April 2014 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Maximizing the Benefits of Your TMS

Tags: Logistics I.T., Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Transportation

Daniel Vertachnik is Chief Commercial Officer, MercuryGate International Inc., 919-469-8057

Q: What are the best ways to get the full benefit of a transportation management system (TMS)?

A: First, work with your solution provider to configure the system to meet your unique requirements and workflow, and to automate managing your transportation network. A system you can implement quickly and that meets your requirements enables you to realize near-term value from a TMS.

Use the TMS to manage your entire transportation business—domestic and international, inbound and outbound, and across business units, divisions, and companies. Optimizing and executing enterprise-wide drives the maximum cost benefits from the solution.

Also, take advantage of vendor and customer collaboration, control tower visibility, and decision support to manage from order to delivery, and to ensure end-to-end shipment visibility.

Then, learn to use the product's full capabilities to maximize return on investment.

Q: What are the keys to a successful TMS implementation?

A: Selecting the right solution for your company's current and future state requirements is vital. To find the TMS best suited to your needs, thoroughly evaluate the solution, as well as the philosophy of the vendor. Working with a company that is focused on helping customers succeed will make a major difference in the project.

Having the right internal team focused on the project is also critical. Be sure business users, analysts, and IT team members work together on the project. Assign a project manager to guide the project through production go-live. This person must know the company, the critical business factors that led to the decision to acquire a solution, the current state of the business process and the desired future process state, and the requirements of each individual involved.

Work with the vendor to design the solution you expect and agreed to, and complete all the training the vendor offers. If you do not train your team, you leave money on the table.

Finally, ensure your TMS implementation's success by finding an executive sponsor to drive internal change management and best practices throughout the company.

Q: What are the most effective tools shippers can use to cut their transportation costs?

A: An effective TMS will pay dividends by reducing transportation costs. Optimizing transportation provides the availability to select the best carrier and equipment for each shipment or load. In addition, optimization will simultaneously manage inbound and outbound shipments to maximize equipment utilization, plan for backhauls when available, and provide you with the best executable plan.

TMS solutions also allow you to audit invoices to ensure carriers are billing according to contract rates. And an automated TMS improves efficiencies across the transportation supply chain, reducing costs and improving service.