Automating Transport Processes

Maxime Petit

Maxime Petit

Consultant - Transportation & Networks

Automation plays an increasingly significant role in the modernization of business processes, and the supply chain is no exception. Companies worldwide are seeking ways to optimize their logistical processes to remain competitive in an ever-evolving market. In this article, we will explore the impact of automation on the supply chain, specifically focusing on the transportation domain. The selection of tools presented below highlights the advantages in terms of operational efficiency and flexibility, while considering the challenges and logistics trends in 2024.

Current Logistics Challenges

Before introducing digital tools in logistics, this section provides an overview of the key logistical challenges facing businesses in 2024. In this year, it is essential to be familiar with the term ‘resilience’ to navigate the logistics field. Only 21% of supply chain leaders believe it to be sufficiently resilient (data from 2024). Indeed, recent global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts, and climate change have posed significant challenges for supply chains, including inflation of raw material prices, increased transportation costs, new consumer expectations, and heightened environmental requirements.

Automating Transport Processes

One of the options to address these new challenges is to automate processes. Indeed, automation will allow freeing up from administrative tasks and focusing on data analysis and proactive decision-making. Below, we will present several automation solutions for transport management, traceability, and procurement.

Transport Management

Transportation Management Systems (TMS)

When transportation is a crucial aspect for a company, implementing a TMS is often the primary step to automate transport management and make it more efficient. A TMS provides a centralized platform to plan, execute, and optimize transportation operations, thereby gaining efficiency, visibility, and control over transport flows. The key functions of a TMS include:

  • Shipment planning
  • Route optimization
  • Collaboration with carriers
  • Delivery tracking
  • Automated document management
  • Performance analysis

Furthermore, the main benefits observed among our clients after implementing a TMS are:

  • Reduction in transportation costs (5 to 15% according to Gartner)
  • Improved visibility into transportation operations
  • Automation of repetitive tasks (data entry, document management, report compilation)
  • Increased service levels
  • Enhanced internal and external collaboration with suppliers/clients
  • Reinforcement of regulatory compliance

To learn more about implementing a TMS and how we successfully achieved it for one of our clients, check out our case study here.

Vehicle Route Optimization

For companies whose transportation focuses mainly on last-mile delivery, it would be more relevant to prioritize the adoption of a vehicle route optimization tool (Routing Tool). Such a tool focuses on network and load optimization. A Routing Tool can take into account a wide variety of parameters such as truck capacity, opening and closing hours of delivery or pickup points, handling constraints, downtime, etc., and propose different optimization options, such as mileage minimization, carbon emission reduction, minimizing trips with suboptimal loads, or considering driver-related constraints. 

At Conseil2.0, we have successfully assisted numerous clients in implementing TMS or routing tools. However, we can also help you with the preliminary analysis of your transportation management automation needs. To determine if these systems are necessary for your company, check out our article here.

Real-time Traceability

A traceability software provides real-time information on the status of deliveries, a functionality not included by default in a TMS. The tracking tool allows identifying each batch of goods uniquely, tracking the logistics flow of each batch, obtaining precise location of each item, and receiving notifications with each status update. The benefits of such a tool include:

  • Real-time visibility
  • Delivery time management
  • Better synchronization of operations
  • Improved quality of customer service
  • Predictability of the supply chain

A traceability software can focus on external or internal fleet. In the case of an external software, such as Shippeo, the focus is on tracking receptions and deliveries at suppliers’ and customers’ premises to provide them with real-time tracking. Conversely, with software focusing on internal fleet, data can be used to better synchronize operations, perform preventive maintenance, or gather extremely useful data for potential future improvements. To know more about the importance of traceability, consult our article here.

Transport Procurement

A significant part of the transportation process lies in purchasing transport services themselves. Indeed, few organizations internalize all these processes. Often, companies prefer to lose some degree of control over their transport in exchange for economic and organizational gains by outsourcing transport management. To avoid a total loss of control over transport and maximize cost reduction, it is essential to have the most efficient transport procurement process possible. Obviously, as a strategic part of logistics, this function presents significant potential for automation. There are several digital tools to automate strategic transport procurement function, such as Coupa, Jaggaer, or Keelvar.

From an automation standpoint, these solutions allow:

  • Centralizing communication
  • Automating bid calculations
  • Comparing bids against each other
  • Strengthening and speeding up the decision-making process

The operation of such a system is as follows: data collection and cleaning remain activities that must be carried out upstream of the solution and cannot be replaced by the solution. Once this data is cleaned and prepared, it can be uploaded into the system. From there, the entire process can take place within the system, where the tender is created and launched. Suppliers can submit their bids directly into the digital procurement solution. It is also possible to collaborate with suppliers, request additional information, up to the awarding of the contract to the selected supplier(s). Thus, email exchanges and complex Excel document comparisons become obsolete, while allowing humans to retain control over the tool.

One of the main strengths of such a solution lies in its analytical component in transport procurement. Indeed, with a reliable data source and a few supplier offers, the tool can perform powerful calculations and suggest complete or partial market allocations based on numerous constraints defined by the buyers. It is possible to compare different scenarios such as:

  • Maximum number of carriers globally and/or by region
  • Adherence to the transport capacities (number of available trucks) of each carrier
  • Minimum percentage of historical carriers
  • Consideration of any other constraints specified during an RFI (EDI capabilities, ESG vision, systems used by the carrier, etc.)

Finally, the use of such a tool can be autonomous, meaning it does not require pre-implementation or complex integration with other systems. A reliable and comprehensive data source (e.g., from a TMS) is sufficient!


While we sincerely hope that this article has inspired you and encouraged you to delve into the implementation of a new transport automation solution, we encourage you to do so thoughtfully and rigorously. Indeed, using such tools requires not only skills in computer engineering and data management but often involves new processes that can impact the organization and operation of the entire supply chain. That’s why adopting the right approach is crucial. At Conseil 2.0, we recommend a general 5-step approach:

  1. Assess the need: Identify pain points, map the current IT architecture, agree on the overall company strategy.
  2. Prioritize initiatives: Categorize pain points, evaluate internal competencies, prioritize opportunities.
  3. Select the solution: Inform yourself about different solutions, conduct a tender, consider non-IT aspects (People & Process).
  4. Implement the solution: Integrate the system into the company’s architecture, test the solution, train users, communicate, go-live.
  5. Ensure its operation: Confirm that integration is adequate, ensure team buy-in.

With these sources of inspiration and an example of a methodological approach, you are now a little more equipped to embark on or continue your digital transition. If you would like to discuss this in more detail or have any questions or suggestions on the subject, feel free to contact us.

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