One of the main rules for any business is to make sure that you have a good product. Just take the words leading technology retailer, for example. They’ve built their entire business on a few core, high-quality, products. So, along with some creative marketing, is this all you need to build a successful business? 
Whilst it’s important to have a great product, it won’t amount to much if you can’t assemble it and deliver it to your customers in a timely manner. When you consider that next day or same-day delivery is fast becoming the norm, well-managed supply chains are a must for any business to succeed. 
So what exactly is a supply chain, and perhaps more importantly, what is a transportation management system (TMS)? 

What is a Supply Chain? 

A Supply Chain is the process and steps taken by a business to create and deliver its final product to a final user. This is a network that will feature a number of different resources, personnel, and tasks. A supply chain is built on three core components; manufacturing, purchasing, and transportation. 
Let’s use a t-shirt as an example. The supply chain for a t-shirt involves sourcing the fabric and materials to make the t-shirt, delivering these to the manufacturer, taking the t-shirt from the manufacturer to a distributor where the product is packaged, then having the distributor deliver the product to a retailer where it can be sold to a consumer, or delivered directly to a customer after an online purchase. 
Keep in mind, this is a very basic summary of a complicated process, but you get the idea - there is a lot of steps to deliver the final product, even for something as simple as a t-shirt. This t-shirt could be delivered to multiple retailers, in multiple locations, complicating the supply chain further. Imagine the supply chain for a product with multiple components! 

Transport in the Supply Chain 

When people think of transport, it’s often the idea of simply getting something from A to B. Whilst this is true, for many businesses, they can’t function if something doesn’t get from A to B. If we return to the example of a t-shirt, the manufacturer can’t make the t-shirt if they don’t receive the necessary materials to make the t-shirt. Furthermore, if a retailer doesn’t receive your t-shirt, they won’t be able to sell it. 
This is why transport is so important within a supply chain. It links all the important steps and activities that go into creating your product and allow it to be delivered to your final user. Poor transport management within a supply chain is the difference between a thriving business and a struggling business and effective management can help a business to minimise operating costs and provide a better service for your customers. 

Transportation Management Software (TMS) 

Transport Management Software (TMS) can plan and execute transportation based on desired criteria that are either higher or lower priority to the user. A TMS can handle carrier rates, dispatching, Electronic Data Interchange and tracking of any physical activities like shipment from A to B for example. It also includes reporting features with KPIs for logistics performance measures such as transport cost. TMS can be a great asset to companies in the logistics industry. A TMS can provide a central hub that automates and streamlines all aspects of transportation management for organisations. From finding the best rates, to optimising shipment routes, to managing shipments, a TMS is essential for the transportation industry. Here are some of the key reasons why your company may need Transportation Management Software. 
The most obvious reason why a TMS may be necessary is to reduce the time and cost of managing your supply chain. One of the greatest burdens for logistics companies is having to manually manage all aspects of their fleet, from scheduling routes to deciding pricing. These are extremely time-consuming tasks that can be easily automated with a TMS. A TMS will manage these processes while also monitoring costs and making changes when necessary. For example, using a TMS would allow you to monitor fuel prices and alter schedules accordingly, saving you money. The way a TMS functions is by managing multiple modes of transport, such as freight rail, trucking, and shipping. This means you can use the system to not only find the best rates for your company, but also by optimising shipping routes, monitoring shipments in transit, and managing shipments once they have been delivered. 
Often integrated with other systems such as ERPs and inventory management, using this software means there is seamless communication between systems, and different parts of a business and supply chain. A TMS allows you to consolidate all of your transportation data into one central location, and by having all of your data in one place, businesses are able to make more strategic decisions. By tracking and measuring Key Performance Indicators, a TMS will help to drive efficiency, focusing on specific areas within your supply chain. 
Transportation Management Software is essential for the supply chain of any business that requires effective management.. The benefits of a quality TMS are plentiful. At Tarn International, we’re passionate about helping businesses in the supply chain sector find the right candidates for their roles. Get in touch to find out more and get started. 
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