Given the numerous options available, determining the right transportation management system (TMS) for your operation’s specific needs is crucial.
Before making a decision, the goal is to maximize potential.
Set your company objectives
Gather key internal stakeholders to identify existing company issues, opportunities, and goals in order to evaluate how a TMS system may best assist them. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all TMS. Prioritize finding a solution that meets your non-negotiables.
Consider the future
Because no organization can foresee what will happen next, seek a TMS with a modular approach that is adaptable enough to expand with your operations. This will allow you to grow and add additional features as they become necessary in the future.
Establish a budget
Learn about the fixed expenses and contract structure of a TMS. You may need to budget for further modifications depending on your company’s demands. Consider expenses and resources while deciding whether to insource or outsource. Could a third-party logistics company, for example, do your day-to-day TMS job for less than what you can accomplish internally?
The implementation process is a vital aspect that may make or break a TMS’s success. Inquire about a TMS vendor’s implementation, dedicated resource team, and execution skillset. Depending on the complexity of the operations and system integrations, the implementation phase for a large-scale organization typically takes 6 to 12 months.
Assess enterprise integrations
Are you going to link the TMS with your everyday operations’ enterprise resource planning and accounting systems? What about your warehouse management system, which manages the daily flow of orders? Look for a TMS provider who has the experience to seamlessly interface with your existing systems.
Plan your carrier connections
Some TMS solutions let you use their existing connectivity with hundreds of carriers, while others ask you to handle it yourself. If you, do it yourself, the expense of an internal IT team to manage carrier connectivity might be more than what a TMS provider would charge.
Make a freight audit and a payment schedule
Many TMS platforms allow real-time freight auditing and payment, which some organizations prefer to manage internally or through a separate third-party partner. A TMS, for example, may perform an automated audit of freight bills against negotiated rates and allow carrier payment to speed up the process.
Examine the capabilities of data analytics and reporting
Because the primary goal of a TMS is to obtain access to data so that informed business choices can be made, assessing its analytics and reporting capabilities is critical. While a TMS can give a lot of data, you also need to think about how to link that data with other sections of your company and your enterprise-wide reporting tools.
Choose your mode of transportation
When delivering less-than-truckload versus full truckload, the business regulations and routing for large volume e-commerce and parcel carrier might differ dramatically. The distinction between domestic and foreign requirements is the same. Make sure your TMS can handle all of your transportation requirements since some have more advanced capabilities than others.
Consider your fleet and haulage requirements
Do you have a specialized fleet or other transportation assets that you need to track in your TMS? Determine whether your TMS needs to support your capacity to handle equipment, drivers, and more, as many businesses have their own trucks and drivers.