A fragment of an article written together with Top Logistyk:
What Advantage Does TMS Provide to a Shipping Company?
TMS (Transport Management System) applications enhance planning, monitoring and transport clearing processes. Available solutions are similar, yet they are not the same thing. When deciding to implement this particular system and not a different one, it is necessary to take note of its functionality but also to consider whether it will fulfill the exact requirements of the user.
Author: Michał Jurczak – Top Logistyk
TMS applications are proving to be more and more essential in modern companies. Such systems are required to most-effectively monitor shipping events, help in the inventory of means of transport and in the visualization of orders or the processing of documents in a way that is optimal for every user. An appropriate interface, friendly to the user, easy to use but also highly-versatile in operation – that is not all there is to it.
First things to know
Dariusz Warda – IT project coordinator for the Logistics department and Logintegra Board Member notices two main factors affecting the client awareness with regard to the use of information systems for the transport management. The first one is the company’s size, more accurately – the number of owned means of transport. “We have noticed a decrease in the threshold of owned fleet’s size in the context of the interest with TMS systems. Larger companies have already been using management-enhancing systems for a long time. In their case the interest is focused, first and foremost, on particular functionalities and tools for planning, contractor communication or the integration with already-owned systems,” says D. Warda, adding that the second important factor is the generation change in family shipping companies. Experience shows that the younger generation exhibits a greater determination in seeking automated solutions when taking over family businesses…
Go with a model or do without it?
Like in every industry, here as well there are model solutions. However, strictly following the rules in those models does not always yield the right results. D. Warda (Logintegra) stresses that the implementation of an TMS system is so significant for the customer that it requires a strong engagement from the stakeholder (board of the company). “The best course of action is for the person from top management, empowered to make final decisions, to be the project manager equivalent on the supplier side. After all, we are talking about a system that enhances the handling of the main process in a transportation-shipping company,” adds D. Warda, stressing at the same time that cooperation between operations employees such as shippers, dispatchers, clearance specialists, etc., is essential during particular stages like the design or the adaptation of the system. Customers that have purchased a TMS system most often do not employ IT specialists. According to D. Warda that is the reason why it is so important for the supplier to have someone who combines the experience from logistics and transportation as well as the knowledge about using management-enhancement systems participate in the implementation process…
Forget about mistakes
Despite all efforts, it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of mistakes during the selection and implementation of TMS class solutions. D. Warda (Logintegra) considers as the most frequent the use of so-called “out of the box” solutions. “We often hear from our clients that choosing such a solution had allowed saving money only at first glance and it did not solve the main issues. While processes in strictly-shipping companies are less complex, carriers with their own fleet require more elastic, adapted solutions,” states D. Warda, comparing the differences to those that occur between sales and production companies – planning, management or even cost clearing in the case of the latter is definitely much more complex and personalized. Suppliers are in agreement stressing that when purchasing a dedicated system you receive a solution that is tailored to the company, not the other way around. As a rule, the supplier also guarantees the option of the implementation of amendments aimed at improving and modifying the solution as the company itself undergoes changes…
Strength of positive examples
Currently, Logintera is implementing a TMS system in one of larger Polish shipping companies that specializes in the shipping of chemical products using tankers. “The implementation was preceded by project workshops that served as a base for the development of expectations. Planning was moved from boards and xls spreadsheets to a browser-based application featuring a schedule that reflects the vehicle utilization in real-time, planned inspections or equipment repair. In addition, the system features an integrated module for the service and car wash management for our client that is also included in the implementation. The communication with contractors and drivers from client’s own fleet as well as those from contractor’s fleet is also automated. TMS has been integrated with the client’s main application. An interface for the data exchange with ERP has been initiated. System integration with the map and GPS system are also planned in next stages of development,” we were informed by Logintegra…