3 Steps to Speed Up Your TMS Implementation
Your company has done its research and determined a transportation management system (TMS) is a wise investment for your supply chain. There is money in the budget, the request for proposals have been returned, and the TMS candidates have been narrowed down. All that is left to do is select a TMS partner, get through the contracting process, and schedule the project kickoff. After that the real work can begin, right? Not quite.
There are 3 steps to speed up your TMS implementation that can save, at minimum, a week or two’s worth of work once the project officially starts.
First things first, identify the project team and understand their availability. Most companies have multiple projects running in parallel so getting their percentage of availability and timeline helps plan out the TMS implementation.
- You will want order entry, transportation, warehouse, and finance experts as well as development resources including the person who will be scrubbing master data.
Speaking of master data, scrubbing can start pretty much anytime. Identifying duplicate and invalid locations, vendors, and customers in master data will not only help the implementation, but also the integrity of your data and reporting in the long term. There will also be information gathering regarding current state on who enters master data and how well they are doing.
It could be argued that having clean data upfront is the single biggest low hanging fruit for saving time during the implementation.
Another helpful exercise to get out of the way before project kickoff is assembling a high level system design. Understanding what systems talk to each other, how they communicate, and their timings become important when designing where the TMS fits in.
- Identifying pain points and exceptions early on helps determine what can be changed and what can’t as a part of the project. All of these discoveries cut down on subsequent conference calls that need to take place post kickoff.
If there was ever a contender for most commonly seen bottleneck in an implementation it is IT resources and integration capabilities so step 3 is very helpful in speeding things up.
Explore early on what file formats and delivery methods your company is comfortable with. Determining if middleware will play a role in integration will allow the project team to get in front of possible issues and have ample time to address them.
- LeanLogistics supports multiple communication protocols and file formats, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, to mitigate some of these concerns and offer flexibility. Asking the development team to create a SOAP web service from scratch may not be the best use of the teams’ time, especially if they have no experience with it in the past. Knowing this upfront, however, will allow the team to plan the time needed to figure a protocol like this out and still have an on time go live.
These three steps should produce a list of topics to dig deeper into, but will also have freed up time that would have been spent between project kick off and project go live.
Completing this work upfront may now afford you the opportunity to expand the scope of the overall project. The project which may have been limited to only a few modules rolled out over a couple of geographies, could now be the whole suite of technology across the entire supply chain.
Tagged cost savings, data, developers, LeanLogistics, LeanTMS, Supply Chain, Technology, TMS, Transportation, transportation management, transportation management system