The Best 7 Free and Open Source Transportation Management Software
Business and international trade have evolved and strived a long way forward primarily due to technological innovation. Global transportation advancements have allowed merchants, entrepreneurs, and industrialists to expand geographical boundaries and explore new territories and markets.
Today transport providers focus on faster transit and timely delivery of goods and services. The digitization of transportation has brought a paradigm shift in how manufacturers receive resources, retailers manage their inventory, and e-commerce companies deliver products on the same day. Furthermore, transportation has become smarter with the integration of IoT and Big Data technologies, ensuring improved road safety and real-time vehicle tracking abilities.
Credit must go to the emergence of transportation management software, allowing various companies to streamline their daily transport operations, optimize logistics, and efficiently run the supply chain process.
A Brief Introduction to Transport Management
Transportation management is a diversified skill set that caters to efficiently and effectively managing all transport operations modes. The task also includes vehicle tracking and maintenance, planning seamless freight and movement, and minimizing congestion and vehicle breakdown possibilities.
Transport management also deals with streamlining the activities of logistics, supply chain, and shipping industry. A transport manager has to optimize the route for vehicles, plan for smooth cargo handling, reduce fuel expenses, and ensure that all goods and products are delivered on-time. Modern transportation management has enhanced the customer experience by bringing flexibility and transparency in order fulfillment.
The Purpose of Transportation Management
Transport management incredibly plays a versatile role in fulfilling the various requirements of an organization. The critical purpose of transportation management include-
- Increase Efficiency of Supply Chain- Transportation in the supply chain tends to control and reduce cost, properly segment the shipment, and efficiently move the products from one place to another. It helps to run the supply chain smoothly.
- Speed Up Logistics Operations- Transportation management speeds up logistics operations to increase business visibility. The companies and customers can easily track their shipments in real-time. The organizations can further plan to improve shipping and fleet management, ensuring timely delivery of goods.
- Improving the Inventory Flow- The warehouse owners can optimize their inventory management and provide seamless shipping operations. They can lean out the stock and ensure in and out movement with ease.
- Enhancing the Customer Satisfaction Level- Transport management has bridged the gap between the procurement and shipping process, eliminating all the complexities in dispatching goods. The on-time delivery of products has enhanced the customer satisfaction level to much extent.
- Proper Inspection and Vehicle Maintenance- The role of transport management involves adequate inspection and maintenance of vehicles. Vehicles have to be inspected at regular intervals to remove all possibilities of breakdown during a transit process. Transportation managers also have to maintain the fleet based on the regulations issued by the transport department.
- Planning the Optimal Route for Vehicles- Transporters can manage the different modes of transportation. It includes planning and strategizing optimal routes for vehicles to reach the destination in quick time.
- Mitigating the Risk of Vehicle Overloading- Transport managers also reduce the risks associated with vehicle overloading. They make sure sure that all trucks and containers are adequately loaded strictly according to their capacity.
- Manage and Maintain Accurate Records- Transportation managers can create records of all vehicle fleets, completed trips by each driver, routes followed during the transit, and details of the customers' products.
Role of Transportation Management in Streamlining Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management focuses on three main areas- buying the raw materials, manufacturing it into complete products, and transporting the products to retailers and end-users. Hence transportation is one of the three vital components of supply chain management.
- First, transportation involves the seamless movement of materials, products, and parts from one destination to another. Customers and suppliers are geographically scattered; they need to be transported from one location to its final destination.
- It is essential to note that the supply chain's success depends on the transportation mode's particular choice. The selection of transportation mode relies on various factors such as freight rates, transport time, damage, loss, and considerations of shipping and carrier markets.
- Several logistics activities influence transportation management. These may include costs based on the company's location, manufacturing benefits, and costs incurred on transiting goods to warehouses, retailers, and customers.
- The mode of transportation also determines the cost of managing and maintaining inventory. For example, if someone has opted for a high-speed transportation mode such as air cargo, one has to maintain small stockpiles.
- Supply chain management also depends on responsive transportation methodology. For instance, many transport companies provide cross-docking facilities. It means exchanging of products between the trucks from various suppliers. The truck delivers the goods to the destined location.
- Transportation management helps the supply chain process eliminate the road congestion issues and informs the driver about the roads in advance.
Tips to Effectively Manage Transportation and Shipping
A transportation manager or a shipment company can adopt the following useful tips to streamline transportation and shipping management. These are-
- The first task in hand is to carry out a thorough transportation planning based on GPS systems or choose an automated planning process.
- Make use of visualized planning to optimize space for vehicles and loading of the goods.
- Use Gantt charts to track and manage driver resources and set default assignments.
- Keep the freight documents up-to-date and share the information with other team members.
