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TMS Implementation Guide: Here’s What You Need to Know

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The trucking business is bound to face several challenges like any other business. To increase business efficiency and improve the bottom line, a trucking business must automate its operations. To do this, truck owners should opt for TMS implementation

Streamlining complex operations help businesses enhance efficiency and productivity. This is where a TMS solution helps. A transportation management system (TMS) has become necessary for all trucking companies to streamline and expand their business operations, irrespective of their size.

Used for load dispatching, sourcing, real-time tracking, invoicing, driver management, and reporting, a professional and reliable TMS offers a plethora of benefits.

However, implementing a TMS can come across to be a tricky process. Hence, trucking companies must align their business goals with their operational processes and integration capabilities. Let’s discuss the TMS implementation in detail. 

TMS Implementation: What to Expect?

Before embarking on your own TMS implementation voyage, you must be crystal clear on the primary factors driving your decision to implement a TMS for your trucking business. This will help keep your dispatchers, drivers, and all the staff members informed and productive.

At the same time, it will help reduce the risk of unnecessarily prolonging the process of implementation, making it difficult to reach your desired goals. You must know what you hope to achieve using a TMS and what you expect from it.

For beginners, you can expect a TMS to significantly lower operating costs for your business and your customers. It can help you greatly reduce laborious manual processes, saving you time and money. It also helps improve data security for your business and customers across every department. Besides that, TMS offers you many other exceptional benefits.

Things to Watch Out For While Choosing a TMS

Before hopping on to your TMS implementation journey, you must choose one. As numerous TMS vendors are available in the market, selecting one can become increasingly challenging. It’s essential to choose a TMS that meets your demands, fulfills your growing needs, and maximizes your return on investment.

Here are a couple of things you need to watch out for a while choosing a reliable TMS for your trucking business:  

  • Be cloud-based and provide real-time data management and insights
  • Provide ongoing support
  • Include a user-friendly interface and features
  • Provide a top-notch customer experience
  • Be able to integrate with your existing processes/systems
  • Customize as per your business needs

It is noteworthy to add here that the mindset of your trucking business should align with that of the TMS provider you have chosen. You must always ask yourself whether the TMS provider wants what is best for your business in the long run and if they will treat this working relationship like a true partnership.

How Can a Company Facilitate a Smooth And Timely Implementation of a TMS?

The trucking company can facilitate a smooth and timely implementation of TMS by understanding the internal requirements to best select the right software. Once the company knows what type of TMS features they are looking for, they can easily find the right TMS software and get started with the TMS implementation process. 

TMS Implementation Guide: Some Helpful Tips 

Needless to say, implementing a TMS properly is vital to your trucking business. However, many companies show reluctance while changing, updating, or deploying TMS software, as the implementation process can be extensive, lengthy, and pricey.

Moreover, you can end up experiencing a major fiasco if you fail to implement your TMS properly. This can cost you even more resources and exhaust you completely.

Therefore, it is important to be fully prepared for a TMS before considering implementing it. Only then can you see your trucking business becoming successful. Below, we have mentioned some helpful tips to help ensure your business is ready to witness the growth associated with TMS implementation.  

Define Your Goals

As discussed previously, TMS offers numerous benefits to your business such as optimized route planning, improved accuracy, increased bottom line, complete visibility into shipments, controlled inventory management, reduced invoicing errors, lowered operational costs, and much more.

All these benefits would not mean anything if you do not know how they apply to your business. You should be able to know what you are hoping to gain from a TMS and how you are expecting to achieve success after TMS implementation.

At the same time, you should know how your business looks in the present compared to how you want it to look in the future and how TMS will improve your business operations.

We strongly recommend creating a strategic business plan before the TMS implementation process begins. That way, you can estimate the potential return on investment, develop a course of action, and discuss the long-term benefits of the TMS system with your stakeholders.

Look for the Right TMS

Thanks to advanced technology, we have quite a range of TMS options available in the market. Some are undeniably good, some are average, and some just aren’t up to the right mark.

Opting for the wrong TMS for your business can result in a total failure, leading you to a major loss of resources, time and money. The worst-case scenario is that it can even bring more friction to your business operations.

Therefore, choosing a TMS that ticks all the boxes and fits all your needs is extremely important. A TMS should be able to provide you with ongoing updates, keeping up with your business’s growth and the overall trends of the transport industry.

It should be equipped with integrations to integrate with the other systems or processes you have in place. A good TMS is customizable, making it easy for you to customize it per your business needs. Always look for the TMS that offers a user-friendly interface and is cloud-based instead of server-based. Using a cloud-based TMS, you can easily access information remotely.

