By Lisa Henthorn, V.P., Marketing Communications

A bright and healthy future for the supply chain industry depends on the ability to effectively collaborate, making mutual decisions that ensure maximum cost savings and increased profits for all involved. With increasingly large and complex supply chain logistics requiring consistent visibility and maintenance, cloud-based TMS may be the answer for those searching for a highly-collaborative environment, both between shippers and carriers, and shipper to shipper.

While some fear the complexity of initial implementation of a supply chain management solution, cloud providers can make customer transitions from an in-house system less painful by providing lean, ready-to-use templates to collect data, requirements and business rules, and a solid assessment leading to smoother implementation.

As cloud systems display their maturity and benefits, supply chain executives eager for innovation are taking notice, especially in highly competitive industries where the introduction of a cloud-based system could make the difference between competitors.

Cloud fosters a broader collaboration base between shippers and carriers, and with a decreasing capacity in carrier fleets brought on by truck and driver shortage and rising fuel costs, the need for collaboration has never been higher. Cloud-based solutions enable shippers to customize performance measurement KPIs (consumption profile, cost efficiency of carriers, etc.), while carriers leverage shipper’s volume and asset data, promoting efficiencies and savings. The result – smoother negotiations, revision of tariffs and methods, and processes optimization. Several major retail brands, for example, improved the efficiency of regional carrier performance reporting, streamlining and automating to reduce labor requirements and improve carrier negotiations and, ultimately, performance through use of Eyefreight’s cloud-based TMS.

Similarly, increased agility and speed in resolving complex problems through more effective collaboration becomes possible. Cloud-based TMS technologies provide full visibility into carrier performance, rapid adjustment for unplanned delays, and quick auditing and invoice settlement, which can help preserve quality relationships and collaborative partnerships with carriers and vendors.

Additionally, a cloud-based TMS solution enables better shipper to shipper collaboration by helping each individual shipper get their house in order (increase visibility, create efficient and effective carrier management and invoice processing, optimize distribution and inventory location management) to more effectively communicate with other shippers, like a paper goods vendor filling empty capacity in a beverage distributor’s truck with cocktail napkins when they’re headed to the same location.

Continuous improvement through collaboration and a large scale move toward open systems is the future of supply chain in TMS. Cloud-based solutions enable better optimization with real-time data and insights, especially as analytics tools become more affordable and easier to use, spurring a larger scale adoption. As complex supply chains permeate the industry, supply chain executives must consider these solutions for sustained success and business growth.

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