October 18, 2021
A transport management system, or TMS, is vital to businesses that need to ship, move, or receive goods regularly. Wholesale manufacturers and distributors, retail businesses of all kinds, and e-commerce companies all rely on transport management systems to keep their supply chain running smoothly. A good TMS will simplify the process of planning, executing, and optimizing the movement of incoming and outgoing goods, while ensuring proper compliance and documentation management.
Depending on the size, needs, and projected growth of a business, different features of a TMS will be more or less beneficial. For smaller companies, it may previously have been sufficient to work with spreadsheets and avoid incurring the cost of a large software overhaul, but thanks to the cloud-based TMS solutions available today, even small businesses can reap the benefits of greater organization and efficiency.
https://thefreetms.com/ has a completely free subscription tier for fewer users, making it ideal for smaller companies with a smaller fleet. They’ve earned the moniker “The Free TMS” for this reason. AscendTMS boasts a user experience so simple that there is no need for a demo of its product and that users can begin booking loads within one minute of beginning to use their software. It is also 100% cloud-based, so there is no installation required whatsoever. For fewer than two users, the price remains completely free. Paid subscriptions, which also include 15 premium features such as driver track and trace, instant load funding, and a booking assistant are $79 per user per month.
https://jungleworks.com/tookan/ specializes in serving all delivery management needs, making it a good fit for several industries, such as catering, trucking, taxi dispatch, and many more. Tookan allows you to optimize your routes based on delivery locations to reduce time and costs. They price their services based on tasks the TMS completes each month, rather than the size of the fleet or number of users. This allows companies to easily scale as their business grows. For companies in earlier stages with 200-700 tasks, the monthly price is less than $100. As the system executes more tasks, the price increases accordingly. There is never a limit to the number of users or agents, making it a flexible choice for companies of all sizes.
https://www.oracle.com/scm/logistics/transportation-management/ is one of the more popular systems available. Given that Oracle is the second-largest software provider in the world, its TMS is a leader of the industry, capable of providing features that other competitors simply can’t afford. These features include advanced security, more powerful performance, and energy efficiency. However, many of these features may be unnecessary or even prohibitively expensive for smaller operations, making it a great solution for larger enterprises.
https://onfleet.com/ prides itself on delivering the most advanced last-mile solutions that promise to delight its client’s customers. Onfleet comes with a modern and intuitive smartphone app for drivers complete with automated SMS notifications and driver tracking for customers. As an international business, the software is utilized in over 90 countries. Onfleet’s strong suit is customization, allowing their users to analyze various metrics within their logistics and filter tasks by text, time, or status to find drivers, customers, and deliveries in real-time. Onfleet allows users to begin with a full trial and then offers monthly pricing for small operations from $149/month to much larger companies for $1,999/month.
https://transportation.trimble.com/products/transportation-management sets itself apart by providing additional data to users regarding their equipment. Their clients are more specialized transportation services including truckload shipping, brokerages, refrigerated (reefer) trucks, and LTL (less than load). Trimble provides fleet management including route optimization and load planning, as well as equipment management. Customers can also utilize additional administrative features like payroll, document management and accounting. While Trimble doesn’t disclose pricing publicly, reviews maintain their rates fit them best with a company with a mid-size fleet range of around 50-100 vehicles.
https://superdispatch.com/ is sometimes referred to as only SuperDispatch. As its name indicates, the company focuses primarily on automobile transport dispatching. With a tagline that emphasizes replacing the paperwork, phone calls, and many apps of yore with a single all-in-one transport platform, Super Dispatch wants to be the streamlined solution for carriers and shippers. Key features include car inspection management, VIN lookup, GPS tracking, and even employee management. With pricing starting at $55/a month, this is an affordable solution for all auto transport businesses of any size.
https://truckstop.com/product/tms/ was designed with small to midsize fleets and freight brokerage firms in mind. According to the company’s description, its sweet spot for users and fleet size is fewer than 25 trucks and 20 concurrent users. Given these specifics, ITS Dispatch has honed its understanding of small to midsize fleets to give users just what they need, and none of what they don’t. Its Owner-Operator and Carrier plans ($50 and $75 monthly, respectively) feature all the tools needed to manage fleets and administration efficiently, while its Carrier Pro premium plan ($99 monthly) comes with add-ons such as driver messaging and sales management for those looking to branch out.
https://www.descartes.com/solutions/transportation-management is another excellent option for enterprise organizations with much larger fleets (usually over 1000 vehicles). Given this capacity, Descartes provides management solutions not just for vehicles on the ground, but those in the ocean and air as well. Given its size and resources, the platform has wider abilities to manage the flow of freight with unparalleled connectivity to transportation providers, as well as integrated private fleet management, and smooth integration with customs compliance for international travel. Because of this vast scope, Descartes' various TMS packages are priced according to specific business needs.
https://www.onenetwork.com/supply-chain-management-solutions/intelligent-logistics/transportation-management-systems-tms/ is a TMS tailored to mid-sized businesses. One Network is unique in that its transportation planning engine is powered by an underlying “Real Time Value Network,” which allows users to harness the capability of continuous and incremental planning. This means that users can match plans to actual conditions as they change in real-time, allowing for greater efficiency and re-routing to fit the many day-to-day changes that freight businesses encounter. While One Network does provide a free trial to users, its pricing model is protected and requires users to reach out for customized information based on their needs.
https://www.manh.com/products/manhattan-active-transportation-management is another TMS that can help their clients manage all modes of transportation, including ocean, rail, truck, air, and courier. Manhattan Associates services primarily enterprise organizations and market itself as an expert in “what-if” scenarios for shippers and carriers. This allows customers to prepare better for future large-scale operations. Manhattan Associates TMS also prides itself on being extensible, and “the only cloud-native SaaS TMS that can be extended without impacting regular updates.” This puts the TMS on the higher-end for pricing, but at a cost that is worth it to large companies looking for more cutting edge end-to-end transportation management.
Given these choices, overall the best fit for small businesses — those with twenty or fewer vehicles — is likely AscendTMS, as it has an unlimited free subscription for fewer than two users. Other systems may give free trials but this is the best option for long-term use. For a mid-size business with more than twenty but fewer than a hundred vehicles, we’d recommend Onfleet for its customization capability. For larger enterprises with 100 or more vehicles in their fleet, the leader of the industry is Oracle, and there’s no question that they’re the most capable for a large fleet for the cost.
No matter what the size, once a business exceeds a certain scale within its industry, the organization is key to avoid costly delays or inefficiencies that can hinder growth. As customers demand their goods delivered quickly and with more information about tracking and logistics, a TMS can mean the difference between a satisfied return customer and lost business.