A Document Management System (DMS) is the perfect complement to a Transportation Management System (TMS).
A DMS is strong where many TMSs are weak, especially when it comes to capturing, indexing and processing documents.
As a result, a DMS helps overcome some common TMS challenges.
TMSs are designed to increase fleet efficiency, so this is where they devote much of their time and energy.
The upside is that they deliver great results on the fleet side of things. The downside is that they often fall short on dealing with the practicalities of back-office paperwork.
1. No Way to Ingest Documents
There’s often a gap between capturing documents and getting them into your TMS. This gap is often filled with people doing manual work, either opening envelopes and scanning paper or opening emails and dragging and dropping files.
A DMS helps close this gap by ingesting documents from a variety of sources. It can monitor an inbox and automatically capture incoming freight documents sent in from in-cab scanners, terminals, and/or mobile capture apps. Or if drivers are still dropping off trip packs at the office, it can greatly reduce the manual indexing process, which brings us to challenge number two.
2. Too Much Indexing
A TMS stores a lot of valuable indexing information on BOLs and/or rate cons. A DMS allows you to look up this information in your TMS. So if you enter an order number, the rest of the information you would normally need to enter (customer, date, amount, etc.) can be grabbed from the TMS, automatically entered and also attached to the document, speeding things up down the line.
A DMS also comes with options like OCR and/or barcodes that can help further speed up this process and automate even more of the manual work.
3. Poor Document Visibility/Missing Documents
A TMS doesn’t always provide an easy way to view freight documents like BOLs, PODs, and accessorials.
A DMS makes these documents visible from within your TMS.
It also helps better manage these documents, for instance, by automatically checking them in and matching them with the correct load in the system. It can even notify the TMS when all documents required for billing have arrived (configurable to unique customer needs), making rendition billing seamless.
More generally, a DMS ensures that anyone within your organization can access documents from anywhere in seconds.
What Else Can a DMS Do?
Overcoming these challenges is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what a DMS can do for a TMS.
Because a TMS makes processes more digital, it creates opportunities to automate more manual work. By implementing a DMS with a powerful automation engine, you can capitalize on these opportunities to drive greater returns on your TMS investment.
If you’d like to learn more about how this can be done, sign up for the webinar we’re hosting on January 23rd that’s all about how a DMS can supercharge your TMS.
Steele Roddick is a Content Specialist at Microdea where he creates content that helps transportation companies drive their business forward. He’s endlessly fascinated by technology trends, chess, and discovering new places to travel with his wife.