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How to Integrate your TMS and Build a Digital Logistics System

Building a digital logistics system can make the difference between a truly efficient business and one that’s still missing the mark.

20th November 2023

Written by

Alistair Lindsay

Chief Operating Officer

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For your business to be the former, you need to prioritise integrating your Transport Management System with other core logistics and business tools, like your Warehouse Management System (WMS) and your Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP).

The problem is that this isn’t the kind of solution that can be achieved without an external solution. Your TMS wasn’t designed to act as a central hub. What you need is purpose-built software that can be that hub, with the ability to sit over your TMS and other tools to ensure total integrability.

We at Zeus ended up creating that solution. We wanted to build our own overland freight management solution, leading to the creation of our proprietary enterprise software, Freight Command. Acting as a hub for coordinating and integrating a number of essential, disparate tools within logistics systems, Freight Command has been central in helping our clients achieve enhanced service delivery, greater data visibility, reduced order to cash cycles and better logistics network management and control.

Here, we will cover why it’s crucial to integrate your TMS to create an optimised digital logistics system and how Freight Command can help you along the way.

The risks of a non-integrated logistics system

Your TMS and wider logistics system will already involve some form of integrations in order to function. But there may still be execution gaps that are stopping this system from being wholly integrated in a way that advances your operations. It’s crucial to understand the full range of risks associated with subpar integrations:

  1. Fragmented information and inefficient decision-making: Separate systems lead to inconsistent data, causing confusion and errors in inventory management and order processing. Scattered data across various platforms can result in slow decision-making, impacting critical operations like delivery schedules.

  2. Increased operational costs: Non-integrated systems often duplicate tasks and processes, leading to unnecessary expenses. Manual handling and repeated tasks consume significant time and effort, affecting team efficiency and morale.

  3. Harm to customer satisfaction: Disconnected systems can slow down response times, leading to delays in service and fulfilment. Inconsistent service levels can result in customer dissatisfaction and harm long-term relationships.

While the risks of non-integration are clear, achieving this cohesive system within your business has likely been hindered by any of the following factors:

  • Complexity in your existing systems: Many organisations work with a range of legacy systems, each with unique functionalities and requirements, making integration complex.

  • Resource constraints: Limited budgets and personnel often mean that system integration is not prioritised, despite its importance.

  • Concerns around overhaul: Overhauling an entire logistics system can be seen as risky, with worries about disruptions to ongoing operations and a risk of spiralling costs.

  • Lack of scalability: Many businesses encounter difficulties when their TMS and other core systems aren't inherently scalable. This lack of adaptability can cause various issues, such as limited functionality, inefficient operations, and inability to meet growing customer demands.

Why creating an in-house solution isn’t enough

You’ve likely already recognised a lot (if not all) of the challenges we’ve mentioned above. And are actively trying to fix them within your organisation.

The problem is that creating an in-house solution that hits all the above requirements can end up causing more problems than solving them.

For one, it can be a huge sink on resources. Developing a way to integrate your entire logistics system from scratch requires substantial capital, labour, and time — making it a challenging task for most businesses. In-house solutions also require constant upgrades and maintenance, which can further strain your capacity.

You also may assume that an in-house solution = complete control and customisation. But the truth is that external enterprise solutions like Freight Command not only give you the integration capabilities your business needs — but can fit on top of your existing tech stack without much grunt work from your teams. Thus helping you see key benefits like:

  • Forecasting demand through analysing historical and real-time data, enabling more efficient planning and deliveries.

  • Better ways of working between your sales and logistics teams via a centralised hub that gives all parties access to real-time data and one version of the truth.

  • Improved carrier relationships through optimised routing, planning, and delivering against contractual volume commitments.

  • Offering greater visibility and transparency to customer orders, ensuring improved speed of delivery and customer loyalty.

  • Decarbonisation solutions that enable more sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices. All of which are critical in future proofing your business from the inevitable mandatory pressures that are on the horizon.

How Zeus can help

Building a digital logistics system with an integrable TMS can be a complex task, fraught with challenges around ensuring scalability and compatibility without being a sink on costs and resources. The best solution you can invest in to address this problem is a third-party software solution like Freight Command.

Freight Command sits on top of existing technology to act as an easy-to-use platform that removes manual processes and plugs capability caps. Our proprietary technology improves the functionality of your current tech and adds new automations to build a fast, modern, and digital logistics system. Offering features like:

  • Integrated feeds: Flexible APIs allow for simple integration with almost any technology, glueing your TMS, WMS, ERP, finance and other important business and logistics technology together with custom and out-of-the-box integrations.

  • Automated slot management: Integrate slot management with order and transport management, while adding advanced automation able to reduce lead times and increase service levels.

  • Carrier management: Score specific providers, track performance, assign contracts and manage invoices with the same tool you use for slot and transport management.

  • Freight Marketplace: Turnkey access to an online freight marketplace, integrating spot load management while also providing the visibility to minimise your need to use them.

Discover how we can support you in building an integrated, digital logistics system that can help you exceed your business goals today with a live demo of Freight Command.

You'll be impressed.

Demo Zeus Freight Command

Exclusive pre-launch invite:  Zeus works with the biggest shippers in the world. Based on their frustrations, Zeus Freight Command is a fresh, new solution to a common set of problems.

Automate your sales-to-operations fulfilment and get smart digital management of all transport providers in one place.

It’s easy to be in control with Zeus.

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