to deal with some of the challenges facing parcel and pallet logistics companies.
But it’s important to ensure you invest in a TMS that is specifically designed for your business sector if you want to maximise the benefits.
What is a TMS for the pallet or parcel industry?
A TMS is a digital platform that gives your business better visibility and control over every aspect of transport operations, from planning loads, routes, and schedules through to proof of delivery and invoicing.
A good TMS can fully or partially automate some processes, save you time and money, and improve customer satisfaction. It achieves this through the following features:
- Integration with other platforms such as a Warehouse Management System (WMS), ERP, or accounting software
- Accurate planning of loads, routes, and schedules
- Real-time alerts and tracking of vehicles and consignments.
- Driver behaviour monitoring
- Electronic proof of delivery
- Automated invoicing
- Reports and data analytics
Why is TMS important for this industry?
A TMS addresses several of the key challenges facing parcel and pallet logistics operators:
1. Scaling up
The industry is still growing at a fast pace as shoppers’ buying habits transition even further towards e-commerce. A TMS enables you to scale up by using automation and standardised processes.
2. Tight margins
Pallet and parcel logistics are incredibly competitive industries. A TMS can help you to not just protect margins, but to improve them.
3. Consumer expectations
Consumer demand for ever faster fulfilment is driving more efficiency in delivery operations. A TMS helps you meet these demands.
4. Customer retention
E-commerce runs on digital platforms, meaning your customers expect you to talk the same language. A TMS can help improve accuracy of ETAs and ensure you meet delivery slots or SLAs, helping to retain customers in a competitive environment.
Clients are increasingly asking their suppliers and logistics providers to be more sustainable. A TMS helps cut carbon emissions by planning more efficient routes, as well as the clear benefits of going paperless.
What are the benefits of a TMS for parcel and pallet operators?
A TMS can provide a wide range of benefits for parcel and pallet logistics operators:
1. Faster and more accurate planning
A TMS is designed to take the strain out of load planning and route scheduling. It can do these tasks quicker than your team, freeing up that resource to be used elsewhere in the business. The software is designed to account for factors specific to your business such as consignment volumes and weights as well as customer delivery windows.
2. Lower costs per delivery
Optimising vehicle loads and schedules helps to reduce the distance and time between drops. This means fewer wasted miles and more deliveries per shift.
3. Cost savings
Back at the office, higher productivity also results in lower overheads as you need less human resource for planning and managing transport operations.
4. More transparency
Customers increasingly insist on more transparency and visibility of their goods in transit. A TMS provides real-time data on vehicle locations, while also capturing proof of delivery.
An easily accessible digital “paper trail” also helps you to quickly resolve any issues or answer customer queries. Plus, individual parcels and pallets can be identified, tracked, and monitored at any stage of their journey along the supply chain.
5. Improved customer service
Better compliance with customer SLAs, better communication on ETAs, electronic proof of delivery and more accurate invoicing all add up to improved customer service.
6. Improved safety
Digital records all in one place helps you to improve compliance and enhance health and safety.
7. Cash flow
Electronic proof of delivery combined with automated invoicing means you bill you clients quicker and more accurately, improving cash flow.
8. Data analytics
Data analytics tailored to your company KPIs help you to monitor performance and identify areas for further improvement.
A vital tool for parcel and pallet logistics
A TMS is a must-have for parcel and pallet delivery companies. If you have an older legacy system, compare it to the checklists in this article and ask yourself, “is my TMS delivering all of these benefits?”
And if you don’t have a TMS at all, now is the time to act – companies who do not embrace this technology risk becoming uncompetitive and eventually will get left behind. With TMS now more modular, flexible, and affordable than ever, there is no good business reason to carry on without it.