When is the best time to implement a new Transportation Management Solution?

February 15, 2023

Here’s how to determine what’s the best timing for implementing a new Transportation Management Solution for your company.

In the United States and much of the world, goods are being shipped by truck, rail, barge and ship every day of the year. In the U.S. there is an overlying seasonality to shipping that is accepted in transportation management. January through March is a quiet time, just after the holiday rush and during a season where travel can be difficult due to weather. April through July is Produce season, the nation is ready for fresh fruits and vegetables, demand for refrigerated units and dry vans increases. Transportation stays busy August through October with the grain harvest putting demands on rail service, while back to school and retail stocking for the holidays leans heavily on imports from overseas arriving through the country’s ports and transferred to truck or rail. Then the holiday season returns November through December. Certain industries have an innate seasonality also, for example, because of very hot, cold or wet weather in some seasons, June, September and early October are favored months for pouring concrete.

Shippers that are considering best times to implement a transportation management system naturally want to avoid peak seasons for their respective businesses. The reasons for this include:

  • Procurement—personnel experienced in transportation Best Practices and the special needs of their respective companies must be involved in the procurement process, from initial research through requirements definition, vendor sourcing, demos/evaluation and final decision
  • Implementation—Even for SaaS-based systems that put minimal strain on company resources, the vendor will have questions, and regular progress meetings are necessary to provide open communications and support
  • Training—In addition to load specialists, dispatchers and other transportation management professionals, appropriate training for finance, warehouse management, IT and business analysis is required to get the most from the new system
  • Startup operation—It is best to operate the system for some time in a lower stress environment, leaving time to develop new procedures and standards, as well as build up the database for lanes, carrier profiles and tendering rules

Establishment of a project timeline that takes into consideration the realities of the company’s business environment can contribute substantially to a successful launch and early ROI.

What are some questions you should ask vendors as you begin your search for a new Transportation Management Solution? Here are five questions you can ask prospective TMS vendors.

Shippers with minimal experience executing multi-department, multi-path deployment projects may be daunted by the prospect of running such an operation. Success can often be found by assigning a multi-department task force, generally no more than three, with reporting responsibilities to all involved departments. These should have a portion of their time dedicated to this activity, it is not extra work on top of their regular jobs. They should be able to draw expertise from other departments when necessary, and possess the wherewithal to bring in outside experts when appropriate. Experienced Transportation Management System vendors with mature, up to date products and many successful implementations can also be a valuable resource. Reputable vendors often have helpful guides and eBooks available to assist prospective customers in understanding what is available to them and how they can justify the purchase as well as the implementation costs.

To learn more about how Princeton TMX can help you determine the best time to connect transportation management to your supply chain, visit contact us or email sales@princetontmx.com.

For more tips, download our eBook When is the best time to implement a Transportation Management System?