Selecting a Transportation Management System – 5 Steps
Today’s savvy businesses manage their customer relationships using customer relationship management (CRM) software. The solutions have become such an integral part of running a business, it becomes difficult to remain competitive without it. But for a business’s fleets and deliveries, a transportation management system (TMS) is a great way to keep a competitive edge.
Despite the growing reliance on automation in business today, many transportation firms still haven’t settled on a TMS. In fact, according to Logistic Management’s 2014 Technology Usage Study, only 35 percent of shippers say they’re using a TMS to manage their shipments. Changing longstanding processes can take time, and many freight companies are simply too busy.
For shipping companies considering using a TMS to streamline operations, the first step is to find one that will a) integrate with the existing environment and b) improve productivity and efficiency. Here are a few tips that will help shippers choose the best TMS for them.
One of the most useful features a TMS can provide is easy access to information. A shipper can log in at any time and find a selection of options, along with listed rates, then choose from that list. A business likely already works with a suite of carriers, so it’s also important that those providers be accessible through the TMS. Some vendors also provide access to competing vendors who can also offer services to shippers in that region of the U.S.
A shipper can have access to the best information available, but if that information isn’t up to date, it will be a complete waste of time. With real-time updates, shippers can log in at any time and see current information on rates, fleet availability, and shipment details. Since information is updated in real time, any changes one employee makes will be visible to other employees who log into the portal.
When shopping for a TMS, businesses should keep existing solutions in mind. Having a TMS with the ability to integrate with accounting solutions, inventory management software, asset management software, ERPs and other crucial business applications can save time and money. Additionally, employees will be able to continue to work with applications that are familiar to them, reducing the frustration that comes from having to learn multiple new systems at once. Ensure the solution comes with the tools necessary to integrate the software with existing solutions.
Each shipper is different, coming with its own set of unique needs. For that reason, it’s important to look for a TMS that can be customized to fit a business’s environment. In addition to adding modules as needed, a solution should also give a business the ability to add its own branding, including business logos. This will give the TMS the sleek, custom-designed look that will impress visiting clients, contractors, and employees.
For shipping companies, logistics management can be made much easier through the use of automated solutions. By investing time into searching for the right solution, a shipper will be able to find a TMS that works well within its organization for many years.
An application-programming interface (API) is a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing a web based software application or website. If you are looking for a way to connect a TMS with existing software, make sure they have an API.
If you’re interested in learning more about SAV Transportation Group’s transportation management system, contact us today for a free demo.