At Burns Logistics (a proud technology partner of UltraShipTMS), we’re always happy to share insights with folks whether they are prospective clients or simply fellow logistics and transportation professionals seeking alternative perspectives on decisions they have made or are about to make. The discussion that follows began when a colleague called to ask for more insight into a TMS solution her company had already implemented. Unsure of the value of the TMS her company had recently engaged, this colleague called to ask, “What features and benefits should a good TMS system provide to our company?”
Since we typically suggest UltraShipTMS to prospective clients interested in transportation automation and optimization, I already had a standard answer for her, based on the benefits we’ve seen many Ultra customers capture over the years. So I began, “A good TMS should give you visibility into your freight across your entire organization. “
On the inbound side of your business a superior TMS provides additional visibility into purchasing, receiving, vendor performance, carrier performance and the relative performance of your own transportation department.
On outbound side of your business, the TMS should provide visibility into shipping activity, sales and purchase order activity; customer service related information, carrier management and performance as well as the relative performance of your own transportation department.
A good TMS should be able to help to greatly improve mode selection, using captured data to support decision-making.
A good TMS should have functionality that helps with route optimization. A best-in-class optimizer helps shippers determine the most efficient routes for freight inbound or outbound and also helps maximize every shipment, consolidating loads wherever possible. When we talk about achieving the goal of continuous moves and maximized cubes, it is optimization software as part of a TMS that gets this job done! Optimizers today can consider all modes when determining the optimal routing.
Other things a good TMS should deliver include:
- The ability to re-allocate resources via strategic redeployment of personnel once manual processes have been automated.
- Ease of use, allowing for quick and easy training of new people or cross training of existing personnel to accommodate sick days, vacation days, etc.
- Robust functionality to support payment and audit of freight bills.
- The ability to manage fuel surcharges and accessorial schedules.
- Functionality to help meet or exceed a company’s sustainability goals.
- Means for establishing and monitoring KPI measurements for such things as carrier performance.
- Quick, efficient, proven implementation scheduling to ensure frictionless deployment in a timely fashion.
- Easy integration between the TMS and any other accounting programs that may be used.
- A demonstrable pathway to ROI within a reasonable period of time!
Additional questions you should ask of your TMS provider during the selection process might include:
- Does the TMS provider deliver the timely support my company needs?
- How is our transportation program data and other sensitive information backed up, and how can it be accessed if needed?
Although this colleague had already selected a TMS platform, these points were well-received and she conveyed to me that she wished she’d taken the time to ask this of me before having implemented a solution. It is for this reason I thought I would share this conversation with anyone who may be presently considering a TMS solution.
Ed Burns is the founder and president of Burns Logistics and an acknowledged expert in transportation and logistics. Visit www.burnslogisticsinc.com