GETTING THE MOST ROI
FROM A TMS
The tricky aspect about implementing a transportation management system (TMS)
for the first time: A company might not know exactly what it needs until it is well
into the process. The gap between what is needed and what a TMS provides out of
the box can be wide.
As a result, up to 40 percent of TMS implementations fail to meet objectives,
according to Avoiding the Pitfalls of a First-time TMS Buyer, a white paper by
3GTMS, a Shelton, Connecticut-based software company. The paper offers four
“lessons” for prospective buyers:
• Many TMS products were designed 15-20 years ago, so the software may
be outdated and unable to address such current realities as driver shortages
and complex 3PL pricing programs. Newer systems offer the ability to add
functionality and can be tailored to the needs of a business.
• There is no “typical” TMS — different types address different needs, and it’s
possible that a company would be best served by more than one product.
• The RFP process cannot be about “checking off boxes.” Buyers should focus not
only on what a system does, but how it will specifically help the company.
• Research each TMS — and focus on failures. Ask for the provider’s list of failed
products (and the reasons), as well as its customer satisfaction rate or attrition
rate. If the provider does not track rates, ask why.
Federal funds for port-related programs
will be significantly reduced if President
Donald Trump’s proposed budget
becomes law, which is disconcerting to
the president and CEO of the American
Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).
“We’re apprehensive about the fiscal
2018 budget,” Kurt Nagle told Maritime
Executive. “Adequate federal investments
into U.S. port-related infrastructure, both
on the land side and water side, are crucial
for the efficient movement of goods so the
nation can remain globally competitive.”
Trump’s budget blueprint calls for a
13 percent cut in the budget for the U.S.
Department of Transportation, to US$16.2
billion. It eliminates the department’s
Transportation Investment Generating
Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants
program, which last year awarded
American ports $61.8 million for
infrastructure improvements. Also, the
Port Security Grants Program (PSGP), a
$100-million Department of Homeland
Security endeavor, is slated for a major cut.
“We’re hopeful that, as the fiscal 2018
budget process moves forward, that …
significant federal investments will be
made in port-related infrastructure,”
Nagle told Maritime Executive. “Such
investments will pay huge dividends in
terms of economic growth, American jobs
and tax revenues.”
Definition: Load-to-truck ratio reflects
the number of shipments available
per truck and is a figure that has been
cited as a barometer for the health
of the trucking industry. For example,
load-to-truck ratios were up across all
segments in late February, pushing van
and reefer (refrigerated trailer) rates
higher and sparking optimism for a
stronger trucking market in 2017.
Field guide: In certain parts of the
country, check the harvest schedule to
determine when load-to-truck ratios
will rise. In September 2013, according
to TruckPR ( www.truckpr.com), ratios
from eastern Washington nearly tripled,
with trailers full of just-picked apples.
The same was true of ratios from
Fresno, California, where grapes were
placed in transit. This year, reefer ratios
got a boost with help from flower
shipments for Valentine’s Day.
Factoid: Flatbed freight has had the
most consistent load-to-truck ratio
improvement in 2017, with six straight
weeks of increases heading into mid-March, according to research by DAT
Solutions, a Beaverton, Oregon-based
freight transportation research and
analytics firm. ISM