20.09.2018  |  Supply chain

7 elements that lead to a successful implementation of a transport management system

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With these 7 tips, your company will be better equipped for a successful implementation of a transport management system, with the fastest and best possible return on investment.

A TMS solution is not a well-defined or limited solution, but rather a solution that digs deep in a company and is able to span far and wide within various systems such as ERP, storage control and overview, transport administration, route planning and optimisation, business intelligence, Big Data, fleet management and mobility.

To obtain the best possible return on the investment, as well as the fastest payback period, it is important to start in the right place and pay attention to potential pitfalls when choosing your supplier.

Element 1: Prioritise it projects based on expected business value
When companies are looking to implement a TMS solution, they often re-evaluate their entire portfolio of systems, including back office systems like their ERP system. As such, companies can spend a lot of resources on implementing a new ERP system, instead of focusing on implementing systems that could deliver excellent returns on a short-term basis.

TMS solutions, and more specifically transport planning and optimisation systems, often see a quick turn around on investment and provide fast results. Such systems often reduce the number of driven kilometres and driving time by 5-20 %, reduce the number of vehicles by 5-10 %, while the time spend on planning is reduced by as much as 25-75 %. As a result, the payback period is relatively shorter on TMS than by investing in other types of systems.

Element 2: Support the business in the entire planning process
The successful company knows that having an effective transport function and management involves many processes with a wide time perspective, as well as other factors that influence the business: master route optimisation, customer and/or order booking, operations planning, real-time execution and optimisation, follow-up and what-if simulations. To be able to handle such areas, companies require a system that can process the information from beginning to end.

On top of that, all these processes are handled by different types of end-users that all need access to the solution. They don’t all necessarily have the possibility to work directly in the system through an installation on their computer, and all of them may not even need access to all the information available. As a result, you need to be able to access the system from other platforms, including web and mobile devices, while the access rights can be regulated according to the end-user’s needs.

Element 3: Choose a supplier that knows your industry, including its technical and business aspects
Choose a supplier that had industry knowledge, technical as well as business flair, including employees with the right kind of mindset and values. A good solution is not enough – the supplier should be an expert in its area. Only this way will you obtain a worthy partner and thereby enhanced probability of a successful implementation.

Choose a supplier that handpicks its employees for their roles based on academic background, practical experience and personality, while valuing industry knowledge when hiring new candidates as well as a continuous education of the employees, because it enhances the dialogue and increases the probability of a positive collaboration.

Element 4: Don’t just buy a product; enter into a partnership
The framework for the collaboration between customer and supplier should is vital, and it is important that the supplier take that extra step after closing the deal and installing the products. Implementing a TMS will be more successful when the supplier is perceived more as a councillor, trusted advisor and partner instead of the installer of a product. Customer and supplier must have a common goal; this way the customer will achieve a greater result of the supplier’s competences and industry knowledge.

Element 5: Choose a standard product with tailored and flexible features
There are pros and cons to everything – however, very few people see the advantage in being a guinea pig, and even fewer people are happy with a “one size fits all” solution. The truth lies somewhere in between, and it can therefore be an advantage to pick a standard solution that also has a wide variety of features that can be tailored to your needs in order to achieve a successful implementation of the system. Likewise, it can be advantageous to pick a TMS-supplier with industry-specific planning solutions.

The tailored and adaptable features make it possible to fill in the gaps between the systems and thereby cover the customer’s needs as much as possible – while at the same time using as much of the standard functionalities as possible.

Element 6: Avoid making system integration a project in itself
The chosen supplier of an expert system must ascertain that their solutions are easy to integrate in the existing system framework. This can be done by either having a well-developed understanding of complex IT-architecture and by basing the integration on the most fitting technologies. No matter the type of data or direction of the integration, it must be easy to implement the solution and maintain it during the daily operations – and the integration must not become a large project in and of itself.

Element 7: Achieve a short and effective implementation
Change the complex to simple – shorten the implementation time. Unfortunately, it has almost become the norm rather than the exception that IT-projects are more time- and resource-consuming than originally planned, and the consequences are delays, cost overruns and frustration. A great project model and well-functioning project organisation would make up for this.

Make sure to choose a TMS-supplier with lots of experience, as the level of competence that accompanies them will enable them to predict risks before they occur and therefore the supplier will be able to address them in time. Experienced suppliers can pass on a long list of benefits and knowledge to their customers – including efficient and resource-saving implementations.

Through 35 years of experience within developing and implementing TMS-solutions, AMCS has defined these 7 elements that are essential to securing a successful and value-adding implementation of a transport management system.

Read more about AMCS on our website - or register for our webinar on October 2nd or 9th, 2018, which will give you an introduction to the transport solutions offered by AMCS.

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