Is your organization seeking to replace its current Transportation Management System (TMS) or obtain a TMS for the first time? Besides the obvious factors, such as overall cost, functionality that meets your requirements, and the ability to integrate with your current system and trading partners, below are five points to consider when shopping for a TMS.

1. Understand how the software works.

Do your homework and define your requirements! Does your company need a cloud- or premises-based technology? Similarly, whether you seek an auction-based TMS, a TMS based on your preferredcarriers, or a combination of both, each TMS provider you consider should have a website with accompanying marketing materials. Read the website content, including digesting any available case studies and/or whitepapers offered about similar customers successes with the product. Above all, be sure to view any marketing or demonstration videos the company has made about their products. If you do not come away from a marketing video without at least a cursory understanding of how the companys TMS product works, move on to stronger options with clearer explanations. If you have questions about the TMS features, be sure to reach out to your contact at the TMS provider. A strong provider will respond with prompt and thorough information.

2. Seek a partnership rather than just a product.

A company with a solid website, informative videos, and detailed case studies typically will have a long history of customer partnership. Your organization will cherish this partnership when onboarding the RFP. Rather than simply choosing a plug-and-play TMS, consider providers who are able to understand your business unique rules and needs. If you work in procurement for a small to medium-sized organization without a robust, dedicated IT department to onboard the product, a friendly, professional relationship with your TMS provider is paramount. For example, should your volume suddenly escalate, you will need open and effective communication lines with a provider that can quickly and accurately respond to your needs and adjust the products rules. A good TMS partner will teach you how to adjust the unique rules in the future, adding to the products utility and convenience.

3. Prioritize scalability.

Similarly, the partnership you seek with your TMS provider should allow you to scale upand downaccording to your business needs. If you need to integrate the new TMS with an Enterprise Resource Program (ERP) or an existing Warehouse Management System (WMS), the TMS should be able to deliver integration with little fuss. A customizable solution is best, especially if your organization merges with another, is purchased as part of an acquisition, or simply grows in size. TMS providers with dedicated, in-house developers can respond to these needs quickly, adding features to optimize the product for your organizations needs.

4. Seek value-driven options.

Consider TMS companies with cost-per-transaction pricing models. Some customizable TMS programs cost as little as $1 to process an order. A low pertransaction cost, combined with customizable scalability and a communicative vendor partnership, equals the best value for your buck when it comes to TMS products.

5. Consider the value of quick implementation.

Acustomizable product with low costwhats the catch?Often, custom products require a steep learning curve. Toreiterate point No. 1: Understand how the software works,and, if possible, try before you buy. A dedicated TMS partnerwill take the time to demonstrate the product for you, or itwill have resources you can use to try the product by yourselfbefore committing to a purchase and contract.The onboarding process for a new TMS should not bepainful; prioritize a simple interface and the softwares abilityto integrate easily with your existing systems. If anythingfeels or looks unintuitive to your eye during the set-up process,point it out to your provider. A truly custom solution willchange those screens or buttons to appear exactly how your
organization wants them to appear.

Best of luck in your comparison shopping for a new TMS!When you do begin researching, be sure to evaluate eachTMS equally on these 5 factors.