More than 350 shippers weigh in on the trends in transportation management and overcoming the challenges of COVID-19

Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corporation (Odyssey), the global leader in complex logistics and technology solutions, commissioned an independent, third-party firm to conduct an extremely timely, highly relevant research project and e-book: “Meeting the Challenge of a World Transformed.” It is the most recent TMS research available to the industry, gauging the responses of more than 350 shippers in May 2020 as the pandemic was in full force in the U.S. The research results show TMS playing a critical role in increasing shipping transparency, improving risk mitigation, automating cost management, closing the customer communication gap and maintaining remote work capabilities—during and after the pandemic.

As a whole, the research anticipates shippers spending an average of $60 million on domestic freight in 2020. With so much on the line, respondents said that accessing shipment status information (81%) and transportation cost analysis by lane and mode (70%) were highly important for their shipping operations. Respondents’ top major challenges were visibility, track and trace (42%) and communication with customers and carriers (37%).

“It’s critical for logistics professionals to maintain continual communication with customers, yet it’s also the leading cause of disruptions to logistics operations,” said Albert Lee, chief technology officer at Odyssey. “Our research indicates that customer communication is the one activity that consumes the most time for planners and a centralized, automated TMS can reduce this stress and labor.” 

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) said having cloud-based access to shipping operations is either critically important or very important considering the effects of COVID-19 on logistics operations and office support. Today, nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) currently use a TMS, are in the process of implementing TMS or are evaluating or planning to implement TMS within the next 24 months. The top two drivers for using or planning to use TMS were cost management (68%) and track and trace (61%) capabilities. As the pandemic continues, more than half of respondents (56%) said they were very likely or somewhat likely to reassess the integration of a cloud-based TMS.

“Risk mitigation is another important reason for logistics providers to implement TMS,” said Lee. “Our independent study shows that 51% percent of respondents cite improved decision-making and risk mitigation as a goal for TMS implementation—second only to achieving visibility to shipment status at 66%.”