Involve All Stakeholders

Implementing a TMS is nothing less than any significant organizational change or update. Due to this, some people shy away from changing or updating their systems.

Before starting your TMS implementation process, you must tell everyone (whosoever is involved) about what’s happening and get on board with you. That way, they can be prepared in advance and feel excited about the oncoming changes.

One of the biggest reasons why TMS implementation often ends up as a failure for companies is a lack of understanding or acceptance from people who will have to use the software regularly. Once you have defined your goals and found the right TMS software for your company, it becomes much more convenient to explain to your stakeholders how this TMS will bring major developments to your company.  

Make Your Team Ready for Success

Before deploying TMS software, all your stakeholders must prepare an appropriate action plan. You can get your team thrilled about the new changes and prepare them for success.

Here’s how you can prepare them:

  • Assign a project manager to supervise the TMS implementation.
  • Form a team that will help manage and organize the implementation.
  • Develop methods of communication to keep everyone informed and updated.
  • Plan for potential roadblocks or hindrances.
  • Arrange meetings with stakeholders to discuss integrations with all systems.
  • Dedicate additional IT resources to the project so they can do the grunt work and provide training during the TMS implementation.

How Long Does TMS Implementation Take?

The important question here is how long does TMS implementation take? The process of TMS implementation can take up to two months or even two years, depending on the magnitude of the TMS software, the integrations, and your team. It is better not to lose momentum during the process; otherwise, it can rapidly collapse the entire implementation process.

It is recommended to create a reasonable timeline with proper budgeting and a course of action to stay on track. Also, everything needs to be properly documented to keep the project organized in a better way. Needless to say, it becomes easier to follow the plan if there is a plan in place.

What Are TMS Implementation Fees?

The costs of TMS implementation depend on the integrator’s fees, how long the implementation takes, and the number of consultants involved.

The cost to implement and support a transportation management system vary significantly, but one can assume the price will be less with a cloud TMS platform than a licensed TMS. The cost of a transportation management system also depends on the type of system you are looking for—whether it is ready-made or custom-made. 

The good news is that the cloud-based TMS software, LoadStop offers a cost-effective TMS solution for the trucking companies, making it easier for them to afford the technology. 

TMS Software Has Become the Need of the Hour 

Transportation management systems have become the most talked about topic among trucking companies. In recent years, cloud transportation management software has drastically changed the landscape of the US trucking industry. 

Most carriers and brokers struggle to look for the best TMS software in the market as they want to optimize their business operations and improve the bottom line against the challenging backdrop of increased fuel prices, rising freight rates, digital automation, driver shortage, along with growing customer demands. 

As we continue discussing the best transportation management software, we are always barraged with questions about the best TMS for logistics companies operating in the industry. Even though the market is laden with numerous TMS options, we cannot rely on all of them.  

To help trucking companies streamline their complex operations and increase business efficiency, we want to suggest the best TMS software options to them. And, for this mission, we want to be as transparent and upfront as possible with them so they can choose the TMS software that best suits their needs. 

Factors to Consider Before Choosing the TMS 

There is one important thing we must remember during our quest for the best modern-day TMS software platforms operating in the market. We should not forget to consider a few important factors before choosing the right TMS software for our business. These factors can help us make the right TMS selection, saving effort, time, and money.

Here are some key factors you need to consider before selecting the best TMS software for your trucking business:

  1. Look for a TMS that offers features meeting your business’s current and future needs. 
  2. Choose the TMS that works for both the carrier and broker. 
  3. From EDI to factoring to accounting to trailer tracking and beyond, choose a TMS that offers integrations to meet your unique business requirements.
  4. Look for the TMS software that secures your regulatory compliance. 
  5. Go for the TMS that considers the ELD mandate and offers the integration, visibility, and reporting abilities for accurate HOS tracking. 
  6. Consider a TMS that integrates with your existing accounting software, such as QuickBooks and NetSuite, so that you can automate your billings.
  7. Opt for a TMS that helps you communicate with your customers effectively and helps them view shipments in real time.
  8. Choose a TMS that offers business intelligence data to help you analyze how to improve business processes.

Best TMS Software in 2022 

Now that you have gone through some key factors to consider before opting for a good TMS provider, we will present you with a list of the five best TMS software in the market. Let’s go through each one of them and understand what unique features they have to offer. 