- Check the capacity management of the vehicle to avoid overloading instances.
- Plan and Optimize the best route to transit goods to the final destination, regardless of any mode- road, rail, water, or pipeline.
- Streamlining inventory and warehouse management is a crucial strategy that ensures smooth transport operations.
Challenges Involved in Transportation Management
Transport management is the backbone for most business enterprises that strive hard to survive in the cutthroat competitive environment. Transport and logistics aim to make the products available to the end-user within the shortest period. But transport management has to also cater to a few significant challenges, which are as follows-
- The biggest concern is updating information related to carrier rates, developing formulas for each shipment, and other such information.
- Use a manual spreadsheet and paper-based work for managing the freights. This can lead to errors when entering the data or misplace the entire paper.
- The transporters do not have access to real-time data related to drivers, carriers, and check-out time of freight.
- The companies make low use of multimodal transportations.
- The organizations do not have precise information on transportation costs, freight spends, and patterns.
- Manual transportation management leads to a lack of scalability and flexibility.
- There may be issues related to billing and invoicing.
If a transportation company wants to efficiently tackle all these issues, it is essential to implement the best transportation management software that offers best-in-class features and outstanding benefits.
What is Transportation Management Software (TMS)?
A transportation management software, also regarded as a transport management system or TMS, is an automated process that uses digitized technology to plan, execute, and streamline goods and shipment movement. A TMS System is closely linked with a supply chain management system, logistics software, and managing a fleet of vehicles.
The transportation management system also optimizes freight management and manages trade-related compliance information and documents to improve customer satisfaction.
The transport management application provides valuable real-time daily insights, ensuring timely delivery of goods to save freight cost and time. TMS is also integrated with ERP or order management software to have improved task coordination.
Who Can Use Transportation Management Systems?
A diverse set of industries can unleash the different benefits of a transportation management system. The major business domains that can use TMS systems include;
Undoubtedly, the free and open source transportation management software is the lifeline of every business organization, regardless of its size. Transport management solutions can also benefit other entities such as medical and healthcare, construction, hotel, restaurant, cab service providers, operating a fleet of trucks, etc.
The Main Features of Transportation Management Software
The core features of transport management software include-
Benefits of Transport Management Software
- Transporters can track their product deliveries in real-time. They can gain more visibility in their vehicle and loads.
- Transport management solutions enable transport companies to minimize their freight spend based on the current supply chain process.
- TMS allows businesses to streamline inventory management and get accurate stock forecasts to enhance supply chains.
- Select the best transportation mode, choose optimum rates and service for each shipment.
- TMS enables electronic billing, invoicing, processing, and auditing. It helps to simplify the accounting process.
- Big Data Analytics and IoT help gain real-time data tracking, and improve customer satisfaction levels, minimizing orders' delays.
- Improved reporting leads to better decision making and taking quick actions.
- Innovation in fleet management leads to improved vehicle performance.
Why Select Free and Open Source Transportation Management Software?
The best free and open source transportation management software has given real impetus to improving managing transport and shipping processes. A free transport management tool proves a boon for startups and small business enterprises. These firms can leverage TMS's benefit even if they do not have sufficient capital or funds to invest in software.
Also, open source transportation management software has made it possible for companies to customize the tools based on their specific requirements. It means that they can add or remove any feature without any hassle.
List of Free and Open Source Transportation Management Software
Comparing the 7 Best Free and Open Source Transportation Management Software
OpenTCS (Free and Open Source)
OpenTCS is a free and open source transportation management software that offers Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS). The transport management tool is free from vendor control that makes it more flexible and user-friendly. Automated Guided Vehicle is an advanced portable robot that simplifies transporting bulky goods and materials with radio waves, magnets, and vision cameras.
The software has become useful for non-continuous conveyors, such as assembling mobile platforms and electric monorail conveyors. The software also proves its worth in simplifying the operation of automated vehicles.
The software has been developed in Java programming language, making it compatible with operating systems. The tool can run both on Linux and Windows, including other platforms. The entire software has been segmented into several components that help to create an entire control system. For instance, the Kernel controls transport management and dispatched orders. The tool even optimizes the route for vehicles. You can download software for free.
- The free and open source transportation management system has been designed to cater to different vehicle types.
- One can use the free TMS System for both the current and newly-created Automated Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS).
- Since it is an open source transportation management software, the developer can easily make changes to the codes and provide extensions for AGVS.
- The software tool is vendor independent, which means that it is compatible with any operating system.
- OpenTCS is also a best-in-class logistics software that helps to manage warehouses and customize communication protocols.
- One can customize the user interface and host interface. to optimize the transport operations and to seamlessly align the tool with other systems.
