As technology overhauls manufacturing processes, supply chain delays and complex order management tasks can still slow order fulfillment and overburden logistics teams. Even with advanced manufacturing technology like innovative ‘smart’ factories and powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, supply chain managers can easily spend hours with manual order management and disparate shipping information. Order management becomes even more difficult with multiple production facilities, a vast carrier network, and several suppliers.
A decentralized order management process limits visibility and risks crucial data getting lost on different platforms, emails, and spreadsheets. Logistics teams need an automated order management process and centralized data storage system to coordinate mounting orders and complex shipments.
That’s where a transportation management system (TMS) comes in—helping manufacturers stay ahead of dynamic order management duties while syncing an ERP with the order feed. Providing constant access to accurate order data, a TMS helps manufacturing customers and logistics workers through improved transparency and reduced manual tasks.
Connecting with your most-used tools
As business and order volume expand, one of the most challenging aspects of order management becomes ensuring consistent data across disparate logistics, sales, and billing tools. A TMS syncs with one of a manufacturer’s most important resources, an ERP, for continuous transportation oversight and updates.
According to Oracle NetSuite, manufacturing businesses are the main users of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. A TMS ensures this resource is constantly up-to-date by sending consolidated order information and shipping data to the ERP.
The process is simple but effective: the manufacturer sends an order to the TMS. The TMS takes in this information and assigns shipping data such as the carrier, shipment number, shipping costs, and pickup date. The TMS then populates the manufacturer’s ERP with the order’s relevant shipping information.
Josh Miller, CTSI-Global’s Vice President of Sales, says, “A TMS acts as a centralized platform, essentially creating one source of truth.”
With this streamlined order management process, logistics teams can simply enter an order number into the ERP to bring up all of its shipping details. And the benefits of this synchronization and centralization are expansive.
- Transparent customer relationships
An inefficient order management process doesn’t just cause late deliveries. A lack of oversight into complex shipments also manifests in poor customer service. A TMS makes it easier for supply chain managers to maintain transparency and build customer confidence by informing them of real-time shipping statuses.
“Supply chain managers can type the order number into an ERP when a customer inquires about an order. It will pull up all the shipping details, including the pickup date,” explains Miller, “instead of forcing them to search through hundreds of carrier websites.”
- Centralized order documents
A TMS not only manages logistics tasks but also acts as a versatile document repository. This logistics software centralizes the storage of important order documents, so logistics leaders don’t have to worry about getting lost in emails or spreadsheets.
Bills of lading (BOLs), signed proofs of delivery, carrier freight invoices—these vital documents can reside securely in a TMS for easy access whenever logistics teams need them. The data in the TMS then syncs with the manufacturer’s ERP so supply chain leaders can reference all order information in one place.
- Speed through automation
A TMS automates the order management process, making it easier and faster to initiate shipments. With hundreds or even thousands of new daily purchase orders, a manual process of entering order details into an ERP is unsustainable. Especially as a manufacturer grows, manual order management can lead to human error and inaccurate shipping records.
With a TMS, “Users don’t have to manually create shipments, which cuts down on the keystrokes and manual intervention needed,” says Miller. This efficiency then gives logistics teams the breathing room to identify shipping improvements. For example, consolidating orders going to the same or approximate destinations can significantly reduce transportation costs.
Overcoming complexity with a flexible logistics resource
New orders and recurring purchases mark a business’s growth. But as customer demand and order volumes increase, the scattered logistics tools and manual processes teams rely on may not be ready to grow with them.
CTSI-Global’s Honeybee TMS™ scales with surges in orders and seamlessly integrates with your ERP—facilitating worry-free order management. This software creates an all-in-one hub of order statuses, carrier contracts, and delivery dates at a time when establishing shipping expectations is essential for strong customer relationships. With Honeybee TMS™, organize all new, upcoming, and recurring orders with minimal manual intervention and complete supply chain oversight.
Contact us today to meet your dynamic order management needs using technology that grows with you.