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What to do Before Integrating a TMS

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As a Supply Chain Coach, we are often asked by MercuryGate TMS direct customers to support TMS initiatives within the MercuryGate TMS. The initiatives may range from direct onboarding support or actual improvements in their current TMS state. The customers span across direct shippers to LSPs (Logistic Service Providers) and 3PLs. As a result, we have gained a great deal of exposure to the challenges put forth when onboarding a TMS solution and not realizing the desired outcomes of the Customer’s TMS vision.

As we prepare to understand the challenges a Client may have, we ask for one critical item, a “current state” process flow. Often times we find that there is no process map illustrating workflows prior to engagement with a TMS. As a result, workflow gaps take hold which eventually leads to workarounds and frustration within the User experience impacting the change management aspect of the Client’s organization. The outcome is generally a new internal project manager, a loss of the stated ROI and a deterioration in support for organizational change. The overall potential impact of poor onboarding goes well beyond the direct supply chain touchpoints to all aspects of the order lifecycle that includes customer service, sales, purchasing and accounting.

To clearly outline the path forward and the ROI for a TMS onboarding, a current state map is the first step to a successful TMS onboarding. A current state map should take into account the following five attributes:

  1. The entire life cycle process of a sales or purchase order.
  2. Contain an overall view of the order process to include subprocesses pertinent to each department.
  3. Decision points that impact an order that includes detail behind the “tribal knowledge” often found in non-automated processes.
  4. Swim lanes illustrate each party that touches an order.
  5. Segments that define the functional area such as Order Creation; Allocation; Planning; Scheduling.

Once a “current state” mapping is completed, a value stream map can be generated to identify efficiencies generated by a TMS integration. This supports the logistics initiative to develop an ROI statement that can validate the path to an integrated TMS. Secondly, a “current state” mapping is a blueprint to identify the right TMS and/or the right TMS provider for your business that is able to clearly demonstrate a future state that aligns with your vision.

A future state “best in class” TMS solution is one that is never defined by the user experience. More simply stated,
the TMS performs its functions through an automated workflow that enhances the order lifecycle through the Client’s ERP. Functional enhancements may include carrier routing that triggers pick release; auto booking for parcel label generation or accrual posting for customer invoicing. Reality will often prevail due to gaps in order information that is required for the basic rating, routing and tendering of shipments. In these cases, touch points within the TMS become prevalent.

Contact Rockfarm Supply Chain Solutions Today

For further information on TMS “current state” mapping, or to get started with our transportation management system, please reach out to a Rockfarm Business Development Executive via our online form or call us at 815.573.0155 today.

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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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