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COACHES CORNER: Defining Your Path to a TMS Solution: 3 Steps for Small and Midsize Shippers

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The approach to the TMS journey for shippers varies widely based on the size, resources, and complexity of the organization. The larger the organization, the more apt that an outside consultant may be engaged. The smaller the organization, the more often you will find an operations or logistics manager spearheading the search with direct reporting to the executive team. In either case, the structure of the search is critical to finding the right TMS solution for your organization.3 steps for shippers

In today’s Coaches Corner, our focus is on small to smaller midsize shippers with the potential to manage an annual spend from $250,000 to $10 million annually within a TMS solution. The first question is to determine a “direct license” or leveraged TMS solution. Direct license is exactly as it is stated; your company will hold a license directly with the TMS software provider. In the case of a leveraged TMS solution, you are using a Logistics Service Provider (LSP) for a TMS solution which is often accompanied by a logistics service. In most cases, shippers will leverage an LSP for a more complex TMS solution.

The second step is gaining visibility to your organization’s 5-year plan. Depending on your company’s ownership structure, the 5-year plan will vary greatly. If growth is not a key pillar of the company, then your TMS selection may be best suited for today’s needs and your customer’s needs over the next 5 years. Otherwise, the growth of the company and the complexity of the growth is a key attribute of the TMS capabilities.

The next step is to determine your workflow. Even with large shippers, workflow is not emphasized enough despite utilizing high-level consultants. Workflow is often overlooked for departments outside of shipping, which leads to lost ROI when stating your case to senior leadership. Generating detailed processes drives two key components, and in the end, makes the path forward much easier. The first is the visibility of the ROI that a TMS can generate in value across organizational departments. Secondly, process flows are a great tool for your prospective TMS providers to clearly identify your needs with defined illustrations in the demonstration phase of your TMS selection.

In summary, the upfront work you put in now pays off in identifying the right TMS solution for your organization and ensuring you don’t lose any sleep during the onboarding process.
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Brad Stewart, President

By Brad Stewart

Co-Founder, CCO

Brad’s journey into logistics began as a Marine Officer and transitioned from the LTL docks to the non-asset side within the logistics service provider arena.  As a co-founder of Rockfarm, Brad drives our business development efforts and delivery of our promise. An Arizona native, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors in his home state with his wife and family.

“Our approach to the market allowed us an opportunity to push forward in 2008 and enable our mission, “lower the cost to serve” to stand as a cornerstone to our company today.”



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