With companies looking to automate processes and reduce costs all along the supply chain, the idea of a standardized transport management software solution has become all the more attractive. As most companies already have their own specific transport management system in place, it is important to understand what type of criteria a business should evaluate when looking into a future TMS, and also know how to compare the different options to see which one will work for their company in both the short and long term.
Moving from the company-specific to the standardized solution
Today, the majority of companies that are outfitting themselves with a TMS are used to a specific company transportation management setup. Otherwise, they simply use an Excel sheet to track this information. Transportation services have very specific work patterns in place and it is necessary to take these into account if a company wants to progressively move towards the use of a software solution. While at the moment, transport operation management is much less standardized than warehouse management (WMS), there is a rising demand for expert and specialized transportation management software, and this is paving the way for more options to become available. This upward trend gains in strength year over year and the need for a standard solution has clearly been expressed by users. Businesses know that in order to meet higher company and client demands, there needs to be more accessible and automated solutions in place that allow for much higher visibility all along the chain.
Two main points to look out for
When shopping for a TMS solution there are two important requirements to keep in mind. The first is the adaptability of the solution. This reinforces the need for the editor functionality to be standardized and therefore adaptable to different systems, setups, and processes. A company needs to look for a system that can adapt to a chain and create a repeatable process, moving different flows into one, solid moving, and automated flow.
The second requirement is the solution’s method of project implementation. It is important to review what the software offers in terms of change management as well as its ability to provide existing solutions to address the need for a “personal” user experience. This will prevent marginalizing the client into wanting to redevelop an existing solution into purely company-specific software which will not benefit anyone in the long term.
The importance of client references
It is therefore key to evaluate the number of client references pertaining to a solution before choosing your software. That’s because in order to be able to provide clear lines of standardization, one has to have observed and tested many different user cases.
Another important point to look into is the range of abilities of the system’s functionality, and all of the different ways that it can help your company. One usually starts out by looking at just a section of the functionality, usually the area that immediately seems to be the most interesting in terms of returns for the company (better control of the invoicing process, optimization of routing, and dispatch, etc.). Though it is very useful to look into the long term abilities of the solution and to look at the bigger picture as well. Will the solution be able to cope with company improvement objectives as well as ensure that it provides all of the possible solutions for reducing costs down the line? When comparing options it is always important to look into the long-term abilities of a solution and how it fits in with a company’s vision.