TMS SuperUser Secrets – Benchmarking Using TMS Data

With TMS solutions enjoying more widespread adoption, users are growing more comfortable with the tactical uses of these solutions.  Now they’re looking to go beyond capturing the benefits derived from process automation, and exploring how these powerful tools can unlock efficiencies only dreamed of a mere decade ago.  Here are some closely guarded secrets from super users of TMS solutions regarding how they’re leveraging the captured transportation data and harnessing it to supercharge their TMS results.

The first phase of successful TMS usage involves using the solution to drive visibility into one’s own transportation processes, network and capabilities.  New TMS users are always hungry to learn where the spend is going and why.  They’re always thrilled to see the results yielded by installing controls where there were none before.   The recently implemented TMS-using transportation department works hard with the TMS tools to gain visibility into carrier rates, shipment planning, order tracking, tendering/carrier assignment and freight settlement.  But for those transportation organizations with a mature, steady-state TMS solution in place, there are significant benefits to be captured through leveraging the trove of data housed in the TMS.

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Benchmarking TMS data improves and enhances service levels by providing comparisons of customer service-related activities. 

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TMS SuperUsers use their solutions to drive comparisons not just of their current performance against their past performance.  Rather, they seek to understand how their results measure up against those of their competitors.  With the visibility gained through TMS usage, the TMS SuperUser knows the benefit of establishing key performance indicators and measuring processes against these KPIs.  A best-in-class TMS helps identify the root causes behind performance so the organization can weed out poor performance and supplant it with the processes that support strong supply chain performance.

Examination of KPIs such as on-time performance (and the reasons for lateness, long dwell times, slow loading/unloading, OS&D claims, etc.) is useful in understanding the correlation between performance and carrier relationships.  Using “reason codes” and analyzing reason code data can help a shipping organization understand why your freight may be less than attractive to your carriers.

According to CLX Logistics’ Mike Challman in an article in this month’s Inbound Logistics, benchmarking TMS data improves and enhances service levels by providing comparisons of customer service-related activities.  This type of benchmark exercise helps companies understand how they compare to others and enables them to change as needed.   Challman also points to the competitive advantage an organization gains by comparing their operations to best-in-class standards.   Challman also suggests benchmarking provides benefits in areas like continuous improvements, performance gap identification and ongoing cultural growth, ensuring transportation logistics fully realizes its potential as a profit center within the overall supply chain instead of a cost center.

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