Logistics Technology: How to Choose a TMS That Fits Your Business

Logistics technology is reshaping every facet of the supply chain to solve persistent challenges and enhance capabilities. Technology like autonomous trucking, dark warehouses, and humanoid robots, once considered a concept, now looks more like the future of logistics.

Logistics technology, specifically Transportation Management Systems (TMS), is no longer a luxury but an imperative for efficient operations. TMS plays a crucial role in the technology strategy for any business that relies on transportation.

This article will guide your TMS selection, helping you understand what is logistics technology and identify the best TMS to fit your business needs and your logistics requirements.

Understanding Your Business Needs

When you choose a TMS, you’re deciding on a technology that will live with you for years. It must solve your problems today, satisfy your needs, and propel your business forward.

With all that needs considering, it’s easy to end up with analysis paralysis. Don’t worry, we have the cure. It starts with understanding your business needs.
  1. What keeps you and your teams up at night? Not literally, but think about your bottlenecks and what your operation would look like if those obstacles didn’t exist.
  2. What tools or systems do you need to achieve long-range plans? Think about where you want your organization to be and what operational improvements or additional TMS capabilities will expedite the journey.
  3. How can you balance financial considerations and operational impact? There is the cost of the TMS, and there is a cost of not having one or not having one that meets your needs.
A TMS is a type of logistics technology capable of elevating other aspects of your business beyond transportation. You can narrow the field of TMS prospects by deepening your understanding of your transportation needs and the customers you support.

Crafting Your TMS Request for Proposal (RFP)

The RFP step is fundamental in moving from understanding your needs to actively addressing them with the right technology investment.

A well-crafted RFP will help you articulate your logistics requirements and set clear expectations for potential vendors. Asking the right questions streamlines the process, saving both parties time and ensuring a good fit.

Here are aspects to consider:

  • Specify what functionalities are crucial for your operations and how the TMS should integrate with existing systems. This is an excellent opportunity to loop in IT.
  • Gather genuine user feedback to detail your expectations for the user interface and the level of customer support required.
  • Outline your security requirements to ensure data integrity, internal governance, and compliance with industry regulations.
By involving key departments early on and investing effort in the RFP process, you reap dividends down the road and prevent future setbacks. This collaborative approach ensures that the solutions proposed by vendors are feasible and aligned with your organization’s infrastructure and security protocols. Proactive planning significantly speeds up subsequent phases of the TMS selection process, which are often more dynamic and impactful.

Evaluating TMS Options

With a short list of TMS vendors, it’s time for the fun part: evaluating the RFP responses and seeing the TMS in action. Whether it’s critical features or cost concerns, you should see vendors that rise to the top and some that just won’t work. Choose who you want to see demonstrations from, but keep in mind that the more you choose to evaluate, the longer the process will take.

Think of the completed RFPs as résumés. Now, it’s time for the interviews. Engage with the top candidates through clarifying questions and request demos to observe firsthand how each TMS manages real-world logistics challenges. During the demo, you can visualize how the system aligns with your identified needs.
If possible, ask if you can see the TMS in action at an existing customer to see how it performs under real-world conditions. This will allow you to speak with actual users and gain insights into strengths, weaknesses, and the level of support that is available.

Decision-Making Criteria for Logistics Technology

Once you’ve done all the homework, there should be a clear front-runner in your TMS search.

  • Features should meet or exceed your transportation and logistics requirements.
  • You should see a strong strategic fit that aligns with growth initiatives and can scale across multiple parts of the organization as it grows.
  • The TMS promises to provide a clear return on investment through efficiency gains, task automation, and logistics optimization.
  • It shows the potential to create competitive advantages, analyze data, and provide insights to improve operations.
A TMS is an essential tool in understanding and fulfilling your evolving business needs, ensuring your operations are both efficient and scalable. You should feel confident that the chosen logistics technology will provide the benefits your organization needs to thrive under varying market conditions.

Calculate your potential Saving While Using an enterprise TMS

Confidently Choosing the Right TMS

At MercuryGate, we are confident that we have the best transportation management system on the market. We encourage you to schedule a demo to see for yourself.

Choosing the MercuryGate enterprise transportation management system means investing in a solution that meets the immediate logistical needs of your business. It also supports long-term strategic, operational, and financial goals. As a result, MercuryGate TMS is an ideal partner in the logistics and transportation industry.

For more information to help you identify your ideal logistics technology, download our eBook paper How to Navigate Your TMS Journey, The Four Steps of Your TMS Journey.

Learn About 4 Steps Of The TMS Buyer Journey


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