How to Use a TMS to Manage Inbound Transportation


Inbound freight management is multifaceted and can eat up more than 40% of the average organization’s annual freight budget, according to Aberdeen Group. However, using a TMS for inbound shipments can help prevent unwanted costs.

Since inbound freight savings have a direct impact on an organization’s bottom line, shippers that make it a supply chain priority reap inventory efficiencies, cost containment, and enhanced productivity and service.

Companies expect to receive about 34,000 inbound shipments every month, so even decidedly successful inbound freight shippers are likely to encounter glitches.

35% of shippers claim that lack of visibility is one of the biggest challenges of inbound transportation, while 37% say determining hidden costs, and 25% say data analysis and decision support are the greatest challenges. Shippers experiencing challenges with inbound freight management might not be fully leveraging available optimization logic with a transportation management system (TMS).

Why Companies Use TMS?

A TMS has capabilities that make life easier, it can manage by exception, easily track KPIs, optimize carriers with routes, and proactively notify you of disruptions or risk. A recent SupplyChain24/7 article explains the distinction of shippers who use a TMS when managing inbound transportation. A TMS’ biggest advantage is that it supports inbound transportation by providing shippers with visibility.

In today’s omni-channel world, control over inbound freight management requires detailed visibility on all accounts of the supply chain. Chris Cunnane with ARC Advisory Group said, “It’s really all about visibility into freight – understanding where it is and when it’s going to arrive so that you can plan effectively.

How Can You Benefit From TMS For Inbound Transport?

With good visibility, you don’t have trucks waiting around to unload with merchandise needed to fill pressing orders while other trucks with less time-sensitive inventory are unloading. The biggest thing a TMS can provide to improve inbound logistics is that visibility aspect.”

Visibility doesn’t exclusively rely on a TMS though, to gain full visibility, shippers must build relationships with suppliers, carriers and logistics providers. These partnerships enable shippers to get real-time insights and a chance to optimize best practices.

There is a major savings potential when using a TMS. To operate efficiently and effectively, companies need visibility into their entire supply chain process – including inbound freight.

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