Is your supply chain at a crossroads? Customers want next-day or same-day shipments, IT departments are overextended, and your transportation management system (TMS) has become unmanageable. If your company is among the estimated 60 percent of organizations that have yet to adopt a TMS, or has an older application — or worse, “systems” that are actually a combination of spreadsheets, manual processes, and multiple communication methods — now is the time to explore technology that can put you in the driver’s seat.
Shippers need technology solutions that go beyond managing freight, to providing visibility across the supply chain and more. An integrated platform offering access to multiple applications, networks, and data provides the tools needed to operate efficiently, collaborate effectively, and create exceptional customer experiences – now and into the future.
Here are four signs that it’s time to consider adopting a modern TMS platform.
1. Legacy systems are too expensive to update.
On-premise TMS solutions require significant time and effort from your IT department to deploy and maintain. Updates aren’t automatic, and you may need to purchase new software licenses to add users. Another issue with legacy systems is an inability to access critical logistics and supply chain tools, such as customs or parcel management, in one platform with a single sign-on.
Tip: An integrated cloud-based platform leaves the hosting, installation and maintenance to someone else, plus offers benefits including:
- The ability to access multiple supply chain execution features, while paying only for the applications you use or need
- Single sign-on capabilities for multiple applications
- Simplified implementation, ongoing updates, and the ability to add functionality with ease
2. Your existing TMS isn’t scalable.
Basic management tools, such as Excel spreadsheets, are no longer adequate for current demands. Scaling up or down, including the addition or removal of users and configuration of permissions, is challenging. The system may include customized apps based on older technologies that can’t meet today’s demands, and it may lack the analytical tools that you need to make strategic decisions.
Tip: A modern supply chain technology solution provides the insight required to improve predictability and optimize service levels. Cloud-based, integrated platforms are more agile than traditional standalone TMS solutions because they can provide:
- An extensive network that can connect users to thousands of carriers and supply chain partners
- A single view of data with real-time analytics
- The ability to seamlessly add users or capabilities
3. Meeting customer demands is unsustainable.
Omnichannel and e-commerce pressures signal a need to move beyond spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls for transportation management. Unfortunately, many older TMS tools can’t accommodate an increase in parcel shipments. The consequences can be significant, including poor visibility into shipping capacity, which can negatively impact customer satisfaction due to late deliveries.
Tip: A future-ready, multifunctional platform provides the flexibility organizations need to shift quickly in today’s fast-changing market. Modern, cloud-based supply chain management tools can address current needs and prepare for future demands that aren’t immediately apparent. Other benefits include:
- Access to a single instance, multi-tenant TMS that connects thousands of carriers, which would be impossible with an on-premise platform or spreadsheet
- Real-time B2B and B2C connections in modern TMS networks that enable seamless drop-ship programs
- Parcel functionality that supports complex, high-volume, multilocational shipments both domestically and internationally
4. Older platforms create silos and inefficiencies.
Over the years, you may have collected a wide range of solutions and applications that can create information silos and inefficient work processes. Integrating these solutions is time-intensive and costly. Existing supply chain execution technologies may include custom-built apps, which require significant training for new hires. The consequences include a lack of visibility into critical data, including freight costs and availability as well as customs and compliance management.
Tip: A cloud-based, integrated supply chain execution platform allows multiple parties to leverage technologies through a common system. It can provide a network of real-time information, monitoring the flow of goods and data as shipments are executed against the plan. Users often have permission-based visibility across the entire network, as well as into their own supply chains. This type of integrated supply chain technology platform removes information silos by:
- Providing connectivity to carrier and supply chain partner networks
- Allowing for access to complementary applications such as compliance (for example, denied-party screening, and product classification)
- Integrating with mobile capabilities such as real-time track and trace, proof of delivery, and last-mile routing
Integrated, multifunctional supply chain execution platforms put you in control of your transportation networks, so you can respond proactively to customer demands and unexpected risks. There’s never been a better time to get on the TMS technology adoption train, to move your supply chain forward and gain competitive advantage.
This guest commentary was written by several members of the BluJay Solutions team.