Transportation Management Systems (TMS) is fast becoming a go-to tool for supply chain management professionals across every industry. However, for one industry in particular – food producers/shippers – TMS is becoming indispensable. Here are five reasons why TMS for transportation automation and optimization is a must-have for food shippers.
Reason #1 – TMS adds shelf time. Proteins and produce in particular have a very finite shelf-life due to the highly perishable nature of meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies. With the cost of producing these foods on the rise due to climate-related issues and transportation capacity issues, food shippers are hungry (no pun intended) for ways to reduce the time their products spend in transit. A solid TMS with integrated optimization capabilities can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to get finished product onto store shelves/refrigerated cases.
Reason #2 – TMS improves visibility. With increasing interruptions in the supply chain for feed grain used by poultry and other protein producers impacting the availability of raw materials inbound to growers, having better visibility into inbound deliveries from vendors helps producers better communicate with customers regarding when purchase orders will be filled.
Reason #3 – Capacity issues weigh more heavily on food shippers. Everyone knows that between the new hours-of-service (HOS) rules, the ongoing driver shortage and the new ELD mandate, trucking capacity has grown tighter than ever. Shipping perishable product means every minute counts when loads are ready to be moved. Having a TMS in place greatly decreases lead time and helps streamline delivery scheduling, ensuring perishable product is shipped in a timely manner even in a tight capacity environment.
Reason # 4 – Seasonality is better addressed using TMS integrated optimizers. More than most, food producers are subject to the change of seasons, shipping from different production facilities based on time of year and growing seasons. Using transportation optimization tools integrated with robust TMS solutions allows food shippers to plan better routes in different geographical areas. State-of-the-art optimization tools even offer weather and traffic overlays to ameliorate delays caused by storms and other meteorological phenomena.
Reason #5 – Private Fleet usage is up. As a hedge against capacity issues and due to the aforementioned perishability issues, food shippers are among the highest users of private fleets for transportation. While most TMS solutions do not offer robust private fleet management capabilities as part of the overall implementation, there are a few industry leaders that include such functionality as part of their platforms. This is a trend expected to experience significant growth.
Anthony Vitiello is Director of Marketing at UltraShipTMS, where he brings 20 years of success in marketing and public relations to the position. Prior to UltraShipTMS, Mr. Vitiello held marketing leadership positions with a Fortune 500 software company, an international public relations agency serving Silicon Valley companies, and an exclusive, high net-worth wealth management firm serving professional sports figures and top energy industry executives. A published columnist and prolific blogger, Mr. Vitiello is responsible for generating and curating Ultra’s Supply Chain Collaborator blog and the company’s library of technical papers, business case studies, e-newsletters and other materials. Mr. Vitiello graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a BA in liberal arts.
This blog post was originally published on UltraShipTMS’ Supply Chain Collaborator blog.