Building a winning business case for an advanced transportation management system (TMS) is not a small task. A successful business case allows companies to market themselves to various carriers, improve customer service, and lower freight spend. The great functionalities of a TMS, including “planning (i.e. rating, optimization, etc.), execution (i.e. tendering), in-transit management, and post-delivery activities (i.e. receiving invoices, creating invoices for services, etc.),” enhance system ROI. says Parcel magazine. Meanwhile, TMS integration amid uncertainty can help shippers survive disruption and economic downtime. Of course, any foundation for a successful business case must first consider the challenges common to the process.
Common Hurdles in Building the Business Case for TMS Integration Amid Uncertainty
The challenges to TMS integration amid uncertainty and driving forces of adoption are similar. Common barriers to adoption include higher costs of implementation, continuous upgrades, poor understanding of value, and inconsistencies between systems. In today’s market, every company capable of modest software development has a TMS, and not all TMS platforms are created equal. Some will provide limited functionality, but the best platforms enable continuous improvement. Recognizing the hurdles and challenges in lite TMS options is critical and must be a fundamental point within your business case.
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A Strong Business Case Is Crucial to Success
A strong business case demonstrates the value-add to your organization for TMS integration amid uncertainty. During disruption, shippers must begin by gathering information to understand the impact of disruption. Disruptors vary, and each disruption represents an added cost to the company. This value serves as a center point for all business case for TMS integration amid uncertainty discussions.
The next obvious question surrounds when to build the business case. A successful implementation of a new TMS begins at least six months prior to the system selection. This is an extended duration, and during disruption, it may be necessary to embrace the business case much faster. Thus, shippers must centralize the core components of a new TMS into an easy-to-digest, readily accessible format, reports Geoff Milsom of Talking Logistics.
Moreover, the strategy for implementation business case for TMS integration amid uncertainty must include the “3 actuals.” The actuals include “the actual people, doing the actual process, in the actual place. It requires gathering data, driving towards answering the question “Where is the money?” It includes a TMS-agnostic, but functional capability aware, future state process design, which typically leads to organizational changes and task re-alignment.
The integration design must be done with supply chain IT and corporate IT so that all parties understand the level of effort required. Then, the business case items and roadmap must be agreed upon by the internal stakeholders and signed off by executives, with a toolset identified. Once this is complete, the transportation leadership team can make an informed decision about what TMS is right for their organization.”
It’s an odd principle; to succeed, shippers must consider all variables in building the business case. During disruption, the business case for building a business case must move faster than ever, and thus, all ROI must focus on the short-term and long-term gain, not just the long-term gain. In more traditional circles, short-term costs are higher. Instead, shippers must focus on the short-term savings applicable with a new system. Obviously, there will be upfront costs, but again, the changes in the industry during disruption will help.
Step-by-Step Instructions for a Winning TMS Business Case
A winning TMS business case amid uncertainty must move with haste. The key steps to success lie in the following:
- Recognize the limits of the current system or TMS.
- Identify the suspension of certain payments and barriers to implementation created by software vendors.
- Leverage the buying power of your company as a viable solution to the disruption and “essential business” to make the company more attractive to the vendor.
- Focus on visibility and responsiveness, not just efficiency.
- Use data to prove your point, particularly recent data and short-term projections for improvements compared to the status quo.
- Visualize data using software vendor-provided resources to simplify business case creation.
- Avoid unnecessary repetition, emphasizing the value gained from implementation despite its risks.
Secure Approval for a Newer, Better TMS Despite Supply Chain Disruption Now
The opportunities for advancement during times of uncertainty depend on the ability to leverage data and keep costs under control. For shippers, a failure to recognize the strengths and limitations of supply chain partners will lead to poor decision making and contribute to a reduced capacity to respond during sudden demands. While technology has advanced, the perception of lite TMS solutions as a viable option is forcing more companies to take greater care in assessing system use and current strategy. Thus, the business case is not only the rationale for a change. It must show the roadmap for overcoming the obstacles and driving growth. Moreover, the business case can evolve, changing to reflect the possibilities of a noteworthy system versus a fly-by-night vendor. Unfortunately, disruption makes it even more troublesome to build a winning business case for TMS integration. However, TMS integration amid disruption will provide a protective effect and help eliminate risk during current and future disruptions. Ensure your organization makes the right decision with a proven software vendor, such as Cerasis.