June 26, 2023

What is the difference between a Transporation Management System and Transportation Visibility Software?

A Transportation Management System (TMS) and Transportation Visibility Software — also known as Transportation Visibility and Tracking Software — are two different types of tools used in logistics and supply chain management. While they both relate to transportation, they serve distinct purposes.

Imagine you’re embarking on a treasure hunt. Having a TMS is like your ultimate expedition companion. It’s a comprehensive toolkit equipped with maps, compasses, guides, and all the necessary resources to plan, execute your hunt. Transportation Visibility Software on the other hand can be seen as a crystal ball that gives you insights into the whereabouts and status of the treasure you’re looking for.

Transportation Management System (TMS):

A Transportation Management System (TMS) is a software solution designed to help organizations plan, execute, and optimize their transportation and logistics operations.  It’s designed to streamline and automate transportation processes, enhance visibility and control, optimize resource utilization, and ultimately reduce transportation costs. In order to do so, it provides functionalities to manage and optimize many of the complex tasks that a transportation manager deals with regularly, including order management, carrier selection, load optimization, routing, tracking, and freight payment.

Key features of a TMS and how they’re used:

  1. Route optimization and planning: Finding the best route to your destination
  2. Load and capacity management: Ensuring everything is packed at maximum efficiency  
  3. Shipment tracking and tracing: Viewing real-time details on the location of all involved
  4. Carrier and lane performance analytics:  Optimizing strategies to maximize speed and cost-savings
  5. Rapid communication: Delivering instant status updates and improving planning

Transportation Visibility Software:

Transportation Visibility Software focuses on providing real-time visibility and tracking capabilities for shipments in transit. It leverages technologies like GPS, ELD integration, and other data sources to capture and share location information, estimated time of arrival (ETA), and other relevant data about shipments. This software allows companies and their stakeholders to monitor the status and progress of shipments in real time, proactively address delays or exceptions, and provide accurate information to customers or partners. Transportation visibility software can enhance supply chain visibility, enable proactive decision-making, improve customer service, and support efficient logistics operations.

Key features of visibility software and how they’re used:

  1. End-to-end supply chain visibility:: Gaining detailed insight into the entire journey  
  2. Estimated time of arrival (ETA) calculations: Taking in all variables to accurately predict arrival times
  3. Proactive exception management: Spotting and correcting potential issues before they cause disruptions or delays Performance dashboards and analytics- how well did I do on the treasure hunt
  4. Enhanced collaboration capabilities: Enabling other stakeholders to work together in making data-driven decisions
  5. Over-the-map tracking: Planning around disruptions like weather and traffic in real-time  

While both a TMS and visibility are separate transportation-related software solutions, it is possible to incorporate both in your operations through a single platform. Which is exactly what Shipwell delivers. So to get the best of both worlds — an expert guide to improving operations and a crystal ball that grants unparalleled visibility — speak to one of our experts today and discover the hidden treasure that comes from a perfectly optimized supply chain.

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