Inbound Logistics | May 2023

customized elds, or reports have to wait until the next update. A SaaS option can be updated continuously and customized quickly to meet changing demands. “Waiting for updates puts you at a severe disadvantage against the competition because your competitors were adjusting on the y to keep products on the shelves,” Smith says. SELF-SERVICE VS. MANAGED With the proliferation of SaaS options, shippers can choose a free or low-cost self-service option or a full-service solution with a managed- provider relationship. Some TMS solutions, such as BrillDog and Coyote Logistics, offer a free option for basic transportation needs. “If you need to just ship LTL products, you can do that without paying a management or subscription fee; you just pay to move your freight,” DeSantis says. A managed service tier may be the answer if a shipper is looking for a deeper, consultative relationship. For companies that require more, a managed transportation relationship with a 3PL includes a TMS as well as a dedicated team to oversee execution and carrier relationships.

supply chain technology provider. “A TMS that connects all parties makes processes more efcient and can help positively contribute to business growth,” he adds. NICE-TO-HAVES Beyond the basics, consider what other functions might be nice to have a TMS provide for your company. A sophisticated TMS can develop predictive analytics to optimize more than pricing. An intelligent system will track spend on parcels, for example, and recommend moving to LTL service or trade-off air shipments for ground delivery for lower rates. “Shippers are good at their business but may not be supply chain specialists,” says Frank DeSantis, chief operating ofcer of BrillDog, a TMS provider. “The TMS can be the expert for them.” One of the most critical nice-to- haves is the exibility to scale with your business without expensive custom programming. Some TMS options have a set of base features with additional capabilities available as needed. “You want the exibility to be able to toggle on or off certain features or tools,” says Steffes. Understand what it takes to customize or update the TMS. With an on-premises solution, new functions,

1. Plan first. Develop a detailed deployment plan with steps, timelines, resources, and responsibilities. 2. Stakeholder buy-in. A TMS project is team-based, so IT, supplier management, customer service, logistics, warehousing, procurement, and others must be involved with clear lines of ownership and responsibility. 3. Change management. Documented testing and user training will make things go smoother. 4. Phased deployment. Start with small wins that develop momentum for success. 5. Plan for review. Budget 5 QUICK TIPS FOR DEPLOYING A TMS A third-party logistics provider may have developed its own TMS or have a few preferred solutions. Brokers may also offer a TMS but may limit carriers to their preferred list. With today's rapid technological advances and the volatile supply chain environment, shippers shouldn’t wait until their current TMS solution shows its deciencies at a critical moment. “Shippers should always be on the lookout because you don’t know what you don’t know,” DeSantis says. “You’ve got to be proactive.” n

for consulting services to review configurations, optimizations, routing guides, and more.

The market for transportation management systems will experience robust growth during 2022-2032, predicts a study. In 2022, North America emerged as the most significant market for TMS, with a revenue share of more than 32.6%.

May 2023 • Inbound Logistics 51

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