What Defines a Successful TMS Implementation?

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) have been around for a long time, but not all implementations go smoothly or deliver the expected results. What are some of the keys to a successful TMS implementation?

Terry Wray, VP Services at 3Gtms, addressed that question in a recent episode of Taking Logistics. “One of the reasons that TMS implementations can be challenging,” said Wray, “is that they involve multiple people, multiple groups, and different roles, and going through the implementation process sometimes brings to light interdependencies that might not have been known to those people and groups. The operations people, for example, suddenly find out that some things were happening from an IT and integration perspective that they weren’t aware of, or people thought one thing was happening but actually something else was happening.”

“You’re bringing together a lot of different people [from across the organization] with their different histories and understandings, and you’d like it to be a melting pot and collaborative effort, but at least initially, there’s a lot of discovery and clearing up of misconceptions involved.”

Therefore, making sure you have the right people involved in the initial process is important, but on the flip side, “you don’t want to bring the entire company into the conversation,” which can slow down the discovery process.

Wray highlighted other factors that can complicate or hinder a TMS implementation, including having misaligned goals and overcoming change management hurdles, which he discusses in the clip below:

So, what are some of the keys to a successful TMS implementation? Wray provides several recommendations in the clip below, including be flexible (expect the unexpected), set realistic goals, have a super user involved, and don’t look at a TMS as a silver bullet solution for solving other problems across the organization.

At the end of the day, what defines a successful TMS implementation?

“Success does not end at ‘go live’; it’s a continuous process,” said Wray. “Success is after go-live. How much value are you getting out of the software? Is it improving the way you’re doing things? Are you able to do things that you couldn’t do before or do it better? At go-live, the implementation project might end, but the relationship with the customer does not; it’s the starting point.”

I encourage you to watch the rest of my conversation with Terry for additional insights and advice on this topic, then post a question or comment and share your perspective.