ATMOS (Open Source But Not Free)
ATMOS or Advanced Transportation Management Open Software is an open source transport management tool powered by Intelligent Roadway Information System (IRIS). The transport management solution is a suite from the SRF company.
ATMOS provides comprehensive transportation planning at the local, regional, and state levels. The software ensures safe and secure transit of goods and people from one destination to another. The company focuses on planning customer-centric strategies and addressing complex movement issues with vehicle detector data management, intelligent lane control signs, and smart road weather information systems.
The software also helps plan, manage, and implement freight solutions, parking and mobility services, train horn quiet zones, and more. One can use the TMS to make transportation analysis to manage, manipulate, and evaluate the data. The travel demand modeling and forecasts are unique solutions where travelers can get insightful transportation forecasts for complicated travel routes and transits.
- ATMOS's transport management system offers a wide range of solutions, such as traffic incident management, congestion management, and pricing.
- The software provides people with alternative routes in route diversion or when a road is temporarily closed, ensuring public safety.
- ATMOS also offers various transit services such as strategic and policy planning, corridor studies and circulators, FTA project development, GIS mapping, electric bus charging, and more.
- The freight solutions include preparing rail plans at the regional and state levels, measuring the freight performance, truck route and corridor planning, and ensuring workforce mobility.
- The transport management software helps analyze, design, and implement pricing technologies to address the congestion issue.
- The software focuses on providing safety during congestion problems.
RidePilot (Open Source But Not Free)
RidePilot is a web-based and open source transportation scheduling software that precisely fits the needs of small business enterprises and non-profit transport companies. RidePilot is a perfect choice for startups looking to schedule trips and even track and manage to report. The software simplifies small agencies' job organizing, scheduling, and monitoring drivers and customers with an underlying database and user-friendly interface. Cambridge Systematics has developed the software.
Cambridge Systematics also provides another viable software solution. TransAM streamlines asset performance management for transport agencies. The software makes project planning, data management, and allocation of grants much more effortless. This is also an open source software.
The transport agencies can view all information on driver, vehicle, and customer, all in one place. Quickly trace the vehicle's current position in real-time. The customers can create one-time, recurring trips with flexible scheduling abilities.
- RidePilot provides trip scheduling allowing transportation agencies to review the current runs and trips to align them effectively.
- The transport management tool enables driver compliance management to lay a specified set of rules for the drivers before starting any trip.
- The software simplifies the administrative functionality of the transport agency to have access across the whole system.
- The driver can use the application to receive real-time vehicle maintenance tracking and record their mileage after completing each trip.
- The users also get access to a wide range of customized templates to generate the reports. Also, it provides custom-tailored query creating tools to get detailed data and format.
- The agencies can store their daily data and manage everyday operations with ease. They can even generate information for grant requests.
freeTMS+ (Free But Not Open Source)
freeTMS+, as the name suggests, is a free transport management tool that helps to automate transportation and freight management. The tool completely integrates and aligns with the transport, shipping, and logistics industry. Furthermore, the transporters can streamline the shipment management that includes managing CMR transport documents, invoices and billings, emails, and sending real-time customer notifications.
freeTMS+ also specializes in managing FTL (Full Truckload) and LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipping processes. The software manages the multimodal transportation system and maritime transport. All these help maximize the costs, optimize the work efficiency, and take the business operations to the next level.
The business data security gets bolstered with a bank-level SSL encryption. Besides that, the user also receives daily automatic data backups and round the data synchronization.
- Create a free account, add the company details, contractors, user names, and transport orders with much ease.
- Easily create CMR documents and invoices in any currency.
- Free transport management software is modern, highly intuitive, and user-friendly.
- Use the transport management system to enhance business productivity with just a few clicks. Also, reduce the data entry errors to save valuable time.
- The software has been built in compliance with the latest TSL industry standards.
- The tool can run effortlessly both as mobile and web applications.
- FreeTMS+ has a built-in system to manage both incoming and outgoing transportations seamlessly.
- Get all the company documents in a single software.
- The transport application also provides a highly mechanized communication system to track the real-time status of deliveries.
Transporters.io (Free But Not Open Source)
Transporters.io is a free transportation management software usually implemented by transporters and vehicle operators to simplify and streamline their business processes.
The software allows transport operators to simplify the online booking process using multiple channels. They can easily manage drivers, assign tasks, track their duty hours, and route. Those involved in the transportation business can automate receiving payment, track deposits, and balances, and keep records of all invoices.
The customer management features include getting round the clock multilingual quotations, viewing all bookings, invoices, and payment information in a single platform. You can record all email communications in one place. The other facilities include booking management, driver and supplier management, accounting management, and pricing management. The software provides a free version and a 30-day free trial for all customers.
