The value of retail shipping efficiency has never been more important. According to Entrepreneur.com, the value of worldwide e-commerce sales will grow 246% by 2021, amassing a financial gain of more than $3.2 trillion. In conjunction, demand for a better, more effective way to differentiate a business from its competitors will swell, and shippers continue to fight for a bigger, better shipping mousetrap. SaaS TMS functions are the answer, and shippers need to know why.
The Problems With Traditional, Legacy TMS Capabilities
Challenges of traditional, legacy TMS capabilities derive from the need for a global solution to freight management. Over recent decades, the global supply chain grew reliant on China and the need for cheaper freight and service. Today’s customers expect a low-cost, immediate shipping option, and companies without this capability will lose revenue.
Meanwhile, limited TMS capabilities include a lack of visibility and poor compatibility with the advancing systems used in e-commerce. Lack of visibility implies a lack of real-time inventory management controls. While this might not be a problem for shippers with excess inventory on hand, such failures leave little room for error when disruption arises.
How to Evaluate, Select & Build the Case for A TMS
For those still unconvinced, ask a final question. Does your TMS offer the ability to connect with Amazon, eBay and Alibaba? If not, you are leaving money and risk on the table. “According to a 2017 International Post Corporation (IPC) survey of 29,000 International customers in 30 countries, 53% of all consumer international ecommerce purchases go through just three marketplaces: Amazon, eBay and Alibaba. Marketplaces can help solve currency conversion issues and provide international exposure to many customers to create potentially tremendous new business opportunities.” So, the problems are evident. What can shippers do about them?
SaaS TMS Functions Enable Disruption Management
Deploying a cloud-based, subscription-modeled TMS, a.k.a. SaaS, gives shippers broad flexibility through adaptive programming. The off-site, third-party nature of a subscription solution opens the door to new SaaS TMS functions, such as integrated accounting services, auditing capabilities, reduced delay in reporting, increased transparency into freight management, and more.
These capabilities have a natural value in mitigating risks, such as the COVID-19 disruption.
For example, SaaS TMS functions that allow for rapid onboarding of new carriers and suppliers is an invaluable resource when suppliers and carriers lack inventory or shipping capacity to meet sudden demands.
How to Leverage a SaaS TMS Functions to Improve Shipping Processes
Depending on the SaaS TMS functions available, whole webinars and learning modules may be available to help maximize return on investment (ROI). However, the best TMS functions are also often the simplest and most comprehensive. Instead of trying to focus on squeezing every drop of efficiency from all processes, take a broad approach to maximizing value. This allows for the continuous narrowing of TMS use to improve efficiency and reap the greatest benefit. So, shippers in search of the better shipping mousetrap should follow these steps to maximize value of SaaS TMS functions:
- Manage procurement and suppliers with the TMS. A TMS is only as valuable as the length to which it extends within the supply chain. Use it to handle inbound and outbound freight management processes.
- Utilize an API to connect legacy systems and technologies to the TMS. Obviously, upgrading all systems to SaaS platforms is an ideal solution, but it is impractical for companies with limited investment funds.
- Take advantage of vendor-provided resources, such as training modules, chatbots, and around-the-clock services to avoid downtime after launch. Depending on the software vendor, consider asking an outside expert to help guide your IT team through the process too. Of course, the best vendors, like Cerasis, will have a vast support network already in place and ready to help your IT team succeed.
- Share your data with supply chain partners. Access to data throughout the supply chain, particularly freight management data, is essential to speeding quoting processes and eliminating risk.
- Conduct a full ROI analysis. A comprehensive analysis is essential to justifying the ongoing subscription costs of any SaaS platform, as well as savings’ projections.
- Enable automatic updates. Since SaaS TMS functions rely on the latest code from the software vendor, ensure automatic updates are turned “on.” Some vendors may allow vendors to delay or pause updates, but it is advisable to complete updates as soon as possible.
- Leverage optimization tools, such as included freight rate indices, to make more informed decisions about freight management. Accuracy in quoting is essential to keeping customers informed and avoiding “surprise freight bills” from carriers.
Deploy an Advanced TMS That Handles End-to-End Freight Management
The state of global shipping continues to move in response to the coronavirus crisis and the need to fulfill more orders as quickly as possible. Since maintaining business continuity is more important during times of disruption, shippers need to implement a SaaS TMS immediately. Furthermore, the long-term benefits of SaaS platforms far outweigh the challenges of implementation and building support for change management. SaaS TMS functions can support the whole operation from the first hint of procurement through final mile. Of course, an expert vendor partnership, such as working with Cerasis, will further maximize the value of the TMS too.