Considerations for Selecting a TMS

So, you’ve decided a TMS is right for your business. Now what? If you search “Transportation Management System” on Google, you will get over 900 Million results. Choosing the best solution out of so many options is no small task. Two solutions can have the same features, yet one will fit your needs perfectly while the other fails to deliver. Why is that? In many cases, companies fail to look internally and understand their goals, challenges, and long-term outlook.

Evaluating these four key factors of a TMS will help you define your Ultimate Why and keep you from overemphasizing bells and whistles that, while impressive, don't move the needle for your business.

#1 Adaptability: There is a saying that the only thing constant is change. Freight is an ever-changing business. ERPs change, mode mixes evolve, and internal processes evolve, all to get your product into the hand of your customer at the best price point. Therefore, adaptability is the most important feature we think companies should evaluate. A TMS should be able to quickly adapt to your evolving needs and do it in a way that is not time or resource intensive.

Key Questions:
What is the process for integrating with a new ERP?
How do we bring another warehouse or distribution center online?
How do you roll out feature updates?
How do we add and train new users?

#2 Ease of Integration:
ERPs and Warehouse Management Systems are vital tools for manufacturers that ship a high volume of freight. They can take between 12-18 months to fully implement and are not easily replaced. Some TMS solutions tout the ability to Integrate with your ERP, but this can require custom programming and over 50 hours of work from your IT team. If you are one of the many companies that use multiple ERPs the hours required from your IT team can quickly get out of hand.

Key Questions:
What are our integration options?
What is specifically required of our IT Team to complete an integration?
How we integrate more than 1 ERP?
What is the process if we happen to change ERPs?

#3 Implementation & Post Launch Support: Although it may sound counter-intuitive, companies get more value from a well-implemented and supported solution than a feature-packed solution with average implementation and post-launch support. Adoption of a solution is at times more important than the system itself. Once you understand your Ultimate Why and find solutions that align, implementation and post-launch support will be the most likely difference-maker.

Key Questions:
What is your implementation process?
When do you consider a customer is live?
Once live, how are issues addressed and questions answered?

#4 Business Model: The pricing model for software solutions in the TMS space has certainly evolved over the previous 10 years. In the past, acquiring a TMS required a customer to pay a one-time license fee and ongoing maintenance agreement. While straight forward, this created issues for companies because the initial investment was considerable. In 2020, options for businesses include:

Perpetual License: One-time upfront investment with additional cost for implementation and ongoing maintenance.

Software as a Service: Typically billed in monthly or annual installments. This reduces the investment but eliminates any true ownership of the software.

Outcome Model: Like Software as a Service except the cost of the software is built into the rates you choose. In many cases, your overall spending is reduced via more competitive rates, and there is no upfront or ongoing capital investment.

Key Questions:
What is the total investment over 3 years?
What is the charge for ongoing maintenance?
Are there additional charges for upgrades and improvements?

Regardless of your unique needs, there is a TMS solution in the market that will align with your company. The key is to ensure you have a solid understanding of your Ultimate Why and ask the key questions that help you separate the good from the great fits.

At Dynamic Logistix, we are boldly changing logistics management, one client at a time.

Our Tier 1 TMS program includes a leading Cloud-Based TMS that streamlines freight logistics from order entry, load building, route optimization, to carrier selection. We offer our clients 24/7 visibility, ERP integration, freight audit and pay (FAP), business intelligence reporting, and a dedicated account manager/team. Dynamic Logistix is eager to help your company save money and time.

Click here to schedule a complimentary process review with our logistics team.

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