Cloud TMS, transport management systems are becoming an increasingly popular choice for haulage operators. They offer convenient access to software, without the worry or expense of maintaining an IT infrastructure associated with storing and securing mission critical data and documents.
The term ‘Cloud TMS’ describes a transport management system made available to users via the Internet – providing secure on-line access, normally on a ‘user’ subscription basis, for an agreed term. It makes it easier for hauliers to manage costs, secure data and provide mission critical services to users quickly and easily.
A cloud TMS provides hauliers with secure remote access to functionality they need to manage their collections and deliveries from order through to invoice.
It’s worth noting functionality varies greatly by vendor. So does the regularity of updates and the services vendors provide. Generally speaking, when you subscribe to a cloud TMS, your vendor will provide feature updates, data storage and data back-ups too, allowing you to focus on your business, and less on the IT or technical aspects of operating your back-office system.
Secure, cost efficient and flexible. Cloud transport management solutions offer a range of benefits to haulage operators and their users:
You can be up and running quickly. If you’ve chosen an out-of-the-box Cloud TMS solution you’ll be provided with log in details once you’ve subscribed. It’s worth noting you may need support to set up your system and training to help get you started.
No up-front capital costs. Typically, there are no up-front capital costs involved. There’s no need to purchase computer hardware equipment to host the system. Your software vendor will look after this for you.
Flexibility to work anytime, anywhere. You and your staff will have secure remote access to information held in your TMS. This means you’ll have freedom to access your central data, without physically being in the office.
Takes some of the stress out of operating your haulage business. For any haulage operator, being able to view and update back-office systems from home or any other location (via the Internet) can take the stress out of running a haulage business. Being able to see if work is going to plan, or to make updates without having to access the office makes life easier for you and your staff.
How a Cloud TMS can make invoicing easy – Remote workers such as administrators can raise invoices wherever they are. There’s no need to call in to the office to scan or copy documents. POD’s can be saved automatically behind each job and electronic copies emailed out with invoices. No manual processing, printing or postage required.
Supporting your changing business needs. If your business grows and you need more people to use the system, there’s normally flexibility to add users quickly. Your software vendor should have the capacity and infrastructure in place to cope with the changing demands your growing business is likely to place on it, such as an increasing volume of jobs and transactions and the capacity to store and secure all the resulting documents such as electronic proof of delivery (POD’s).
Greater visibility and joined up decisions. Being able to see planned jobs and real-time resource availability fosters greater collaboration between depots. Imagine being able to plan work around where your vehicles are and what maintenance work is required. It makes decision-making easier as everyone can see all the information they need.
No IT or software expertise required. Your Cloud TMS vendor is responsible for providing you with a working system. They’ll have the IT expertise to make sure all the relevant security updates, data back-ups etc are made, so you don’t have to. For companies with or without their own in-house IT staff, a cloud TMS can be an effective and economical solution, free from the worry of maintaining the system such as daily data back-ups.
Peace of mind. If you host your own TMS you’ll need to make sure the correct security updates and data back-ups are made regularly. When you use a cloud TMS it’s your vendor’s responsibility to ensure timely updates are carried out. With a Cloud TMS you can get on and manage your haulage business without the worry or technical know-how associated with maintaining your own IT systems.
Costs easily managed. Vendors often provide the functionality of a TMS on-line for a fixed-price monthly fee, often charged per user or per vehicle per month, so you can manage and forecast costs easily.
What are the main differences between a Cloud and server-based TMS?
Transport management software normally resides on the software provider’s infrastructure. They will manage the maintenance of the transport management application for you, such as applying automatic software updates and carrying out data back-ups.
Other vendors may offer desktop-to-cloud applications where an application is downloaded to the user’s desktop and information is continually uploaded to the cloud. Any new updates or bug-fixes are automatically made when the user next logs into the system.
Are there any disadvantages to using a Cloud TMS?
A downside to cloud-based software is that you must have Internet access to operate the system. If you do not, then a server-hosted TMS will be best for you.