  • MercuryGate
  • Oracle Transportation Management 
  • Kuebix
  • SAP
  • LoadStop 

Mercury Gate – Best TMS Software for Small Business 

Headquartered in North Carolina, MercuryGate is a robust TMS platform designed for all modes of delivery, including air, sea, road, and railways. It supports domestic and international modes of freight for all companies, regardless of their size. In fact, even smaller companies can also use this global TMS to improve their business efficiency, increase visibility, and increase the bottom line. 

This cloud-based TMS helps companies control the system and provides them with complete visibility into their shipments, fleets, and drivers throughout the shipping process. Companies can expect future growth by using this TMS as it provides them scalability, allowing them to grow without any hurdles or limitations. 

Website: https://mercurygate.com/

Headquarters: Cary, North Carolina

Clients: Global (Primarily North American oriented)

Price Point: Moderate to High

Modes: Sea, Air, Railways, and Road

Oracle – TMS Trucking Software 

Based in California, Oracle TMS provides user-friendly interfaces, allowing them to benefit from powerful features such as fleet management tools. 

Oracle TMS software provides a robust platform to large-scale carriers and third-party logistics companies with massive volumes and diverse shipping requirements. With Oracle TMS, companies can streamline their logistics operations and optimize service levels while shrinking freight and operational costs throughout the significant phases of the business lifecycle—from planning to procurement to dispatching to invoicing and billing.

Oracle is known to handle global supply chain needs effectively. Although this TMS has been specifically designed for larger companies, it is also working its way into medium-sized shipping companies and 3PLs. Compared to other TMS platforms, the TCO of this TMS system is high. 

Website: https://www.oracle.com

Headquarters: Redwood Shores, California

Clients: Global

Price Point: High

Modes: Sea, Air, Railways, and Road

Kuebix — Best TMS Software for Carriers 

Headquartered in Massachusetts, Kuebix TMS mainly focuses on US-based companies with domestic and international capabilities, offering them different and diverse delivery modes, including sea, road, air, and railway freighting. The customer base comprises large-sized companies, with many smaller companies also becoming a part of it using the TMS’s freemium offering.  

Kuebix TMS system enables companies to use an effective platform for advanced analytics, scalability, and transparency. This advanced transportation management software caters to various supply chain needs, allowing companies to improve business efficiency and experience growth irrespective of size. 

Website: https://www.kuebix.com/

Headquarters: Maynard, Massachusetts

Clients: Majorly US based 

Price Point: Moderate to High

Modes: Sea, Air, Railways, and Road

SAP –TMS Software Providers 

Based in Germany, SAP is known to be one of the best TMS software providers. With the help of SAP’s integrated transport management software, companies can gain visibility into shipments, exercise control to optimize logistics operations, and improve services. 

The best thing about using the SAP TMS system is that it integrates fleet and logistics management across your business’s network, reducing transportation complexity significantly.  

You can integrate SAP’s robust platform with its ERP and SCM product software. The majority of the client base of this TMS comprises both medium and large-scale shipping companies and third-party logistics companies. The TCO is comparatively higher than other TMS platforms. It has also partnered with Descartes to improve its carrier communication.

Website: https://www.sap.com

Headquarters: Walldorf, Germany

Clients: Global 

Modes: Sea, Air, Railways, and Road

Price Point: High 

LoadStop – Best TMS Software for Brokers & Carriers 

Lastly, we have LoadStop on our list of best TMS software in 2022. We highly recommend this cloud-based TMS system because LoadStop has introduced the industry’s first-ever brokerage-enabled carrier TMS. You heard it right. LoadStop is the best TMS software for brokers as well as carriers. This signifies you can manage your brokerage and carrier module end-to-end in a single cloud.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, this TMS software helps trucking companies streamline complex business processes, optimize fleet operations, and increase the bottom line. 

Both truckers and brokers can expect significant growth using this TMS as they are offered complete fleet visibility, transparency, and flexibility. The cloud-based TMS software helps you control and manage all your fleet operations from a single window.

Website: https://loadstop.com/

Headquarters: Irvine, California 

Clients: Global 

Modes: Road 

Price Point: Moderate to High 

Conclusion

Automating business operations has become necessary for all trucking, shipping, and logistics companies in an industry as highly competitive and regulated as transportation. Different companies require different business requirements, whether small, medium, or large. Hence, they must opt for the best TMS software provider that suits their needs to meet their customers' growing demands.

 

 

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Sara Naveed is a creative and digital content writer who uses her creative skills to develop and edit professional web content. Being a writer has always been her dream. She earnestly hopes people appreciate her writing—an asset she deeply covets. Using her 8+ years of working experience, she writes for trucking industry experts who are always looking for better technological solutions to their problems.

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