Is an off the shelf TMS right for me?

Transportation management systems (like ShippersEdge TMS) are a common-sense investment for many companies. A fully features and customizable Enterprise Level ShippersEdge TMS is a considerable investment for most shippers and there are now options for entry level systems that can give you the basics on a budget, but are they right for your company. Here are things to know before investing in any TMS and a more advanced system like ShippersEdge TMS.

Is an off the shelf system enough for me?

An off the shelf TMS is better than nothing. A TMS of any sort is a powerful piece of software. Buying a budget system with limited customization may end up costing you more than having something tailored specifically for your needs.

ShippersEdge also offers a basic economy version of its software that is easily upgradable

ShippersEdge Professional Edition

Here are questions to ask: 

What are your goals regarding adding an advanced TMS like ShippersEdge?

  • What cost are you trying to manage?
    • Soft (people) costs
    • Hard dollar transportation spend
    • Freight loss and damage claims
    • Customer late delivery penalties
    • Compliance issues
  • Are you trying to source lowest cost capacity?
    • Spot market or contract
    • Less-than-Truckload LTL
    • Transit time importance
    • Lowest cost provider
    • Exception visibility
  • Are your rates competitive?
    • Do you have lane intelligence
    • Price (cost) change visibility
    • Do certain customers or vendors cause higher than normal freight costs
  • Is too much time being spent on managing compliance?
    • Insurance compliance and monitoring
    • Contract expiration and compliance
    • Freight bill auditing
  • Do you need corporate visibility on decision-making?
    • Are freight provider selections being monitored 
    • Are certain constituents preventing use of low cost provider
    • Can you quantify the dollar value of not using the low cost provider and the reasons for not using them
    • Are low cost providers actually accepting tenders

What can a more advanced TMS like ShippersEdge TMS do that an off the shelf budget TMS cannot?

ShippersEdge TMS is a software tool that assists in the planning, execution and analysis of logistics. As a more advanced ShippersEdge TMS can automate functions and decisions normally done by people and point out exceptions needing further management.

  • Do you have a must deliver by date on your sales order?
    • ShippersEdge TMS points out published transit times and compare requirements
    • If published transit time and required delivery date mismatch
    • Will your TMS point the above out as an exception
    • Can your TMS acquire advanced shipment tracking information
  • Is your freight damage sensitive
    • Does your TMS monitor damage
    • Can your TMS provide damage KPI information
    • Can your TMS be set to avoid high damage carriers
    • Can your TMS use business rules when determining carrier selection
  • What other special requirements do you shipments have
    • Are there special arrangements needed for delivery
    • Could those processes by automated or assisted
    • Do you need advanced tracking
    • Do you need dwell (delay/detention) time information on deliveries
  • How do you monitor and audit spot quotes?
    • Do you have a centralized methodology of getting spot quotes
    • Can you audit spot quote freight invoices automatically
    • Do you have a special place to retain all shipment notes
    • Can you message a carrier within your TMS for load specific messaging visibility
    • Can you monitor tender acceptance on spot quotes 
  • Do you need dock management?
    • Do you have a software enable dock scheduling tool
    • Can your system allow (if desired) carriers to set their own appointments
    • Do you need carrier on time arrival KPI metrics
    • Can you measure dock/shipment labor productivity
    • Can your carriers schedule appointments through a carrier portal
  • Do you need a carrier portal for truckload/volume LTL shipments?
    • Would you like to have automated auditing on sport quotes
    • Do you need provider uploaded invoices and other documents
    • Do you need in shipment in portal messaging
    • In portal bidding, tendering acceptance and tracking
    • Can your carriers schedule appointments through a carrier portal
  • Do you need EDI invoicing?
    • Most LTL carriers and larger truckload carriers have EDI
    • Will you want advanced freight charge auditing of EDI invoices
    • Can you adjust tolerance levels of freight cost exception management
    • Do you want to go paperless
    • Are other documents (such as signed bills of lading) need to be stored
  • Do you need advanced and automated reporting and notification?
    • Do your customers require advance shipment notices (ASN)
    • Would automating the ASN reporting save time
    • Would non ASN customers want notification a shipment has been shipped
    • Would an email with a tracking link be helpful for customer satisfaction
    • Does your shipping manager need a tomorrow’s activity report
    • Do purchasing managers need enroute shipment reports or visibility
    • What weekly/monthly reports are now manually compiled

How much does ShippersEdge TMS Cost?

Depends on what you want it to do. There are free TMS systems out there but when the service is free, you are the product. The answer lies in the number of shipments managed, advanced functionality requested and any customization. The range is about $2.00 per shipment on small installations to less than $0.50 per shipment on very large installations. 

The budget should be set on your expectations of savings. Those savings are 

  • What savings should I expect?
    • Hard dollar savings against a well-run operation 1%-5%
    • Soft dollar savings typically exceed hard dollar savings
    • Freeing up management time can lead to additional hard dollar savings
    • Having visibility, both historic and real-time improves decision making
    • Improving constituent satisfaction is priceless
    • Prevention of small problems becoming big problems; incalculable

What Systems can ShippersEdge TMS integrate with?

As a cloud-based ShippersEdge TMS can connect systems from providers – carriers, brokers, warehouse operators, vendors and receivers in one location. Custom and stock dashboards keep you informed of exceptions and other data. 

Can ShippersEdge TMS integrate with a WMS?

ShippersEdge TMS can be integrated with your warehouse management system to manage inbound and and outbound inventory flow. If your warehouses are being supplied by disparate vendors, ShippersEdge TMS can alert shipment delays thus preventing shortage of product. 

Can ShippersEdge TMS be customized?

Entry level, off-the-shelf systems come with limited functionality and customization is probably not be possible. An advanced TMS like ShippersEdge TMS offers near unlimited customization and can be further customized as a need is seen. An advanced ShippersEdge TMS is also modular so you don’t pay for functionality you don’t need. 

A commitment to keeping your ShippersEdge TMS up-to-date

Since ShippersEdge TMS is cloud based, enhancements to our technology are constantly being rolled out. When ShippersEdge TMS was first available on the web in 2002, the database contained 32 million rate pairs. Today, most of that is replaced by API technology but we still support rate tables for the providers that have not evolved their technology and we support non-standard rating, like unit prices or pallet rates. 

As new technologies come on the market ShippersEdge TMS is ready to integrate and communicate with them. 

What other advanced features does ShippersEdge TMS have?

Safety monitoring, carrier score-carding, ELD tracking, vendor compliance monitoring, business rule effectuation of complex or simple routine execution. Probably almost anything you want but can’t get out of your ERP. Vendor Portals, Customer Portals, Yard Management, Carrier Portals, Optimization Basic and Advanced, ASN connectivity