Do I have to be big to use TMS?

arrowWe get this question a lot: I’m not a large, national (or multi-national) player. Can I really benefit from using Transportation Management Software (TMS)? The answer we almost always can provide with confidence is a resounding “yes!” Let’s talk about why and how in this post.

Most smaller companies handle freight manually or through a collection of disjointed applications, spreadsheets, and manual procedures. It’s nearly impossible to find and manage the best transportation providers for the cargo and routes with these primitive tools. With a TMS, even a small company can track and manage a number of transportation providers, electronically offering loads, collecting availability and price information, and tendering the shipments. TMS also handles the tracking and billing, saving time and effort while insuring accurate charges and payments.

Small shippers are also at a disadvantage when dealing with many of the transportation providers because these providers are now getting much of their business from TMS-equipped shippers using automated tendering that is easier, quicker and more responsive. It’s getting to the point where providers are placing a lower priority on shippers and their shipments that have to be handled manually. And this is not only true for the major transportation companies – TMS and electronic scheduling/tendering are becoming more common across the transportation landscape and shippers that remain in a manual state of operation will see fewer and fewer truck lines interested in competing for their business. So what to do?

The good news is that Cloud-based TMS has little up-front cost besides initial implementation and any integration to existing systems that may be required. There’s no software license fee, no hardware / operating system / database system, etc. to buy, install and maintain – everything is included in a single monthly fee. Cloud-based TMS fees are typically consumption-based – as you add or redeploy people, the cost of the system can be increased or decreased accordingly so you’re only paying for what you need. Since the software scales to meet your actual usage, you can be more confident in deploying a TMS solution where, even 5 years ago, that would have been difficult without a significantly greater investment, and an in-house team to handle the care and feeding of the solution. With that off the table, it’s time to get competitive with the big boys!