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4 Ways a TMS Supports Bulk Haulage Operators

by Matt Corby,
Mar 22, 2024
how transport management systems support bulk haulage operators
how transport management systems support bulk haulage operators

Table of Contents

For bulk haulers who transport huge quantities of goods, their daily grind involves far more than simple driving. They’re planning efficient multi-stop routes, juggling piles of paperwork for invoices and compliance, and climbing mountains of logistical hurdles long before their trucks leave the yard.

Also, they must maintain open communication with their customers, manage their fleet, and recruit qualified drivers during industry-wide shortages. It’s no wonder bulk transportation companies are always looking for ways to simplify their operations.

Enter transport management systems.

In this article, we’ll cover all the real pain points bulk operators face and how transport management systems help alleviate them.

What is Bulk Haulage?

Bulk haulage refers to the transportation of materials like grains, sand, gravel, petroleum, a range of chemicals, and other commodities that must be transported in large quantities. These bulk goods require specialised trucks like tankers, trucks, and special trailers designed to safely carry mass amounts of cargo. Bulk shipments typically must load and unload at various facilities before reaching their final destination, often requiring multiple stops.

Why Bulk Haulers Need Robust Transportation Management Solutions

Transform management software (TMS) is a platform haulage operators can leverage to optimise their existing processes. A robust TMS offers an end-to-end solution to help business plan and move goods.

In addition to planning daily runs, it also provides real-time vehicle information and documentation connected to the job.

Here are five reasons investing in a high-quality transportation management system (TMS) is a game-changer for bulk haulage companies:

1. Load & Route Optimisation

Manually routing trucks on runs with multiple stops is extremely complex and often results in indirect routes that burn way too much fuel. A TMS uses advanced algorithms and real-time data to plan optimised load sequences and routing for maximum efficiency. Such advanced route planning accounts for factors like traffic conditions, road restrictions, vehicle specifications, and unique product requirements.

But route optimisation goes beyond just finding the easiest path – TMS algorithms can maximise weight utilisation on each truck to reduce the required number of vehicles. Such intelligent load building can group multi-stop shipments in space/weight-efficient configurations based on vehicle constraints.

2. Enhanced Documentation Management

Keeping up with piles of delivery paperwork and compliance documents is a time-consuming headache for bulk haulers. You need to carefully track bills of lading, custom forms, and much more. And when transporting hazardous regulated materials, you run into extra layers of complexity with specific documentation requirements around safety protocols and chain of custody.

A TMS enables digital record-keeping and processing of relevant documentation on a single, centralised platform. This reduces the chance of costly errors, frees up administrative resources, and simplifies audit processes.

3. Real-Time Tracking & Visibility

With your trucks always on the move, bulk shippers often have limited visibility into your vehicles’ exact whereabouts or delivery status until drivers manually check in. This lack of transparent communication can cause stress and frustration when customers start asking questions about their shipments’ ETA.

A quality TMS with built-in GPS tracking empowers shippers and customers with continuous updates on load locations and anticipated arrival times.

4. Smarter Fleet Maintenance

The large and specialised vehicles used for bulk haulage operations require diligent maintenance practices to remain compliant and avoid costly breakdowns. Issues like excessive engine idle time, overweight loads, and parts failures can lead to serious expenses and downtime when not properly managed.

With an advanced TMS, you can monitor critical data and performance metrics to receive preventative maintenance reminders and alerts before minor problems become major failures. Such a predictive maintenance approach maximises vehicle uptime and your fleet’s lifespan.

A TMS Designed with Bulk Haulage in Mind

Whether you’re transporting dry bulk cargo, liquids, or the largest loads on the road, implementing a robust TMS system is key to solving your company’s most complex logistical challenges. If you can streamline your operations and maximise efficiency at every turn, your bulk shipping company can boost productivity, deliver better service to your customers, and cut costs.

If you’re ready to transform your bulk transportation operations, consider partnering with TransVirtual. We’re proud to offer an industry leading TMS that fully accommodates the needs of bulk haulage companies throughout Australia and beyond.

Learn how TransVirtual can support your bulk haulage company today.