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Choosing the right Transportation Management System (TMS)

With tightening capacity and ever-soaring rates in the face of COVID-19, managing logistics and shipping goods has become a turbulent experience. Investing in the right TMS can streamline your operations and boost business. 

However, with so many options to choose from, how do you identify the TMS best-suited for your organisation and your budget? 

What does a TMS do?

A good TMS should simplify your shipping process by helping you plan, coordinate and track your shipments. It should also be designed to process data and generate insights that can assist you when making decisions. An efficient TMS should automate your freight management, improve your communication with vendors, save time and help you reduce costs. 

Check out Sailing Schedule – a smart tool to make smart decisions while planning the movement of your freight.

Key factors to consider when buying a TMS

  • The true cost of the system

Be aware of companies offering you a low-cost solution, as chances are further hidden charges lay in wait. Pick a system that caters to your business needs without having to rush to vendor’s support services or costly code changes every other day. 

A low-cost system may appear attractive at the time of purchase, but over time, you may find your money going towards maintaining the system – instead of your bottom line. 

  • Easy integration with existing systems

A TMS is only as good as its functionality. Make sure that the TMS you choose is designed for easy integration with your existing systems and quick onboarding. A mistake here can affect you for the life of the system you select. 

  • Scalability

Ensure your chosen TMS is able to handle the depth of your existing requirements, both in your jurisdiction and throughout your organisation. 

Server-based systems are best avoided, as these quickly become outdated. It is instead recommended to opt for a cloud-based solution, as these will allow you to more easily upgrade your system in order to keep up with technological advances. 

  • Automation across workflow

A good TMS should automate tasks that you currently do manually, such as procurement of freight quotes from vendors and follow-ups.

Advanced solutions may even auto-approve invoices (invoice reconciliation) and notify your payments team, making processes faster, increasing efficiencies and reducing payment times.

While traditional systems have a good rate discovery model for long term contracts, they often underperform when faced with handling spot or ad-hoc shipments, which are unavoidable in logistics. State-of-the-art systems have competent modules for securing both spot and contract rates

  • Real-time shipment tracking 

Knowing exactly where your shipment is and receiving real-time updates on possible delays is a crucial part of logistics management. 

Choose a system that allows you to track shipments in real-time on a single dashboard and enable you to share that data with customers. This will ensure unprecedented transparency and strengthen business ties. 

  • Extensive business insights 

A competent TMS uses data to point out opportunities for cost savings and improving your operations. It will track your business, automatically update data and provide regular analysis.

And finally, know what your business needs

Work through all these factors and understand how a TMS you may want to adopt deals with the problems you are facing. Dig deep, for even the best of solutions may fail if they don’t address the challenges specific to your business.

To streamline your logistics operations and gain broad, deep visibility across your supply chain network, reach us here.