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Fleet Management Systems – Tangerines vs. Grapefruit

Fleet Management (tangerine) and TMS (grapefruit) transportation systems are not the same. They are utilized for different transportation modes, provide various functionality, cater to different transportation operations, and, for the most part, their vendor pool is different.

Tangerines and grapefruits have different characteristics, such as size, color, tartness, and sweetness. They are still in the citrus family, but these characteristics may appeal to different people. The same goes for Fleet Management and TMS, with their functionality appealing to different transportation modes and operations:

  • Fleet Management is designed to manage “internal” fleet operations (shipping assets and resources); private/owned vehicles or contracted fleets dedicated to the client’s operation
  • A traditional TMS manages transportation operations with for-hire “common carrier” modes; TL, LTL, and IM. If a TMS is set up correctly, it can incorporate a fleet by assigning it as a “carrier” and interacting with it as it does with the for-hire carriers.

To cater to the above operations, the following are differences in their functionality:

  • Fleet Management includes managing the freight vehicles maintenance, driver safety and compliance, routing optimization, and round-trip/closed-loop routing execution
  • TMS includes only managing the routing optimization and execution and one-way route direction (s) set up for inbound (rare), internal, outbound, and returns

To keep the comparison going, let’s say most of the time, tangerine orchards only specialize in tangerines. But the grapefruit orchards are different; some specialize in grapefruits, where others have tangerines as well. It is the same for these two types of transportation solutions. U.S. Fleet Management vendors typically specialize in only fleet management. Traditionally, U.S. TMS vendors primarily focus on truckload, less-than-truckload, and intermodal Over-The-Road (OTR) modes. A small percentage of TMS vendors offer Fleet Management Systems solutions, as well.

Understanding your achievable future-state transportation operations will drive you to choose the right transportation solution for your tastes.

Stay tuned for more blogs that continue to explore shipper’s OTR transportation systems.

–Jess Kittrell, St. Onge Company

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From thousands of entries, we are one of only 591 companies honored.

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