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Freight broker software, also known as a transportation management system, is the computer software used to control the transportation portions of a supply chain. These software packages generally operate in three phases; planning shipments, monitoring deliveries and creating records for delivery processes. Originally, these programs monitored transportation matters only and were often stand-alone programs. Now, it is very common to find freight broker software as modules in a full enterprise management system.
The first common aspect of freight broker software is the planning of shipments and deliveries. This software helps determine when loads need to leave for deliveries or when shipments need to arrive for processing. A good piece of freight broker software will factor in variables like processing time and variation in shift production in order to ensure that the shipments arrive exactly when they should.
The second common job of freight broker software is in the execution of deliveries. This is generally the most hands-on part of the software, as it usually deals with actual people and shipments in real time. This part of the software plan routes, finds alternate methods of shipment and keeps drivers in contact with a central station. In general, this is the application of the methods from the planning phase.
The last common aspect of these software packages is as a transportation bookkeeper. These systems keep track of the paperwork, logbooks and regulations for the company. For instance, if a particular shipment needs a driver with special training, the software will make sure one is on hand for the shipment; if a delivery requires special clearance or customs information, the software will make sure that the proper people are alerted to the issue.
While there are still several companies that make top-quality freight systems, they are much less common than they were several years ago. Many modern enterprise software packages contain a series of installable modules that cover all aspects of freight brokering. These software packages handle all aspects of a business, from development to marketing, sales, and delivery.
Generally, these programs work via separate installed modules. The basic program is essentially a shell that has only the most basic of functionality. As a company expands, it buys more modules that cover additional areas of its business. These modules all install into the original shell, keeping the company’s software user-friendly and very compatible. The freight systems in these programs generally connect with other associated departments such as sales and human resources, allowing the system more freedom to recognize inefficiencies in the delivery systems.