TMS: Always Something New to Talk About

Author’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly (2018 Special Issue) titled “Always something new to talk about” that highlights key trends and developments in the transportation management systems (TMS) market.

After 19 years, what else can you say about transportation management systems that you haven’t already said?

My wife asked me that question as I was heading out a few weeks ago to give a talk on transportation management systems (TMS) to a group of supply chain and logistics professionals at a CSCMP New England Roundtable meeting. It’s a good question, one I hadn’t stopped to think about before, so I reflected on it as I drove to the meeting.

First, I verified the math in my head (twice), and my wife was right: I’ve been an industry analyst now for over 19 years, most of that time focused on transportation management and TMS. I can’t tell you how many TMS-related research reports, blog posts, videos, webinars, and presentations I’ve written or produced over the years, but it’s a lot — enough to make you think I’ve said all I could about TMS already.

The reality is that I do repeat myself a lot because, despite the abundance of evidence out there about the benefits of implementing a TMS, many companies are still managing their transportation operations with spreadsheets and homegrown systems that are decades old. So, I repeat myself because some companies are new to TMS and are learning about the technology and its benefits for the first time, and some companies are like distracted children: You have to tell them over and over again until they finally listen.

The other reality is that there is always something new to talk about. The scope and capabilities of transportation management systems, as well as the vendor landscape, have changed significantly over the years, and the systems continue to evolve. The same is true for the transportation market and the types of challenges and opportunities that shippers and third-party logistics providers face.

Simply put, although transportation management systems have been around for decades, there are plenty of new things to talk about, too many to cover here. But here are some of the trends and developments that rise to the top for me.

Read the rest of the article at CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly website.