Corporate IT departments are where TMS purchasing initiatives often go to die. Transportation leadership is always an enthusiastic champion of a cloud TMS implementation; inherently understanding the benefits of these solutions. Executives and finance leaders are also more receptive – the former convinced by the promise of improved competitive advantage, the latter by the easy ROI and potential boost to bottom line growth. IT management has its reasons for being contrary to TMS initiatives – but they’re largely erroneous and we’d like to show them why they ought to be embracing TMS, not shooting it down.
TMS is now as important to business success as CRM and ERP. IT departments understand the mission-critical nature of ERP tools and CRM tools. Yet, TMS is the third leg of the three legged stool upon which sits the success of any modern enterprise. Think about it. The world has grown to expect excellence in shipping. The modern supply chain is expected to provide up-to-the-minute visibility into shipment status. Not just for the overnight parcels delivered to consumers by Amazon and other online retailers, but for manufacturers pursuing just-in-time manufacturing strategies, food shippers moving perishable products and many other industries as well. CRM tools are critical to managing sales activities/pipelines. ERP tools are critical to purchasing and order management. TMS tools are critical to fulfillment and delivery. Sell all you want. But if you cannot deliver on time, it matters not. CTOs must stop looking at TMS solutions as anything other than the third leg in the three legged stool.
Implementing a cloud TMS solution is not a drag on IT resources. Implementing an ERP is a huge lift for internal corporate IT departments. These solutions, still very much delivered via the hosted model, require a lot of input and participation from corporate IT to integrate with all the internal systems the ERP touches. Perhaps this is why CIOs are hesitant to engage another enterprise application. However, cloud or SaaS delivery is the industry-preferred model for TMS solutions. A verifiably successful TMS provider should be warmly embraced by the CIO because they’re proven to implement with a minimum of involvement from host IT departments. There are no hardware elements to monitor and maintain. There is no user support required of the IT department. Even integration is a snap because leading cloud TMS solutions are API based. IT really only has to make sure corporate users of TMS have the correct web browser installed. The average teenager could manage that process!
TMS solutions are at the forefront of IT. ERP systems have been around for more than four decades and have grown very static in terms of features and functionality. By contrast, the TMS is only 15 years old and the ongoing explosive growth of the TMS market is fueled by the fact that supply chain logistics is a field in a state of radical flux. IT professionals place a high value on staying atop the latest trends in technological advancement. Interaction with TMS solutions provides IT leadership with another avenue for staying current in a very important segment of modern enterprise systems management.
So if you’re an IT leader and your transportation department comes to you with a plan to deploy TMS within your organization, look at it as the amazing opportunity it is. You’ll be improving your company’s competitive advantage, it won’t blow up your work load and you’ll have a look under the hood of some of the world’s most exciting and innovative designs.