Much like the rest of the business world, the field of logistics management has undergone a rapid change in the last several years due to advances in the computer systems used to operate day to day operations.
As network connectivity has invaded every part of the transportation of goods, the introduction of complex logistics platforms has transformed the way that goods are moved between manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers. While warehouses themselves often operate highly responsive inventory platforms, these facilities also integrate with transportation management software (TSM).
How TMS Platforms Enhance Logistics?
Transportation management platforms have given logistics managers capabilities they never had before, allowing them to seamlessly coordinate with every facet of their supply chain. By providing historically unparalleled network visibility and the ability to plan, analyze, and optimize logistics in real-time, these platforms increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
But in order for companies to make the most of these capabilities, they often need highly customized platforms that fit their industry, company size, inventory, and delivery timelines. In some cases, the numerous companies that currently provide prepackaged TMS platforms supply a workable system with minor tweaks.
However, when dealing with systems existing within more specialized niches or operating within a highly complex supply chain, having a “semi-custom” transportation management platform is often insufficient to provide adequate control and optimization.
Without full access to these benefits from its TMS platform, such a company would be at a disadvantage when it comes to using the platform for logistics planning, reacting to supply chain interruptions, and analyzing historical data for increased efficiency.
Developing Custom Transportation Management Platforms
To have the best chance to meet their long-term goals, companies with highly specific needs require logistics platforms tailored to meets those needs. The process needed to create and perfect a custom platform can be daunting, as transportation management software development can require extensive research before a design and implementation stages can begin.
In the long run, this kind of investment can bring profitable rewards for companies that rely on meeting tight delivery timelines. Even as technology advances and that system becomes outdated, the basic research and development process will have laid the groundwork for future logistics upgrades.
Having a full system analysis done, which is usually necessary before a new TMS platform can be installed and brought online, will provide long-term insight into the needs, weaknesses, and strengths of a company’s logistics framework. This value of having this information will outlast the system itself, which can be built on, tweaked, and upgraded in the future.
Bringing Personnel Up-to-Date Along with Platforms
Another aspect of modern logistics that has to be considered is the importance of well-trained personnel running and managing the system itself. No matter how advanced a TMS platform is, the system is only valuable if the people operating it fully understand how to take advantage of its capabilities and implement the suggestions made from the data analytics presented.
At the same time that a company updates its logistics platforms, it should also be investing in thorough training programs for the personnel that will be using the associated software. While the company developing the platform can make considerable efforts into developing a highly usable platform, training workers on best practices for using that platform is an essential part of the process as well.