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Supply Chain News: ARC Research on Key TMS


Lot of Focus on Better Visibility to Arrival Times

July 22, 2019
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Transportation Management Systems, around now for some 40 years, continue to evolve as shipper needs change, driven by the impact of ecommerce, the need for speed, the seeming never-ending quest for greater visibility, and more.

Chris Cunnane, an analyst at ARC Advisory Group, recently published an interesting blog post that took a look at key TMS market trends. That at a time in which "The Transportation Management System market continues to grow at an impressive rate," according to Cunnane, in SCDigest’s view largely driven not by companies adopting TMS for the first time but rather shippers with older TMS systems looking for current generation capabilities and to leverage of Cloud deployments.

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"When assets are on the move, data must be used to optimize functional operations," Cunnane notes. "This includes both fleet safety and route optimization."

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Below we summarize the four key TMS trends on Cunnane’s radar.

1. Visibility Tools: "Real-time visibility solutions are set to explode," Cunnane says. The key factor: the ability to integrate a shipper's TMS to truck carriers’ systems. This opportunity is especially ripe now that virtually all trucks on US highways have to be equipped with electronic data loggers.

Shippers are especially keen on getting better visibility to estimated time of arrival.

The new data sources also allow carriers and shippers to get a better understanding of driver behavior. Cunnane says this includes basic information such as understanding typical driving speeds and times of drivers, as well as how they operate in heavily congested areas.

TMS and related vendors are using this data to enforce hours of service rules.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: " Real-time visibility solutions are raising the prospect that machine learning can be used to improve ETAs," Cunnane writes. "But unless a TMS provider has access to network transportation data (public cloud providers do), the visibility provider will be in a better position to use artificial intelligence to provide these enhanced ETAs than the TMS provider."

TMS providers are also using machine learning in other aspects of transportation management. For example, shippers can learn which carriers meet on-time service levels and which do not, which lanes typically carry more chance for delays, and whether there is an optimal number of stops before shipments become late, Cunnane says.

He adds that machine learning can aid shippers in better understanding how to drive efficiencies without sacrificing service levels. For example, in last mile routing, the time a job takes to complete is dependent not just on the miles that need to be driven, but on the congestion, the type of product being delivered, the type of residence, and whether the value-added services are provided at the destination.

"Machine learning can be used to "learn" these constraints rather than having to do time studies and hard code these constraints into the solution," Cunnane says.

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3. IoT: IoT and connected trucks and containers are gaining a lot of traction in the market, Cunnane says.

"When assets are on the move, data must be used to optimize functional operations," Cunnane notes. "This includes both fleet safety and route optimization."

Often, companies have a difficult time understanding the data they are collecting from their transportation assets. However, Cunnane says, when combined with artificial intelligence, IoT applications can help make sense of data to improve asset performance. Sensors in trucks can help provide better visibility and make predicted ETAs more accurate.

Additionally, connected trucks can provide information on specific driver’s driving patterns and habits, leading to improved safety as well as visibility.

4. Partnerships: Partnerships within the TMS market have become big news lately, Cunnane says.

A lot of this can be attributed to the need for better visibility tools for improved ETAs, as noted above. Cunnane says many TMS companies are partnering with visibility providers such as project44, FourKites, 10-4 Systems, Descartes MacroPoint, and many others.

In addition, the rise of digital freight matching solutions has provided new opportunities for partnerships.

"While hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into startups looking to disrupt the transportation industry by matching contract drivers to loads, there are few startups that appear to have a winning formula in this area," Cunnane notes. "Many large TMS suppliers are now including digital freight matching marketplace integration with their core TMS."

Goof stuff from Cunnane and ARC Research

Any reaction to this list of TMS trends? What you you add? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.



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