Should my company choose a Digital Freight Forwarder or TMS?
If you've found yourself choosing between a digital freight forwarder and a TMS, we've put together an honest comparison between the two options to help you in your research. 

It can be a bit like comparing apples and oranges, but in certain cases these two different solutions could solve the same problem for you, just from different angles. Here are some insights to consider:

1. Flexibility vs. Expertise

Digital Freight Forwarder: These entities often come with a wealth of industry experience. They've seen a lot of scenarios and can adapt strategies based on past encounters. However, this expertise might come at the cost of flexibility, as they might have established ways of doing things.
TMS: Being a tool, TMS offers flexibility. Businesses can tweak and adjust the software to fit their unique needs, ensuring a tailored approach to logistics.

2. Responsibility Level

Digital Freight Forwarder: Assumes responsibility for the entire logistics process, from start to finish, acting as an all-encompassing logistics partner.
TMS: Provides businesses with the tools and capabilities to manage their logistics, but the onus of responsibility remains with the business itself.

3. Effectiveness in Logistics Cost Reduction

Digital Freight Forwarder: Can offer bulk rate discounts due to the volume of shipments they handle. However, their fees might offset some of the savings, making the net benefit variable.
TMS: Enables businesses to directly negotiate rates and optimize routes. By cutting out intermediaries and leveraging software capabilities, there's often a clearer path to cost savings.

4. Data Ownership and Analysis

Digital Freight Forwarder: While they handle the bulk of the logistics process, there's a potential risk concerning data ownership. Businesses might not have direct access to all their logistics data, which can be crucial for analytics and decision-making.
TMS: With TMS, businesses have direct access to their data. This allows for in-depth analysis, helping companies identify patterns, make predictions, and optimize operations.

Digital Freight Forwarder vs. Transport Management Software for Businesses
Digital Freight Forwarder vs. Transport Management Software for Businesses

5. Scalability:

Digital Freight Forwarder: As businesses grow, they might find that their 4PL provider isn't equipped to handle increased demand or global expansion. Switching providers can be a lengthy and complex process.
TMS: Many modern TMS solutions are built with scalability in mind. As a business expands, the software can often grow with it, accommodating increased volume and complexity.

6. Cost Predictability:

Digital Freight Forwarder: Their pricing models, often based on a percentage of transport revenue, can lead to variable costs. As shipments increase, so do the fees.
TMS: With its subscription-based model, businesses can better predict monthly or annual costs, aiding in budgeting and financial planning.

7. Integration with Other Systems:

Digital Freight Forwarder: Integration with a business's existing systems (like ERP or CRM) might be limited or require additional fees.
TMS: Many TMS solutions are designed to integrate seamlessly with other business software, ensuring a cohesive ecosystem.

8. Customization and Innovation:

Digital Freight Forwarder: Custom requests or innovative solutions might be harder to implement due to the provider's established processes.
TMS: Being software, there's often room for customization. Additionally, TMS providers frequently roll out updates, ensuring users benefit from the latest technological advancements.

9. Customer Support

Digital Freight Forwarder: Support might be comprehensive but could be spread thin if the provider has many clients. Wait times and resolutions may vary.
TMS: Often offers dedicated support, with quicker response times and solutions tailored to the software's capabilities and the business's specific needs.


Digital freight forwarders can be added to TMS just like traditional carriers or freight forwarders. With a simple API integration, they can be incorporated into your TMS system and you can still use them as well. 🧐