What is Transportation Relationship Management?

January 28, 2020

Change is brewing in the logistics and trucking industry - where is the future of logistics going? We think that it's in transportation relationship management.


Change is Coming

You may have heard that change is brewing in the transportation industry – with companies like Uber and Amazon determined to “modernize” the industry by introducing the Uber model for instant matched quoting to trucking. However, what this forgets is that trucking isn’t like the taxi industry – we care about which carriers we choose and trust, and every load delivered is part of a growing relationship between a distributor and a logistics service provider. The Uber model might be cheaper, but it harms the relationships that are the backbone of the transportation industry – thus the future of transportation technology has to build on these relationships, not tear them down. This is what transportation relationship management, or TRM, is all about. Using technology to build stronger, more trusting relationships in your transportation network. Here’s what the futures going to look like…

Simplifying Order Fulfillment

First and foremost, TRM is going to simplify the order fulfillment process, by providing flexible workflows with smart automation built in natively. We see this as being transformational – it will allow supply chain workers to focus on key decision-making and relationship-building roles, while leaving repetitive tasks to exception-based management tools. This will further the goal of building relationships, and connecting more closely and personally with your transportation network.

Empower Data-Driven Thinking

Secondly. TRM is going to empower data-driven thinking and decision-making throughout the supply chain. By providing always-accessible information of the entire operational process to everyone in real-time, collaboration becomes easier than ever, and connections with IoT, API, and EDI devices and services becomes truly possible. Furthermore, by tracking carrier performance through real time KPIs, and advanced visibility of fleet performance, distributors and manufacturers can make more educated decisions, incentivizing 3PLs and carriers to provide better service and maintain stronger relationships. By having greater knowledge of the entire supply chain, key decision makers will be empowered to connect with the carriers and partners they trust most, instead of going purely by gut feeling.

Evolution of Customer-Centric TMS Software

Lastly, we see TRM as an evolution of customer-centric thinking in the transportation space. With a next generation TRM, you’ll be able to manage contacts, personalization, and carriers more flexibly than ever. Furthermore, you’ll be bale to provide advanced customer facing tools and portals, while managing and collaborating with a variety of people and users both inside and outside your organization.


With over 70% of the $800 billion transportation industry composed of negotiated rate contracts, and a growing shift towards relationship-building and customer-centric thinking, it’s critical that the technology we use to power our logistics businesses propels us towards these goals, instead of farther away. With this in mind, it’s critical that companies begin to think of logistics as not just Xs and Os, but a complex network of relationships that must be nurtured for the greatest successes.

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