Transportation Management Systems (TMS) manage both inbound and outbound processes – the entire shipping process from raw materials to end customer. Most TMS's are used for outbound management, scheduling shipments to arrive at customers’ sites at a price and service level agreed upon. But since a TMS will manage both sides of the equation, companies should use the technology to manage inbound freight as well.
Managing and monitoring inbound shipping processes is often hard to do because of poor visibility and communication within the supply chain. With inbound shipping management, contractors have to rely on producers to produce, schedule, and deliver materials to a jobsite. This takes communication and collaboration to ensure that the right products arrive at the right location at the right time.
It also takes visibility. A successful inbound management program needs to have full visibility into jobsite shipment arrivals and inbound schedules. Contractors and their trading partners benefit from knowing which truck is arriving, the exact time of the delivery, and what manpower is needed, if any, to help unload the truck. Sharing this information in real-time ensures that everyone that needs the information has it and can perform the work needed.
A successful inbound solution includes a detailed view where orders can be tracked in real-time so everyone knows where supplies are at all times, and when new supplies will arrive. Real-time alerts are sent to jobsites so that they will be ready for the delivery of materials – and that the materials have been delivered in the right order at the right time. You need sand and rocks laid before concrete.
Plus, managing inbound shipments lowers time spent in the yard. Drivers must adhere to a detailed schedule for arrivals and departures, keeping to their scheduled time slot. If one truck is late, it can throw off the whole schedule, leaving trucks to idle in the yard while waiting on the other truck to unload. Idling trucks burn fuel, adding to costs, plus the exhaust from the trucks is harmful to the environment.
By managing inbound shipments, contractors save money, provide better customer service, and improve efficiencies. Being proactive towards your customers’ replenishment needs ensures customer satisfaction.