Deploying a transportation management system (TMS) can work wonders for a company’s operations, streamlining processes, improving visibility, and bringing costs down. But not all TMS solutions and providers are created equal.
While the right TMS can accelerate growth and fuel strategic business development, choosing the wrong solution can create the opposite effect—potentially slowing growth, creating inefficiencies, and delaying return on investment (ROI).
Knowing which factors to focus on when shopping for a new TMS can ensure the system pays for itself in no time at all—and give companies a significant competitive advantage. Here are a few ways to effectively evaluate any TMS solution before making a costly commitment.
Keep core criteria top of mind
Three core criteria will always be at the center of deliberations when it comes to choosing a new TMS: functionality, support and service, and integration.
Functionality and usability are essential. Above all else, supply chain managers need to know that their system will do what they need it to and be easy to use. From there, they want to know that the vendor will provide the service and support they require to smoothly implement and get up to speed with their new tools. And since they likely have a whole host of other systems in place across the organization, the ease with which the TMS can be integrated will likely also play a major role in their considerations.
While these factors are certainly important and should not be overlooked, many supply chain managers are now realizing that in order to remain best-in-class, they need to consider more advanced criteria as well.
Determine unique organizational needs
No two companies are the same, so there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all TMS solution. Identifying their specific needs and requirements can help companies figure out which TMS will be best suited to achieve their goals. After all, there’s no sense paying for one with all the bells and whistles if half the features remain unutilized, just as there’s no benefit to choosing an unscalable option if the company has plans for rapid growth.
The size and complexity of an organization are important here. While a larger organization may require more advanced capabilities and be willing to take on higher ownership and implementation costs upfront to achieve them, smaller companies may have no real need for these features. As such, a simpler solution that can be quickly and cheaply implemented may be the best option.
Consider long-term ROI
Implementing a TMS is a long-term commitment, and it’s important for companies to understand their long-term needs and costs to avoid rushing into a bad relationship.
Short-term ROI remains a big factor for decision makers. Productivity gains alone can ensure that the right TMS pays for itself within six months. But by keeping an eye to long-term ROI by performing an in-depth ROI assessment, companies can set themselves up for success even as industry-wide cost hikes and capacity crunches cripple their competitors.
The end-to-end visibility created by robust TMS solutions will support this ongoing success. With complete visibility, companies can be more agile in response to challenges and change, making more informed and strategic decisions. If a TMS cannot provide this, then it may not be worth the investment in the long run.
The equation for lasting success
When it comes to choosing a transportation management system, the system itself is only one half of the equation. The vendor is equally important, and in a future post, we’ll explore some of the factors that make for a preferential provider.
Looking for a robust, fully integrated TMS solution? Explore CTSI-Global’s industry-leading TMS today.
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