The ROI Trifecta and Your TMS
Transportation Management Systems (TMS), like many types of software, have varying degrees of success when implemented. A TMS should greatly improve any shipper’s transportation operation and reduce the cost of freight, but it’s important to evaluate how its speed of implementation, user experience, and adaptability are going to impact ROI before committing.
In order to choose the right transportation management system, it is crucial that companies focus on usability and total cost of ownership. Too often, enterprise software implementations take far too long and the technology is too difficult to use in production due to non-intuitive user interfaces. A TMS should focus its efforts on fast implementations and usability to drive rapid ROI for customers.
According to Gartner’s recently released Critical Capabilities for Transportation Management Systems, companies should “Select flexible public cloud platforms that speed up implementation, improve ROI and provide wider transportation networks.” But understanding where to start can be a huge hurdle for many companies new to the TMS space. The best place to start is with the ROI Trifecta; user experience, speed of implementation, and adaptability.
The experience of the user is of utmost importance. It doesn’t matter whether the TMS has every “bell and whistle” available. If the interface is impossible to navigate the software will likely “sit on the shelf.” Great user experience makes it easier to train teams, successfully leverage money-saving features and avoid wasting-time misusing the system. ROI cannot be generated successfully if users reject the new system because it’s more complicated than their old processes.
Speed of Implementation
Implementation processes should be fast and smooth, meaning that it’s easy to connect carrier rates, integrate with ERP systems like SAP, NetSuite, etc. and transfer financial data back to their financial system. TMS platforms need to work directly out-of-the-box with the ability to configure the application to the customer’s needs. If the implementation takes months, or even years, that’s valuable time and money going down the drain even as the company’s requirements change, rendering the solution unusable. Customers need to look carefully at the track record of their supplier’s ability to implement quickly.
Even if initial integration has been completed smoothly, it’s important that tools for ongoing configuration are available to provide users the adaptability they need. “Gartner research finds that particularly more complex TMS buyers place more emphasis on technical architecture and especially the adaptability of the TMSs they are considering.” Users should be able to easily add carriers and tariffs, create their own customized reports and bring on new users, etc. Without adaptability, ROI is hampered whenever the company’s needs change.
Before taking the plunge and committing to a TMS, companies should evaluate all the options available to them and determine which platforms have the best ROI Trifecta. A recipe of user experience, speed of implementation and adaptability results in a TMS which can provide optimal ROI.
Read Gartner’s recently released Critical Capabilities for Transportation Management Systems (Need Gartner subscription to read full document) to see how high Kuebix ranks for usability, implementation and adaptability.