Tariffs Just the Latest Reason to Implement a TMS Solution

As if you needed another reason to embrace the cost-saving, capacity-finding, efficiency-boosting, customer-pleasing benefits yielded by the use of a well-designed and deployed TMS platform – the Trump Trade War and associated tariffs add another unexpected cost to already-squeezed transportation budgets.  Few industries are feeling the pinch of tariffs more than food production.  Here are some ways food shippers can harness the value of logistics IT solutions to protect their margins. 

First, let’s look at the latest body blow to food shippers’ operating costs. “Tariffs adding cost to food production” trumpets the headline in the Wall Street Journal.  From the WSJ piece, “Prices for California almonds have fallen by more than 10% over the past two months, the WSJ’s Lucy Craymer reports, leaving farmers squeezed as they prepare for a likely record harvest season. The rising worries on almond farms are part of the growing impact that tit-for-tat tariffs are having on American agriculture products. Almonds are likely to be hit hard because the U.S. is the world’s largest producer and exporter of almonds, with 80% of the global supply coming from California. Some U.S. agriculture suppliers may hope to get around the rising barriers by transshipping goods through other countries. But China has quietly closed a trading loophole that for years allowed large volumes of American almonds to be transported into the country through Vietnam without incurring import taxes.”

The current glut in the almond market and its depressive effect on prices would have been painful enough for almond growers to endure.  But, the additional burden of tariffs, rising fuel costs, unprecedented capacity constraints and other factors make the current transportation environment hard to sustain.

TMS and Associated Solutions to the Rescue!
For food shippers in particular (but true for all types of shippers), contemporary, modular TMS platforms deliver a powerful array of tools and processes that can shave as much as 15% off of overall transportation spend, all while improving service to their customers and enhancing their competitive advantage.  Beyond the well-known savings to be captured by automating transportation logistics processes and eliminating inefficient error-prone spreadsheet/telephone management of shipping, today’s best TMS solutions deliver:

Real-Time Temp-Controlled Shipment Tracking – through integration with FourKites, keep up-to-the-minute tabs on the temperature settings of cold-chain freight in transit to avoid costly consequences of foodborne illness cultivated during shipping.  This feature ensures greater FSMA compliance for food shippers


Taken as a whole, the utilization of today’s cloud-based TMS solutions can help well-offset the increases being experienced due to tariffs and other trends driving operating costs higher- often for as little as $4 per load!


Spot Quote Bid Reporting – providing competitive bidding for spot quotes and leveraging the data captured to understand what the market will actually bear instead of simply accepting “market rates” as defined by the carrier base. Especially useful for food shippers during production peaks in a tight capacity environment.

Advanced Scheduling – ensuring more exact pickup/delivery times, reducing dwell times, optimizing Hours of Service, increasing DC throughput and providing visibility into dock door utilization

Optimization to Minimize Empty MilesPowerful algorithms work to produce the most efficient multi-stop routes, so frequently required in the transportation of foodstuffs. Used in concert with TMS and proximity search capabilities, this solution element delivers improved backhaul utilization, more frequent continuous moves and far fewer wasted costs on empty miles.

Taken as a whole, the utilization of today’s cloud-based TMS solutions can help well-offset the increases being experienced due to tariffs and other trends driving operating costs higher- often for as little as $4 per load!