BeyondTrucks BLOG

What Questions to Ask Your TMS Vendor About AI & ML

The transportation industry is undergoing a massive transformation due to the influx of real-time data and the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). For trucking companies and field service operations, a modern Transportation Management System (TMS) can leverage these technologies to optimize operations, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. However, not all TMS solutions are created equal. When evaluating TMS vendors, it's crucial to ask the right questions about their AI and ML capabilities. Here are some key questions to consider.

1. How Does Your TMS Utilize AI and ML?

Understanding the specific ways a TMS vendor incorporates AI and ML is essential. For instance, in the transportation of liquid and dry bulk, AI can optimize load planning to ensure maximum payload efficiency, while ML can predict maintenance needs to prevent unexpected breakdowns.

**Example:** A fleet transporting chemicals can benefit from AI algorithms that optimize route planning based on real-time traffic data and weather conditions, reducing transit times and improving safety.

2. What Real-Time Data Does Your TMS Capture and Analyze?

The value of AI and ML is heavily dependent on the quality and volume of data they analyze. Ask your TMS vendor about the types of real-time data their system captures, such as vehicle diagnostics, driver behavior, fuel consumption, and environmental conditions.

**Example:** In petroleum transportation, real-time data on fuel levels and delivery times can help optimize routes and schedules, ensuring timely deliveries and reducing fuel wastage.

3. Can Your TMS Predict and Prevent Downtime?

Predictive maintenance is one of the significant benefits of AI and ML in a TMS. By analyzing historical data and real-time inputs, AI can predict when a vehicle is likely to need maintenance, allowing for proactive servicing.

**Example:** A carrier transporting construction materials can use predictive maintenance to keep their fleet in optimal condition, minimizing downtime and ensuring that equipment is always ready for the next job.

4. How Does Your TMS Enhance Driver Safety and Performance?

Driver safety is paramount in the trucking industry. AI and ML can analyze driver behavior and provide insights to improve safety and performance. Ask how the TMS uses these technologies to monitor and enhance driver activities.

**Example:** For fleets involved in the transportation of aggregates, AI can detect patterns indicating driver fatigue or unsafe driving behaviors, prompting timely interventions to prevent accidents.

5. What Optimization Algorithms Are Employed for Routing and Scheduling?

Efficient routing and scheduling are critical for reducing operational costs and improving service levels. AI-driven optimization algorithms can significantly enhance these processes. Inquire about the algorithms used and their proven effectiveness.

**Example:** In fuel transportation, AI can dynamically adjust routes in response to real-time traffic data, ensuring timely deliveries and reducing fuel consumption.

6. How Scalable Is Your TMS Solution?

As your business grows, your TMS needs to scale accordingly. AI and ML capabilities should be adaptable to increasing data volumes and more complex operational requirements. Ask about the scalability of the TMS solution.

**Example:** A logistics company handling both chemical and construction equipment transportation needs a TMS that can manage the diverse requirements of each segment while scaling as the fleet expands.

7. How User-Friendly Is Your AI and ML Interface?

While AI and ML offer powerful capabilities, their usability is crucial. The TMS should provide a user-friendly interface that allows operators to easily access and interpret AI-generated insights.

**Example:** For field services managing transportation of construction materials, a straightforward dashboard that displays AI-driven insights on vehicle status, route efficiency, and driver performance can enhance decision-making.

8. What Security Measures Are in Place for Data Protection?

The integration of AI and ML involves handling vast amounts of sensitive data. It's essential to ensure that the TMS vendor has robust security measures to protect this data from breaches and unauthorized access.

**Example:** A fleet transporting hazardous materials, such as chemicals and petroleum, needs assurance that their TMS secures all data related to routes, deliveries, and vehicle status to prevent malicious attacks.

9. What Support and Training Do You Offer?

Implementing AI and ML in your operations requires proper training and support. Ask about the vendor's support services, including training programs for your team to effectively use the new tools.

**Example:** A carrier transitioning to a new TMS for the transportation of construction equipment will benefit from comprehensive training to ensure all staff members can leverage the system's AI capabilities effectively.

10. Can You Provide Case Studies or References

Seeing real-life examples of how other companies have benefited from the TMS’s AI and ML capabilities can provide valuable insights. Request case studies or references from similar industries.

**Example:** Learning how a similar fleet improved their logistics and reduced costs through AI-driven optimization in their TMS can guide your decision-making process.


Asking these critical questions can help you evaluate the AI and ML capabilities of a TMS vendor, ensuring that you choose a solution that meets your operational needs and positions your business for future growth. The right TMS, like BeyondTrucks, can transform your trucking and field service operations, leveraging real-time data to drive efficiency, safety, and profitability.

By addressing these points, you can make a more informed decision when selecting a TMS vendor. Embrace the power of AI and ML to stay ahead in the competitive landscape of transportation and logistics.