Quick Transport Solutions Inc.

Should Your Trucking Company Invest in Transportation Management Software?

Have you heard of Transportation Management Software (TMS)? If not, you may be missing out on a key piece of technology that could revolutionize your fleet. When combined with other technological solutions for fleets, TMS can be a real game changer for fleet efficiency and productivity. And TMS systems themselves have evolved with the times. But what are they?

TMS systems are disruptive pieces of technology. And generally, disruption is difficult to reverse. TMS systems used to run on big, bulky mainframes, for example, before changing to standard computers and on premises servers. Today, the direction has changed to cloud-native platforms. Architecture matters, but motor carriers and freight brokers are more interested in how modern TMS systems can solve today’s business challenges.

Trucking companies use TMS systems in various ways. At their core, they are technological systems designed to help fleet managers run their fleets more efficiently. They deploy fast and are generally low cost. They also come with automatic software updates, are future-proof, and provide turnkey integrations. From intelligent truck driver workflow scenarios to high levels of security, readiness, and business intelligence data – TMS systems do it all. Just make sure you pick the system that is right for your business. Now let’s dig a little deeper into every important attribute.

TMS Systems Deploy Quickly and are Low Cost

Deploying a TMS platform has traditionally required motor carriers and freight brokers to make large, up-front investments in hardware, software licenses, and implementation. In many cases, trucking companies simply do now have the capital they need to make this happen Big, up-front software purchases can cripple a company without the overhead to purchase or maintain them.

Modern TMS platforms remove cost and complexity from day one. Cloud-based TMS services deliver immediate cost savings through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. This eliminates upfront costs in hardware and overhead by not needing IT specialists to maintain servers on the premises. This frees up time, money, and resources for the fleet manager to focus on other, more important things.

Modern TMS platforms can also save companies significant time and money when they convert over to the cloud. Switching to a novel, new TMS system no longer need be a long, drawn-out series of events. With the right vendor, SaaS-based TMS systems can get fleets switched over to a new platform in a matter of days.

Why Remote Deployment Makes a Big Difference

A fast conversion is possible with an intuitive and comprehensive TMS for transportation and logistics. Having a cloud-native platform also makes it possible for fleet managers to complete the rollover process remotely. This all adds up to time and money saved for fleets of all shapes and sizes.

Remote deployment saves fleets thousands of dollars compared to vendors with client-server TMS systems. In those cases, the vendor must send high-paid employees or contractors to your home office to complete the setup and train your employees on how to use the system. These consultants and installers don’t come cheap and generally the cost of their involvement is passed on to the trucking company who is purchasing or leasing the software.

Additionally, modern TMS systems have the flexibility to scale for changing business needs without incremental costs. This is a big deal for growing trucking companies who simply don’t have the time or resources for major upgrades. Look for a TMS vendor that uses a pricing model based on the number of active assets in a fleet. This model ensures the subscription model matches the fleet’s revenues and makes the enterprise-class technology affordable to trucking companies large and small.

Automatic Updates Take the Guesswork Out of Scalability

Cutting edge TMS platforms offer regular software updates through specific update releases. These are typically done over the air and contrast with traditional, client-server models where vendors push updates out on quarterly or annual cycles. Others are even worse, providing infrequent updates that can’t be relied upon. The problem? These releases are quite large and take the fleet days and even weeks of testing and training before it can be fully rolled out and relied upon.

Because of the work involved, if you don’t work with a company who can help you scale, it may be that you can only do an upgrade once every two or three years. This could create problems as you grow. Instead, you want to focus on a platform that releases updates as soon as they are ready.  This way you can rely on respect for your time. TMS systems that update automatically, over the air hey are easier to work with than the systems many use today.

Work with a vendor that deploys automation tools and updates to all their customers at once in a simplified manner. You want to work with a company that offers releases on a very regular basis. Your partner should allow you to take advantage of any new components earlier and without hassle. Nor should you have to through a big learning curve. It should be simple and easy to digest and come with manuals and help lines.

TMS Migrations and Updates Should Flow Smoothly

Updating or migrating TMS platforms in the past has been a technically complex and cumbersome process. This has been especially true for mid-size and large fleets, simply because they generally already have systems they must combine with their new TMS. This can be a pretty complex process for those who want their TMS customized for their business.

Modern TMS platforms address this challenge by allowing fleets and providers to update application components. This, in turn, allows them to make new data available to custom software applications more easily. through middleware system. By using an intermediate system, you can link the new TMS to existing system without glitches or crashes.

Most TMS vendors use a secure and reliable system with a secure hosted message bus. But these systems can also be accessed using any programming language that the cloud supports to integrate data from the TMS with whatever your custom need is. Making sure you go with a TMS system that can talk to other systems and includes seamless integration is critical to ensuring you don’t have any system mishaps.

Ensure Your Systems are Future-Proofed

Trucking and logistics companies constantly worry about purchasing a new TMS system only for a new one to come out shortly thereafter. Don’t worry about something being just around the corner. If you always waited for the next new shiny thing, you would never complete any company upgrade. As a result, you would be forever stuck in time.  A good insurance policy against technology obsolescence is the underlying components of a TMS. Look for a TMS system that runs on a cloud-native database, this way you know nothing bad could possibly happen.

To be properly future-proofed, TMS systems must also be simple and configurable for end users. They must offer a lot of flexibility inherently built in. This will drive user adoption and help with recruiting and retaining back-office talent, which is a difficult problem fleets across country continue to have. TMS platforms must also be accessible using any device since the workforce will continue to shift towards a decentralized model. This should include tablets, smartphones, and laptop computers.

Modern workers are very used to the mobile and web experience and have particular expectations of how things should look and work. They will know right away if you have skimped on a TMS that isn’t quite up to the job and it will impact their overall motivation and morale.  For example, transportation companies will find it harder to recruit younger employees who have never used TMS systems if they are using outdated models, systems, and training methods and documentations.

Prepare for the Future of TMS

In addition to that, employees want to stay connected to a business using mobile devices. They expect to be able to access the systems they need anywhere and at any time. Trucking companies that take understand this mindset is now the standard among younger truck drivers will certainly succeed and see greater TMS adoption and higher levels of trust within the organization.  

Trucking and logistics companies of all sizes will continue to deploy modern cloud based TMS platforms. Most are already using SaaS-based applications for ELDs, trailer tracking, and fuel payments, and other essential tools. Utilizing TMS systems is just a direct extension of that change.

The migration of larger fleets to SaaS-based TMS platforms will happen at a slower pace since client-server is the only model that is currently offered by the industry’s largest TMS developers. Even so, the direction has changed and today companies of all sizes can take advantage of modern, SaaS-based TMS platforms that deliver affordable access to enterprise-class technology. Will your fleet be ready to capitalize on these changes?

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