- Transporters.io helps to automate the transport business with an intent to maximize revenue.
- The advanced calculator helps to get instant pricing.
- Easily and quickly assign drivers and vehicles to avoid scheduling conflicts.
- Email the job sheets and SMS the details.
- Automatic generation of invoices and allows customers to make online payments.
- Synchronize the invoices with leading accounting systems to keep your financial records up-to-date.
- Get all details about the minibus and coach using one platform, saving both time and access hassle-free tracking.
- This transport management system can easily integrate with other popular tools.
AscendTMS (Free But Not Open Source)
AscendTMS is a cloud-based free transportation management software. The company also provides various other exceptional solutions such as freight management, supply chain management, shipping management, trucking, and logistics management. In addition to these, the versatile tool also offers load management that helps to streamline daily business operations.
The best part about this transportation management software is that it does not require any installation or an initial setup. Since it provides a free version, one need not have to pay any licensing fees as well. The financial summary allows transport operators to keep a track record of the department's performance. This TMS can even handle the dispatch orders efficiently.
The freight management software also provides a robust accounting system that easily integrates with any accounting package. It means that the organization can manage all their day-to-day financial transactions seamlessly, manage invoicing, billing, accounts receivable, and more.
The shipping management system deals with air shipment, container, and ground shipping. It also manages inventory and warehouse.
- The software streamlines the billing and invoicing process to simplify the accounting job.
- Get the load financials to check how the department is performing and make critical decisions.
- The automated workflow engine sends real-time notifications to employees if any critical event takes place.
- The free transportation tool also helps to plan and set the route for the vehicles.
- The real-time vehicle tracking feature allows transporters to know the exact current location of the vehicle.
- The freight management features include real-time shipment tracking, customer and LTL management, an intuitive dashboard, and more.
Snappii (TMS With Free Trial)
Snappi is a free TMS system that offers best-in-class solutions for efficient handling of transportation management, fleet management, logistics management, etc. Apart from these, the software tool is an excellent choice if you are searching for home care services, simplifying the work orders, elevator services, roof and vehicle inspection, and more.
A transport owner can expect to unleash a plethora of benefits by implementing the free transportation management system. First and foremost, the users can get rid of the complexities of paperwork and can fill out the reports quickly. Also, the software helps to seamlessly manage the fleet of vehicles and inspect them at the right time to ensure its longevity. The software offers a free version and a 30-day free trial period.
- Get the digital form and access the mobile chart to view and analyze the transportation expense.
- The truck drivers can carry out a detailed inspection of their vehicles using smart apps.
- The tool helps a great deal in simplifying the billing and invoicing process.
- Manage shipment seamlessly with real-time tracking of goods through bar code scanning.
- Perform a comprehensive inspection of oil and gas transportation and send reports via email to save time and reduce expenses.
You are now familiar with the seven best free and open source transportation management software. But this blog will be incomplete without spotlighting one of the most popular and top transportation management tools, which is Kuebix TMS. Hence, let's find out what this software has to offer.
Kuebix TMS (Popular Choice)
Kuebix is a popular and extensively used free transportation management software that offers optimum transport management solutions aligned with freight intelligence. The tool helps business organizations to optimize supply chain operations through smart predictive analytics, real-time visibility, and more control. Also, it is a SaaS and cloud-powered solution that has revolutionized the transport and freight business.
Kuebix's transport management system perfectly matches both small business enterprise and large-scale industry needs.
The company has also developed API integrations to simplify the carrier management process. It promotes quick onboarding and data sharing. The transport companies can record every shipment detail and have the reports at their fingertips to improve logistics decisions.
The software syncs with NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics to align their ERP model with TMS. Get a 60-day free trial period for Kuebix Pro.
Source: Kuebix TMS
- Connect all carriers automatically to select the best mode for the shipping process.
- The spot quoting feature helps to minimize freight rates.
- Kuebix, the transport management software, can help to book the shipment directly.
- Customers can manage inbound freight more efficiently.
- Generate reports and analytics that enables transporters to understand every aspect of freight expenses.
- Kuebix also provides financial, claims, and carrier relationship management.
- The software also offers various integration benefits such as order, invoice, and custom integrations.
- The Open APIs seamlessly manage orders and deliveries directly from the website.
The transportation management system market revenue is likely to reach upto $202.1 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 20.9%. There are various crucial factors that play a pivotal role in enhancing the TMS's incremental growth, such as digitization of transport services, increased traffic and road congestion, and innovation of supply chain management systems.
The transportation management software is also reaping the benefits of digital transformation trends such as Big Data, the Internet of Things, and workflow automation. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and SaaS-powered tools will substitute the traditional freight management capabilities and carrier brokers.
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