Inbound Logistics | May 2023

A TMS solution such as BrillDog enables shippers to plan and execute shipments, and provides visibility to shipments in real time.

develop a roadmap of your company’s current needs and likely future growth. “Shippers should start by dening their business goals operationally and technologically because that will inuence the type of TMS provider they select,” Smith says. Transportation spend is one way to categorize your TMS scope. A shipper that spends $10 million or less annually will have different requirements and expectations than a company that spends $100 million. Network complexity is another selection factor. “If you have a $250 million truckload spend, but you’re not shipping LTL or parcel or anything else, you don’t need a sophisticated TMS,” says Nick Brown, transportation director at enVista, a supply chain consulting rm. IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS Every TMS should offer essential functions relevant to almost every type of shipper. Then, there are nice- to-haves—additional capabilities that support specic uses or go beyond basic TMS functions. “Identify your specic transportation and logistics needs, rank your current performance in each of these areas, and document the exact efciencies and decision making that must change once your new TMS is implemented,” recommends Glenn Koepke, general manager of network collaboration at FourKites, a supply chain visibility platform.

Shippers should look for these essential features from their TMS provider. • Carrier selection. The TMS should support choosing carriers based on previously negotiated bids using routing guide functionality with pre-built logic that incorporates ranking, cost, maximum loads, and allocations. The TMS also should support spot bidding for last-minute orders or exceptions. • Integrations. Ensure the TMS connects with carriers and other technologies, such as warehouse management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, and real- time supply chain visibility platforms for a seamless end-to-end logistics solution. Freight audit capability, whether native or third-party, eliminates manual auditing processes for faster payments. • Business intelligence and reporting. Data is king, and logistics performance management is contingent on seeing the results of decisions made. • Mobile device access , document generation, and compliance management should also be on the list. Ultimately, a TMS should connect all parties in your transportation network using digital systems instead of disparate tools and manual processes. “Many systems only connect brokers to carriers or carriers to drivers or brokers to shippers, but they don’t connect every link that moves goods through the supply chain,” says Mehmed Tiro, CEO of Muftar, a

When Lorena Camargo, founder of PearlTrans Logistics and a member of the board of directors of the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association, launched her business in 2011, she wanted to start off with a TMS. “Even though at the beginning I didn’t have any revenue, I wanted to make sure I was able to have a technology component to offer our customers,” she says. “A TMS is often seen as an expense, but it’s really an investment.” IMPROVING PERFORMANCE A modern TMS can help your organization improve performance across the board. First, an organization can enable the existing team to be more effective in alleviating hiring challenges. “Among transportation professionals, it’s still a tight labor market, so investments have to go into enabling technology rather than adding headcount,” says Dan Cicerchi, general manager and vice president

of transportation management solutions for logistics technology company Descartes. Second, a TMS supports

management of a dynamic supply chain in inbound and outbound movements across multiple modes. Third, it can help optimize pricing and service for carriers so your organization becomes a shipper of choice in the carrier community. Before you begin researching a TMS,

50 Inbound Logistics • May 2023

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