In order to ship products to customers, most warehouses need to either:
- Book transport services from outside carriers, or
- Manage their own fleet of transport vehicles.
The transports are generally managed in a separate system. In order to get an efficient and error-free workflow, you want to eliminate as many manual steps as possible. A good solution should:
- Involve as little manual data-entry as possible.
- Be fully automatic when transferring data.
A popular solution in the Northern European market is to use a transport administration system (or TA system). These are software platforms for shipping which sit between the party which wants to ship something (such as a warehouse) and the actual carriers. The TA system presents a uniform view of all carriers, which means that if you ever want to switch carriers, no additional software development will be required.
There are also transport management systems (TMSes) which are similar to TA systems. In this article we use TMS and TA system interchangeably.
When using a transport system together with the Ongoing WMS, there are three kinds of parties involved:
- The warehouse.
- The TA system.
- The carriers.
Schematically, a workflow involving an integration with a TA system looks like this:
This is what the workflow looks like in more detail:
- An order is placed in the Ongoing WMS. This can either be done manually, or the order can arrive automatically via an integration with an ERP or web shop.
- The warehouse operator picks and packs the order.
- The warehouse operator checks that the correct carrier has been selected for the order, and then fills in the remaining information which is required for booking transport (e.g. number of pallets or collies).
- The warehouse operator can now use the integration to send all the required data over to the TA system, with the click of a button.
- The warehouse operator goes into the TA system and prints the transport labels and finishes the shipment. This, in turn, will cause the TA system to send the information to the carrier.
- Optionally, the TA system can send back tracking numbers and tracking links to the Ongoing WMS.
Which TA system?
The most important consideration when choosing a TA system is that it needs to support the carriers which you intend to use. You also need to consider if you have any special demands on the workflow - for instance if you need the TA system to be able to automatically print transport labels.
The Ongoing Warehouse WMS currently has integrations available with the following TA systems:
Furthermore, the Ongoing WMS has integrations with the following TMSes: