Why TMS Usability Matters

Why TMS Usability Matters

Take a moment to think about usability within a Transportation Management System (TMS). Usability might not seem like a big issue, but what happens if TMS usability within a new platform your company has invested in makes it harder for employees to schedule freight? What happens if the TMS is cumbersome and takes five extra minutes to schedule a single shipment? Now amplify that example across 10,000 shipments. If the level of usability amounts to 50,000 extra minutes, that’s almost 1,000 hours that lower return on investment (ROI). But, imagine the example in reverse—that’s a savings of almost 1,000 hours. Usability is crucial when it comes to your employees’ adoption of a TMS, and the sharing of data across departments in your organization. Without usability and automation, your organization may be left with the same outdated and inefficient processes. To improve ROI, shippers need to understand the real costs of poor TMS usability, the benefits of usability and TMS adoption for an enterprise, and a few tips for maximizing TMS usability.

The High Costs of Limited TMS Usability

Limited TMS usability is a simple issue. Without usability, employees cannot fulfill their duties as efficiently as possible. It’s often been said that time is money, and any time-related problem could be the key factor in a missed or late delivery. In many cases, usability is overlooked in the design of a TMS in an effort to pack in features that may not even be needed or wanted by users. As reported by Talking Logistics with Adrian Gonzalez:

“Many user interfaces are crammed with too many features and too much information that users don’t need or want to accomplish their tasks; have non-intuitive workflows that don’t align with the way users are accustomed to working (or the way they want to work); or force users to open multiple windows and tabs, and click countless times, to accomplish what should be a straightforward task.”

As it stands today, most TMS implementations have a typical ROI of approximately 7%. While that return on investment is a positive for any business, it’s often not enough to stay competitive in today’s highly complex supply chains. A recent Grand View Research report found that the global TMS market will swell at a CAGR of 16.2% between 2019 and 2025, and part of the strong growth will stem from improved TMS usability. As the state of the TMS market changes, supply chain leaders must evolve to ensure their organizations can leverage and reap the greatest value from any new investment in a supply chain system, including TMS.

Benefits of TMS Usability for Your Organization

TMS usability is the key defining characteristic of organizations that achieve a stronger ROI for TMS implementation. The benefits of improved usability are clear, including:
  • Increased adoption rates among supply chain partners.
  • Reduced data entry errors.
  • Decreased labor costs.
  • Improved supply chain collaboration.
  • Increased visibility into operations and shipments.
  • Better reporting capabilities.
  • Increased automation.
  • Increased compliance with new and evolving regulations.

How to Ensure Proper, Above-Expectations Usability of Your Transportation Management Platform

A TMS’s ease of use also hinges on the ability of your team to set clear expectations for how implementation will go and how a new system will be better than the status quo. Here are some real-world tips you can follow to prove the value of a TMS and its ease of use:

Managing Supply Chain Disruptions within Peak Shipping Seasons

  • Use dashboards to streamline reporting throughout your organization, showing how the TMS connects employees to management and vice versa.
  • Take advantage of available portals to automate and outsource carrier, supplier, and customer management, reducing the busywork of staff.
  • Leverage intuitive learning modules with the TMS, which will reduce the number of clicks and hassle in managing and booking freight.
  • Eliminate complex coding integrations with APIs, enabling a faster launch and fewer hiccups along the way.
  • Work with an expert that will hear the concerns of your staff and mitigate change management issues during the training process.

Deploy a System Based on TMS Usability by Choosing MercuryGate

Several years ago the desire for TMS usability wasn’t at the forefront for shippers looking to invest in a TMS. TMS was primarily used as a way to source carriers more quickly, and often a way to get to a digital bill-of-lading. However, modern, enterprise-scalable TMS solutions today often include many more features to drive ROI. With a greater number of features, it’s easy to see how users may struggle to get the most out of a TMS if it is seen as being harder to use. Without a usable system that promotes adoption across all employees, the value of work decreases and the quest for ROI takes much longer than desired. Instead of hoping your team uses the system, guarantee that they will by investing in the power and functionality of the MercuryGate platform.

Request your MercuryGate demo online to get started.

Bob Davidek
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