Customized and scalable: With so many variables in both a customer's business as well as in the ever-evolving TMS space, TLC offers a scalable system in its TM-One, a scalable transportation services solution. "It operates on an on-demand platform and customers can choose a variety of components to scale the system to fit their exact needs, giving them maximum flexibility," says Melville. "If a company makes an acquisition or has a 20-percent increase, they need a TM system to handle those changes effectively."
TM-One took the best of what outsourcing, on-demand, and self-administering models offer. "With TM-One, you have the benefits of on-demand, which is low initial cost––yet it isn't a cookie-cutter solution and can be customized to your requirements, unlike the traditional on-demand model," says Melville. "The biggest advantage of the TM-One model is you are in our system with other large and small companies, so there are more opportunities for savings in continuous moves and in multi-vendor tours."
Rating engine: The core of HK Systems' HKTMS product is its rating engine, which integrates a company's business model with its shipping model. "In determining the least expensive shipping option, a decision can be overridden by carrier preferences built into the model," explains Haverstock. "For example, a particular LTL could be the cheapest, but the serviceability in that area isn't up to delivery standards set by that company. The system has all the rates of a company's carriers, so it dynamically rates from a rate-shop perspective while also considering business rules within the company."
Bob Carver, vice president at HK, adds HKTMS is deployed on site at the shipping point. "Our system is not a network solution, but a point solution," Carver explains. "We deal primarily in high-volume, high-value environments requiring heavy parcel and heavy LTL-type shippers and in the food industry that could be a specialty-type retailer fulfilling case-level orders." HKTMS analyzes batch shipments and chooses between parcel and LTL based on the rating engine considering both business and shipping models.
Freight accrual functionality: Next Generation's Freight-Master TMS system focuses on providing financial data, which controllers and CFOs desire, especially in light of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, says Riske. "We also utilize FreightMaster TMS for our freight management services to provide freight accrual generation information because financial departments had no exposure or visibility into what their freight expenditures were before."
A critical element of FreightMaster is its unlimited user licensing, allowing for any number of company divisions and any number of users to reside on the same system, explains Riske. "We also have advance security features that enable the administrator to restrict access or provide access to any one user."
FreightMaster TMS, a server-based system running on a Microsoft SQL server 2005, is hosted on a company's server and is available as an ASP on-demand model.
"Orders are entered into the system in real time and are rated based on carriers' rate tariffs," Riske says. "Companies can easily tender loads electronically and do some load planning within the system to build load consolidations. What used to take house in tendering loads now only takes minutes, thus increasing productivity while improving operating efficiencies."
Creating connectivity: Sterling TMS is an on-demand, multi-tenant solution that is easy to deploy and provides multiple integrating options to connect with multiple trading partners on the inbound and outbound sides, says Rick Kelley, vice president of market development. Optimization occurs in utilizing capacity, building consolidated loads, and selecting carriers at the right time and price.
"Sterling TMS is the only TMS solution on the market AS2-certified with Wal-Mart to interact with their fleet and their backhaul program. So this offers a great value-add for our food manufacturers doing business with Wal-Mart," says Kelley. He likens its use to Hoover's in that it's a leased service.
The differentiator for Sterling TMS is its capacity center, notes Peter Wharton, product marketing manager. "If you have a time-critical load and you're struggling to find a carrier, you can see which shipments are being delivered in your area so you can optimize capacity out there," Wharton explains. "It's a win-win-win situation because carriers optimize their assets; shippers have visibility to capacity they might not have had access to before; and customers like it because they are getting their goods delivered on time."