How Transport Management Systems Support Bulk Haulage Operators

Bulk haulage operators shoulder the responsibility of transporting heavy and dangerous goods, whilst adhering to road safety regulations and providing accurate customer service. Without an appropriate system in place, it can be very difficult to manage workloads manually and this can lead to big issues for businesses.

In this article, we will explore some of the most common challenges that bulk operators face, and how transport management software can help alleviate these issues.

What is a TMS

Transport Management Software (TMS) is a platform used by haulage operators to help them manage and coordinate their daily transport operations quickly, efficiently and securely. From the creation and allocation of jobs to route planning and monitoring job progress, right through to capturing delivery documents and invoicing customers.

Transport operators within various sectors utilise and take advantage of the many features provided by TMS software, and bulk haulage operators are no exception.

What are the key challenges bulk operators face

Bulk transport operators contend with the complexities of transporting unpackaged, heavy, and loose materials, which can cause instability during transportation. These challenging materials not only make movements difficult but also pose additional hazards. Failure to manage them appropriately can lead to harm and can accelerate vehicle standards regression.

Industry-specific standards provided by associations such as FORS and CLOCS offer best practice guidelines. However, health and safety concerns will always be present. The lack of appropriate systems can lead to the use of unsuitable vehicles for specific job types, causing not only safety issues but also serious breaches of compliance. The DVSA establishes stringent regulations and laws for vehicle capacity levels and loading rules to safeguard road users, pedestrians, and operators from harm. In the absence of effective systems for planners, using the wrong vehicle for a job can create significant problems within the supply chain.

Accurate capture and updating of job information are crucial, especially since bulk operators often charge customers based on the weight of goods. Without systems or direct communications with drivers, this process can be slow and provide a high risk of errors resulting in potential damage to customer satisfaction levels.

Implementing efficient systems like TMS software is vital to address these challenges, ensuring the smooth and safe operation of bulk transport activities.

How a TMS can help bulk transport operators

Using a TMS such as Mandata can help bulk transport operators with many of the issues raised above. Here are a few ways TMS software can help:

  • Efficient routing: Use routing modules to efficiently plan safe journeys for large bulk vehicles, avoiding hazardous roads where possible including low bridges, weak bridges and difficult roads for certain vehicles – which can help avoid routes that could cause damage to vehicles.
  • Bulk order reporting / ‘Drawdown’: Splitting up and planning large deliveries, over multiple jobs on various days without a system can be confusing, and- may lead to mistakes across the delivery process. Using a TMS such as Mandata, planners can see the individual jobs divided up, with all information feeding back to the TMS to show; the initial amount ordered, how much has been delivered, and how much is remaining on bulk orders.


  • Updating job information on the go: Delivery details can often change during a live transport job, and updating this information is key to accurate invoicing. Using a driver app, such as Mandata’s Manifests app, drivers can review the ‘estimated’ weight of the delivery, then compare to the ‘actual’ weight once the load has been weighed. They can then update this number within the app and send this information back to the office ready for staff to amend for greater accuracy.

Hear how Universal Tankers, the vacuum tanker operator who specialises in waste-water removal and water delivery, operating a fleet of 85 vehicles from 22 depots throughout England and Scotland, is continuously supported by an integrated suite of transport management solutions from its software partner Mandata.

  • Walk-around check apps: Using a vehicle walkaround check app, drivers can inspect vehicles before journeys to ensure that vehicle standards are met, which may help to reduce any breakdowns or delivery incidents. This information can also be given to the office staff, helping to plan or prioritise certain vehicles for maintenance.

Andrew Clarke, Operations Manager at HH Tankering says, “One of the biggest benefits of our TMS has been using a Vehicle Checks app. All that information is now in one place, and it’s not paper-related, which can be lost. Having daily checks recorded on our app allows us to comply with any defects that we get reported from drivers and make sure we correct those and record that they’ve been done regularly.


  • Two-way app communication: Using driver apps, such as the ones provided by Mandata, users can communicate business updates and the latest up-to-date training across their whole staff. Not only does this help provide continuity across the business, but also can provide a live view of who has and hasn’t accepted and read any important communication.
  • Weight accuracy: Some TMS platforms on the market don’t include fundamental features such as decimal places when entering weights, meaning that operators could be undercharging or overcharging their customers, especially if the goods transported are priced in tonnes. Mandata ensures that this essential feature is always available for all jobs.

Mandata customer Joanne Clarke at TipWorx says, “Now we’re using a Mandata TMS, we can upload weight, price and any other relevant data and provide the customer with an instant, accurate update, and invoice. I’m delighted to say that the heaps of paperwork, rushed phone calls and potential disputes over deliveries and collections are now a thing of the past.”


  • Accurate delivery locations: Unlike Google Maps, planners can easily pinpoint entry yard coordinates, as many bulk operators deliver into yards which are off road. This exact location will be loaded into the driver’s navigation app, making it easier for drivers to locate the correct destination.
  • Rate tables: Bulk haulage operators can often charge various customers through different pricing models. Some might charge based on weight, distance, or other metrics. TMS platforms like Mandata, can provide pre-built and easy-to-choose price books, which help to create accurate pricing based on the criteria set for that specific customer.
  • Job templates: Many bulk operators have repeat jobs or work types that are very similar. Entering this similar data multiple times can be a laborious task. TMS such as Mandata can save job templates for future use, cutting down on admin time, reducing mistakes and providing continuity with customer service.
  • Compliance: Using a TMS like Mandata can help users to remain compliant. Along with monitoring vehicle maintenance, a TMS helps operators store relevant job documentation, monitor driver hours, and help ensure the right vehicle with correct dimensions and weight limits are used. Due to the size and weight of these bulk vehicles, planners need to correctly identify appropriate roads and routes to suit the conditions of this type of work. TMS helps planners avoid potential obstacles such as low bridges, narrow roads, and hazards including highlighting tricky accesses to sites. This can help businesses obtain industry-standard accreditations including FORS and CLOCS, enhancing business reputation and showcasing industry adherence.
  • Job codes: Add industry-specific codes to jobs and loads, helping operators, drivers and customers to identify exactly what the goods are that are being transported, and giving them the information they need to correctly handle that type of goods.


For bulk transport operations without a transport management system in place, we know it can be a massive challenge to keep track of information, and it doesn’t need to be so hard. By incorporating a TMS like Mandata, bulk transport operators can streamline their operations, enhance safety, and improve overall efficiency, ultimately contributing to the success of their businesses.