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The time is right for many companies to upgrade their transportation management system (TMS) software, according to a new study by MercuryGate International Inc. A TMS vendor itself, MercuryGate can hardly be called a disinterested party. Nevertheless, its recent "Transportation Benchmark Report," conducted by the Aberdeen Group, sees a clear trend among potential buyers of supply chain software. The study of 173 manufacturers, distributors and retailers finds that 91 percent are worried that their current TMS applications will not meet future needs. And nearly two thirds are calling for an improvement in their transportation management technology. According to MercuryGate chief executive officer Monica Wooden, an increasing number of companies are realizing the necessity of a Web-based system that can handle intermodal and international freight needs. "Transportation management is assuming a strategic role in driving supply chain excellence," notes Beth Enslow, Aberdeen's senior vice president of enterprise research. "In recognition of this, most companies are actively reevaluating their transportation management processes, organizational structure, and technology." The Aberdeen study finds that "best-in-class" companies have cut their freight budgets while improving on-time delivery performance; the average respondent saw its costs rise by 10 percent. Some 39 percent of study participants plan to adopt a commercial TMS package, versus 12 percent in Aberdeen's 2004 report.
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