5 Tools to Better Manage Your Operations
There's thousands of software tools out there to help you streamline, secure, and enhance your operations. Here are a few of our favorite categories, along with our choices for best in class products.
There are thousands of software tools out there to help you streamline, secure, and enhance your operations. You might not need them all, but you can't go wrong knowing a little more about your options as a transportation company.
1: Accounting Software
This first one is a business staple. One of the first pieces of software you should, and probably already have invested in, is dedicated accounting software. Not only are there great affordable options for garage innovators and corporate enterprise alike, accounting software can make your transportation workflow easier, less of a hassle, and could save you a few bucks on your annual returns.
Our favorite option here is Quickbooks, due to its affordability, its flexibility, and its ease of use for a variety of accounting tasks like managing receivables, categorizing expenses, managing payroll, and invoicing customers. We also love the native API integration with FreightPath, which allows your staff to send payment invoices directly to accounting with all the required shipment details.
2: Warehouse Management Software
If your operations involve warehousing, whether to distribute your own goods or to provide a fully managed third-party freight solution, you should definitely consider investing in warehouse management software, or a WMS. These systems are powerful, super customized, and allow you to streamline and optimize your picking and packing, storing, and transition from inbound to outbound order.
When picking a WMS, it's critical to consider the size of your operations - are you dealing with a few pallets every day, or are you operating a whole fulfillment centre? If your operations are small and localized, it might make sense to invest in a tool with light WMS features, instead of a full blown WMS integration. On the other hand, if you have to manage complex operations in a large enterprise environment, shelling out the hundreds of thousands of dollars on a custom SAP or IBM WMS is definitely worth the hassle.
For small businesses with lightweight warehousing, we recommend FreightPath's simple and easy to use order and inventory management tools, which provide basic order processing, packing, and organization tools at no added cost. If you need more power, chances are you'll have to shell out for far more expensive traditional ERP solutions like SAP or AS400.
3: Route Optimization Tool
A powerful tool that might not have crossed your mind is a route optimization tool, which takes the scheduled transportation locations (i.e. origin and destinations) from your TMS and optimizes them based on distance travelled, convinience, or other pre-defined parameters. The key here is to look for software thats flexible, affordable, and integrates into your existing workflow - route optimization is amazing, but not at the cost of adding more manual administrative workload!
Because of this, we love tools like Fastercom, which provide great route optimization tools as well as a barebones TMS. Another benefit here is native integration directly with FreightPath, which lets you build the exact workflow you're looking for.
Of course, no conversation about tools to better your transportation operations would be complete without mention of load boards. While the majority of your freight is probably pre-negotiated with multi-year contracts, there will always be a need for a quick solution to quickly pick up or post a one off load on the load board of your choice. Most of the solutions on the market do a good job of basic load board functionality, but what we look for in a great load board is integrations with your favorite services.
Because of this, we love 123loadboard, which combines a fast and easy to use service with native integration with your favorite TMS, including FreightPath. This allows you to save time, and prevent mistakes from jumping inbetween two platforms.
5: TRM Platform
What's a TRM? Well, think about it as the evolutionary step from a transportation management system, or TMS. a Transportation Relationship Management Platform goes one step beyond - instead of just managing your dispatch and shipping, a TRM serves as the hub for all your transportation operations, and a central source of data from which other services can integrate with.
It allows you to access the full power of the best solutions on the market, while also having all your data in one location and having one location to process shipments, track them, collaborate with other stakeholders, and analyze your performance. As the hub for your operations, there's nothing like having FreightPath, the worlds first TRM, in your corner.