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How to Find the Right Transportation Management System (TMS)


February 1, 2016

The most important freight broker software system that anyone in the freight brokerage industry needs is a Transportation Management System (or TMS for short). A quality TMS can help you match the right carriers with the appropriate loads, route those loads most effectively and streamline other critical organizational needs you have. Unfortunately, not all Transportation Management Systems are created equal. Here are some criteria to keep in mind when researching which product is right for you.

Stability – The first thing you want to look for in a TMS is how stable its developer/provider is. Even if you’ve heard of the company before, getting recommendations and checking references is highly recommended. You should also verify the financial stability of the company you’re considering. This may require work upfront, but worth it to avoid having the TMS company you chose go belly up after you’ve implemented it in your freight brokerage.

Compatibility – Regardless of how stable a TMS company happens to be, it’s also important to ensure that it’s compatible with the needs of your freight brokerage operation. For instance, a big-name company might meet the stability challenge, but their product might be way too complicated for the needs of a small brokerage. Conduct a needs assessment prior to comparing products so you’ll know which TMS would make the most sense for your firm.

Service Levels – Many software developers are super hands-on and attentive during the sales process only to disappear without a trace once the product has been purchased and implemented. You’ll want to look for a company that offers proven service and support after the sale. Ask as many questions as possible during the selection process, such as whether they offer training and convenient support hours. Also, ask for and check references.

Carrier Relationships – The purpose of adopting a Transportation Management System is to make your life easier. One significant way in particular your TMS can accomplish this goal is by organizing your carrier relationships. A quality software system will allow you to manage your carrier contracts as well as keep track of important contract details. It can even help you identify which carrier is best for each load and calculate cost so you’ll know better how much to charge.

Shipment Tracking – Finally, though equally important, a great TMS should allow you to track your freight brokerage shipments in real-time, right down to the tiniest detail about in-transit items. This will allow you to keep your customers more informed and therefore more satisfied. Ultimately, the most effective system will provide visibility into truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL) and parcel shipping details.

Choosing the right software product is important, particularly in terms of maximizing your freight broker leads and shipments. Knowing ahead of time what factors will truly make the difference can help ensure you end up with the TMS product that’s perfect for your needs.

For additional freight broker tips, including how to leverage freight broker factoring to improve your brokerage firm’s cash flow, give us a call today or check out our other blog posts here.