Transportation in supply chain management involves sequential processes to plan, produce and distribute commodities either from business to customer or business to business.  Confidence between supply chain partners relies on clear pricing, timing and mode of transport for the goods being delivered.  Continued custom demands an expert supply chain, using effective technology to smooth operations and maximise efficiency in a competitive and complex transport and logistics environment. All of this depends on four key elements of good IT systems in supply chain management (SCM systems), as follows.

SCM Systems Integration

Integrated, up-to-date IT systems is the oil in the supply chain machine. Ensuring consistency and added value in the supply chain means integration of communications between the partners for clear, effective and timely results. When transport management systems (TMS) software among supply chains is compatible, this smooths the whole system and communications.

Managers responsible for ensuring that operations are happening on time and on budget rely on effective quality control systems, specifically, well-trained staff and real time insight into comprehensive, consistently up-dated data.  When partners utilise compatible data formats for information sharing, this ensures greater efficiencies and optimal planning.

Operational Insights

The day-to-day operations for the freight management or transport and logistics company need to be both reliably flexible or consistent for last minute planning changes and confidence in service delivery.  Operations are where the rubber hits the road at every stage of production and delivery and where competitive advantages can be identified and maximised with data harnessing and analysis.

Between inventory insights, monitoring staff on the ground and supply chain information, data help business forecasting and planning.  Enhanced prediction of which supplies will be needed when, where and for whom offers more ways to compete, target marketing for improved returns, plus please service users. Operational insight at both a granular level, or for strategic overview help businesses to consistently and systematically improve performance.

Optimisation in Purchasing

A company purchasing department is responsible for sourcing materials, products, other goods and services necessary to meet their company’s objectives.  Purchasing is the fulcrum for building solid, trusting relationships with supply chains.  Not only do purchasing managers identify the quality and quantities of items for purchasing, they are the key personnel for establishing and maintaining an effective supply chain management system.  Data transparency is essential to their effective budget management.  Innovative supply chain IT systems offer greater insights for comparison of supply chain partners making purchasing and out-sourcing more cost-effective for the company, benefitting customers in turn.  Similarly, with real time data insights on supply chain fees, they can ensure higher performance standards in transport and freight logistics service delivery and better customer service.

Clarity in Distribution

Distribution includes the warehousing coordination and delivery of goods on the ground (or sea or air!).  Timely delivery demands effective and flexible communications between supply chain partners, as much as optimised decisions on mode of transport, load management and awareness of regulatory environments.  This is all part of the complexity in distribution at the centre of supply chain command and control.

Distributors oversee shipment requirements and progress, so need to know not only what is available in inventory, but what may be needed in production planning, as well as checking that the required product quality and quantities are either available or will be planned for.  Distributors also must ensure that the products get to the end-customer on time and in good order.

Their systems must also be equipped to supply appropriate documentation in the right format at crucial delivery stages, such as customs handling.  For compliance purposes and customer peace of mind, contemporary supply chain IT systems can guarantee this.

The four wheels of supply and chain management should ideally be well-integrated to work cohesively for the benefit of all stakeholders.  This not only offers greater customer satisfaction, but more effective supply chain partnerships and greater return of business in turn.  Staff too can reap the rewards, with automation of repetitive tasks that free them up for more challenging, strategic and satisfying work.  Greater confidence in a company of course results in virtuous circles, where continued development, diversification and greater competitiveness ensure future proofing in an increasingly complex transport and logistics sector.  Smoother transportation in supply chain management depends on greater collaboration not only between partners, but between teams and the modular or customised software systems they rely on.