Transportation Management System (TMS) Compass

Our perspective on the Transportation Management System Market

With this study, Deloitte offers an overview of the market for Transport Management Systems (TMS). How are provider and service portfolios structured in each region? Which functionalities and business processes do the TMS models offer? To what extent are more recent developments like robotic process automation featured in TMSs? This report helps you gain new insights and ideas for selecting or designing your own TMS.

By the year 2024, global freight volume is forecast to surge to 92.1 billion tons. Trends in the transportation market affect this high increase in volume. These trends can be divided into exogenous and endogenous influence factors.


Exogenous influene factor
Factors that affect a company. These trends can only be influenced by a company to a very limited degree:

  • Cost pressure
  • Demand fluctuation
  • Governance regulations/compliance
  • Individualization
  • Staff shortages
  • Risk/Interruptions
  • Complexity
  • Sustainability
  • Changed consumer behavior


Endogenous influence factors
Factors that are driven by a company rather than by external factors and can be manipulated to favor the company´s needs:

  • Digitalization of business processes
  • Business analytics
  • Transparency in supply chain
  • Automation
  • Networking/collaboration
  • Decentralization


Transportation Management Systems are becoming essential tools to meet the challenges associated with these trends, ranging from high growth rates and rising costs to increasingly sophisticated customer demands. We have seen a very diverse TMS market emerge that aims to keep pace with the latest technology trends.

Transport Management System Compass

The Transportation Management System Survey

As a result of the following 7 major TMS trends, which are occurring in the Transportation Industry, Deloitte set up and conducted a major survey to analyse and identify insights on the TMS market. 

This survey is part of Deloitte’s broader transportation practice and its work on TMSs to compare the offerings of TMS vendors. We conducted a three-month market study in Q3/Q4 2019, which is based on Deloitte’s leading 1 to 4th Party Logistics (1-4 PL) Service Provider structure and TMS Business Architecture Framework.

1 to 4th Party Logistics (1-4 PL) Service Provider

The classical concept of first, second, third, and fourth party logistics (1-4 PL) providers is enhanced by the transport mode and by having a closer look at the chronological order of process steps alongthe supply chain.

TMS Business Architecture Framework

The TMS Business Architecture Framework as a structural accelerator consists of four major modules:

  •  Preparation
  • Operation (planning, operation, cross-cutting activities)
  • Finalization
  • Cross-cutting activities

This Transportation Management and Deloitte-specific Business Architecture helps the client to identify its structure and requirements.

Details on the survey

To account for the global and diverse market of TMSs and to allow for a profound categorization of the selected vendors, this study draws on a sample of:

  • An international selection of TMS vendors from Europe, the America, and Asia
  • Both small to medium-sized and big vendors with more than 10,000 employees
  • Both new entrants and long-standing market players
  • Logistics platform providers that focus mainly on serving online marketplaces are out of scope

Insights on the Market

The survey shows results on the following questions:

  1. What does the structure of the vendors look like?
    In order to gain a better overview of their structures, we asked for the following key figures in our survey: number of customers, turnover and number of employees. In summary, all three indicators show growth. The smaller segments recorded significant declines, while the larger segment grew.
  2. What is the geographical distribution of the vendors?
    A closer look at the operating regions reveals the following picture: Ninety percent of all suppliers are active in Germany and the EU (non-German), 85 percent in Europe (non-EU), while only 25 percent of all suppliers are active in the Middle East, the Pacific and South America.
  3. How many products do the vendors offer?
    In terms of the number of products, the trend was towards individualised solutions: The minority of the selected suppliers cover the needs of the customers with only one product.
    Sixty percent of vendors claim to have two or three products, while 20 percent of software vendors have developed five or more products. This leads to highly vendor-specialized solutions for different customers and to greater business coverage for the customers.
  4. What business modules do the vendors offer?
    Our survey shows that the vast majority of the selected vendors offer key functions according to Deloitte's TMS Business Architecture Framework. However, differences become clear when looking at a more granular module level. For a detailed analysis on this topic, please download the survey and read Chapter X.
  5. How many transport modes are served by the vendors’ TMS?
    Our study examined the following different transport modes of the individual providers - air, sea, road, inland waterway and rail. Without exception, all respondents stated that the road mode is integrated in their TMS. Rail follows with 80 percent. Sea and inland waterways are the third most popular modes of transport, each with 60 percent. Only every second operator uses the transport mode air.
  6. What does the coverage of the logistic service providers looks like?
    The survey results reflect the current market coverage of TMS product types among the participants. The participants were asked whether their product could cover the required functionalities of the 12 Deloitte PL levels. The result is as follows: The highest coverage of TMS functionalities is in the areas of contract logistics and warehousing and freight forwarding. The lowest coverage is in the area of carrying out transports via air, sea, inland waterways and rail.

The Deloitte Outlook

By reflecting the results of the survey, we can determine that every company need to identify their potential for improvement in a structured and efficient way in order to generate greater business value. There is no TMS covering all the requirements of the different companies and their PL types.

Firstly, a significant number of vendors differentiate between freight forwarder and shipping (industry) companies and therefore offer different modules for their target groups.

Secondly, vendors take the PL types and business architecture of a client target group into consideration. This means they focus on the details of different core processes and software capabilities. For this specialization, a customizable solution is needed.


Fragmentation or Consolidation of the Market?

A fragmented market is not given for process and target group orientation, but still fragmentation is indicated by the geographical distribution of the sales authorities, the number of clients, and the number of employees.


Choose the right country

Asia-Europe trade has the highest transport volumes worldwide and the highest growth rates from 2007 to 2015. These high volumes are also reflected in the TMS compass.

The numbers in all areas of the geographical distribution in Germany and the EU (non-Germany) are the highest in the survey. The clients of vendors are situated (hub, warehouse, or headquarter location) in the countries where the highest volumes are imported. Consequently, it is necessary for vendors to set up their operation facilities, sales authorities, and support resources in those countries.

The results of the study show that TMS providers still differ greatly in their individual business architecture. It appears that TMS providers adapt to different market needs and target customers, and have different levels of maturity in terms of the individual modules. Therefore, TMS buyers are advised to be very diligent when it comes to choosing a vendor. In order to properly serve business needs, an individual assessment is highly recommended.

To learn more, please download the Deloitte survey “Transportation Management System (TMS) Compass”.