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Logistics technology

Top 10 things to consider when choosing a TMS - Part 2

Unveiling the final five key considerations in selecting your TMS provider for long-term excellence.

by Durga Pratiha | November 22, 2023 | 7 mins read

Unveiling the final five key considerations in selecting your TMS provider for long-term excellence.

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to selecting the right TMS vendor and solution for your business. In our two-part blog series, we’ve attempted to identify and validate the top 10 key factors you need to take into consideration when choosing a TMS for your business. 

In part 1, we looked at five of the top ten things organizations like yours would need to consider when choosing a transportation management system (TMS) or evaluating multiple TMS vendors. We discussed the need for your TMS to accommodate your specific industry and use-cases, scale with your business, integrate with all your existing systems, connect seamlessly with your carrier network, and provide an intuitive UX to drive adoption. If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check it out here

Let’s dive into part 2 to understand what the remaining five considerations ought to be when you’re selecting a TMS for your business.  

 6. Assess your vendor's customer success team 

During the pivotal onboarding phase, your vendor’s customer success team offers vital support, guidance, and ongoing assistance to align the TMS functionalities with your business objectives. They collaborate with you to identify and track your key metrics, ensuring optimized TMS performance tailored to your goals. 

To ensure project success, be vigilant in assessing the following capabilities within your vendor's onboarding and implementation teams: 

  • Implementation methodology: Evaluate their approach and process for implementing the project. Ensure it aligns with your goals, timelines, and overall project requirements. 
  • Functional and domain expertise: Examine the team's proficiency and knowledge in the specific domain relevant to your project. Verify that they possess the necessary skills to navigate and address challenges within your industry. 
  • Recommend industry best practices: Assess their ability to identify and propose industry-proven best practices. This ensures that the team is well-versed in established methods that contribute to project success. 
  • Futureproofing with new technology updates: Look for evidence of the team's commitment to keeping up with the latest technology. Make sure they can use new technologies to improve the project's long-term success and adaptability. 
7. Prioritize top-tier security capabilities 

In today's digital world, protecting your supply chain from security breaches is crucial. Your TMS serves as the nerve center, orchestrating logistics, transactions, and data exchanges within your supply chain. The chosen vendor must adhere to the highest standards of data privacy, encryption, and access controls. It's not just about managing logistics efficiently, but also safeguarding against cyber threats, unauthorized access, and potential data leaks that could compromise your entire supply chain ecosystem. 

When evaluating TMS vendors based on security capabilities, consider the following key aspects: 

  • Verify the vendor's adherence to the highest data privacy standards, such as GDPR and CCPA, ensuring commitment to protecting sensitive information and compliance with relevant regulations. 
  • Examine encryption methods for robust data protection during transit and storage, looking for strong protocols like AES to prevent unauthorized access and potential breaches. 
  • Evaluate access controls and authentication mechanisms, ensuring features like multi-factor authentication, role-based controls, and detailed user permissions to restrict access to authorized personnel. 
  • Inquire about the vendor's incident response plan and monitoring practices, emphasizing a proactive approach to security incidents with real-time monitoring, threat detection, and a well-defined response strategy.
  • Seek vendors with third-party security audits or industry-recognized certifications, providing external validation of the effectiveness of their security measures. 

Prioritizing enterprise security and data privacy within your supply chain through a TMS isn’t just a reactive measure—it's a proactive strategy that fosters a resilient, trustworthy supply chain infrastructure.

8. Evaluate initial investment against potential returns 

With the right TMS, you can streamline operations, enhance visibility, optimize routes, and reduce transportation expenses, positively impacting your bottom line. Evaluating the initial investment in a TMS against the potential savings and increased efficiency is vital. This initial investment often extends beyond the actual purchase and/or recurring subscription fees to include implementation, training, maintenance, and potential integration expenses.  

On the flip side, implementing a TMS can also lead to significant long-term benefits, including reduced labor costs, better resource utilization, and minimized transportation expenses. The ROI in this context involves not just monetary gains but also enhanced customer satisfaction due to improved delivery times and reliability.  

Your vendor should work with you to understand your business process, baseline your current metrics and anticipate how they can improve these metrics with the new TMS solution. This will help you build a business case with clear outcome metrics and ROI, making management approval one less thing to worry about. 

9. Leverage industry experience and customer references  

Relevant industry experience ensures that the TMS provider comprehends the intricacies, challenges, and specific requirements of your industry. This insight equips them to tailor the system to suit your unique needs, ensuring seamless integration and optimal functionality within your supply chain. Moreover, customer references serve as real-world evidence of the TMS provider's capabilities and reliability. They provide a clear picture of the system's performance, customer service quality, and overall satisfaction from the viewpoint of organizations similar to yours.  

These references offer a firsthand account of the TMS in action, detailing its strengths, adaptability, and the provider's ability to address challenges effectively. The experiences shared by other customers offer a tangible understanding of what you can expect, instilling confidence and trust in TMS and its provider. Here are a few examples of what a customer testimonial reference might look like. When your vendor is able to provide you with testimonials like these, it significantly mitigates risks on your part and ensures a more informed decision-making process when choosing a TMS.  

10. Harness advanced technologies for future-proofing 

Technology advancements play a pivotal role in the evolution of supply chain management, offering significant advantages in efficiency, visibility, and adaptability. Embracing AI within a TMS enables predictive analytics for demand forecasting, optimizing routes, and enhancing decision-making processes. For instance, AI-driven algorithms can analyze historical data to predict peak delivery times, thereby allowing proactive adjustments and minimizing delays.  

Machine Learning (ML) empowers TMS systems to continuously learn from data inputs and improve over time. For eg: ML algorithms can refine cost calculations or identify patterns that help in streamlining processes, such as warehouse management or carrier selection, based on real-time data. Meanwhile, integrating blockchain in a TMS ensures enhanced security, transparency, and traceability across the supply chain.  

The beauty of considering a TMS with these forward-looking technologies lies in its future-proofing capability. Rather than worrying about technology outdatedness or the need for constant upgrades, an AI/ML/blockchain-infused TMS ensures that your system stays relevant and adaptable to changing industry dynamics.  

Make the right decision: Factors for choosing YOUR ideal TMS 

Selecting the right TMS is a significant decision for your organization, and it shouldn't be taken lightly. In our comprehensive guide spanning both part 1 and part 2, we've meticulously covered the top 10 critical factors essential for ensuring long-term success. 

Remember that the success of your TMS implementation can significantly impact your company’s operations, efficiency, and bottom line. Be thorough in your research, assess your needs carefully, and choose a TMS provider that aligns with your long-term goals and values. With the right TMS in place, you can streamline your transportation operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive your business towards a brighter future.