The transportation management system (TMS) marketplace is exploding. A report from Radiant Insights found that this sector will experience a more than 15 percent compound annual growth rate from 2018 through 2025, and reach an estimated $4.88 billion in value.

A whole host of different factors is driving this growth - including the fact that shipping and logistics managers are seeking more sophisticated and advanced solutions to help them manage their transportation needs. One important fact decision-makers must realize, though, is that not all transportation management systems are one-in-the-same. There are certain features you should specifically seek out.

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1) Ability to add and manage carrier partners

Today's shipping and logistics managers oversee all kinds of shipments - including parcel, LTL and FTL, intermodal and international. This often means dealing with multiple different carriers in order to ensure that shipments travel the most efficient route and arrive on time.

In order to meet these needs, you need a TMS that enables you to easily add and manage your relationships with carrier partners. An advanced TMS will allow you to incorporate an unlimited number of carriers, so you can always find the one that will meet your shipment needs.

2) Freight rate shopping

Speaking of efficiency, shipping and logistics managers must also be able to ensure that their dollar goes as far as possible, and this means finding the very best rate for each shipment.

A TMS that supports freight quote shopping is a powerful tool in the current marketplace. Not only does this allow you to get the optimal deal on your shipping and logistics needs, but these savings can also be passed on to your customers, helping support a winning experience and brand loyalty.

3) Real-time tracking

As Supply Chain Digital pointed out, there's no worse feeling for a shipping and logistics manager than when a shipment isn't where it's supposed to be.

"If shipping is a crucial part of your business, you've probably had a panicked moment when a shipment is MIA," Supply Chain Digital noted. "A TMS should prevent such panic attacks."

You and your shipping and logistics team can leave these episodes in the past, thanks to the real-time tracking capabilities provided by a robust TMS. This feature keeps you and your team constantly in the know about the status of every shipment, so you can pass along updates to your customers and recipients. When time is of the essence, real-time tracking is absolutely key.

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4) Auditing and reporting

The best TMS solutions also support insightful auditing and reporting capabilities, helping you stay on top of your organization's overall spend and efficiency.

Invoice auditing shines the spotlight on billing processes, ensuring that everything is accounted for correctly and nothing falls through the cracks. In-depth and customizable reports enable you to make informed decisions about the best ways to leverage available resources, where to reduce spending and how to optimize your overall strategy.

A robust and advanced TMS can make all the difference for today's shipping and logistics managers. To find out more about these key features and the kinds of benefits they can bring for your team, connect with the experts at FreightPOP today.

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