How much time does it take to implement Transport Management Software (TMS)?

Customers regularly ask how much time it takes to implement Transport Management Software. The answer to this question often varies and depends on several factors. In this article we take a closer look at all the factors that influence implementation time.

1. Determining goals and creating a support base

The success of a TMS software implementation depends on how the software is used after implementation. Not everyone is always eager to use new software. In order not to lose time, it is therefore advisable to carefully consider and agree on the purpose and added value of the transport management software before starting an implementation. Questions that can be asked are:

  • How is work done now? What is going well, and what could be improved?
  • What improvements do we expect from the new Transport management software?
  • How do we deal with any existing software and suppliers?
  • Can and do people want to be involved in the implementation?

The better these questions can be answered, the less delays there will be in TMS implementation. In addition, it is important to involve colleagues who will use it so that support is created. To create support, considerations can be given to:

  • Inform employees at an early stage and ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and insight
  • Help employees to gain insight into what the change means for them and what they can do with it
  • Give the employee a meaningful role in the plan

However, when employees are surprised with the choice of new transport management software, without being involved in the process, the chance of delays is greater.

2. Functionality

You probably recognize that prior to a project there is no thick project document of the current situation and the desired situation. NextUp is also not in favor of this because it costs a lot of time and money. In addition, we know from experience that it is often partially or not read at all by others.

However, in order to carry out a TMS implementation efficiently and effectively, it is advisable to make an inventory in advance of what project members expect from the transport management software. Questions that can be asked are:

  • Which modules, functionalities and standard integrations will be used?
  • Do new links need to be made with external systems?
  • Are there specific wishes regarding the layout of documents? This includes the order confirmation, track & trace or invoice.
  • Are there specific wishes that still need to be developed?
  • Are all wishes regarding privacy and security regarding transport management software clear?

If these questions are answered in advance, this will benefit the lead time of the implementation of the transport management software.

For the duration of the TMS implementation, it is important to make an inventory of which modules, functionalities and links must be implemented from the start. A commonly used method is to distinguish between Must have, Should have and Nice to have. This gives the organization the opportunity to use the TMS software in phases because it significantly shortens the initial implementation.

3. Team and planning

Now that the goals of the implementation and the desired functionalities have been determined, the team can be put together. For organizations with 1 or 2 planners for up to 20 vehicles or charters, 1 or 2 people are often actively involved in the implementation. As the number of planners, vehicles, and trips increases in an organization, the greater the complexity. The number of people actively involved in the implementation will then increase. The lead time also often increases in these cases.

An estimate will be made for how much time it will take for each part of the software. This includes inventorying processes, cleaning and entering data, learning to work with the software, testing and training other colleagues. One or more people will then be held responsible for this. It is crucial that time is actually made available to maintain the correct progress.

Ensure that implementation is given the right priority at management level. When several large projects are underway, this must be taken into account. Always actively review the planning with colleagues and ensure that everyone can free up enough time to do his or her tasks. In both smaller and larger organizations, a TMS implementation starts with a kickoff in which all people involved in the implementation are introduced to each other. Divisions of tasks and expectations are clearly expressed to each other.

4. Availability of data and its quality

An important part that has a major influence on the implementation time is the availability of data and its quality. Consider, for example, customer data or rates. Prior to an implementation, try to determine whether this data is complete and whether it may need to be cleaned up first. If this has to be done manually and large amounts of data are involved, it can take a lot of extra time. Once the data is in order, it may make sense to import this data automatically.

About NextUp

NextUp has 10 years of experience in developing, implementing and maintaining transport management software for retail, trading, production and logistics industries. We are experts in understanding (unique) business processes and developing software systems for your business operations.

Do you have questions or would you like to know more about TMS implementations? Schedule an online appointment or contact us for the options.

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