Since 2003, one of our strategic partners, JBF Consulting, has been helping shippers of all sizes and across many industries select, implement, and source as much value as possible out of their logistics systems. They do a great job getting to know you, understanding your needs, and collaborating with you on solutions to all your logistics challenges. With over 70 years of combined logistics and Transportation Management System (TMS) implementation experience, JBF knows what it takes to find and implement a TMS.
We collaborate with JBF Consulting on various initiatives because of our common culture, success, and proven methods that fit very well with our customer’s expectations. They’ve created a handy buyer’s guide that you can download here, or you can also read below for our summary.
SELECTION VS DISCOVERY
The guide starts off with a very simple, but important, distinction. It explains how critical it is to do a thorough amount of research before you even begin the selection process. JBF recommends having a clear understanding of what you’re looking to gain by investing in a TMS by taking a strategic approach. Start by answering these simple questions:
- Where are you unique?
- What differentiating requirements do you have?
- What are your pain points?
- What is your budget?
By zeroing in on your strategy you will more easily determine which TMS is the most appropriate for your business, technology goals, objectives, and requirements. And you want to be sure the research you do is well-rounded. Don’t just look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) and make your decision based on that. Of course, make use of the MQ as part of your fact-finding phase, but be sure to practice due diligence too, and look into other sources. While the Gartner MQ can be handy, it doesn’t profile all the thriving TMS solutions out there, of which there are many.
The interconnectedness of supply chains means the solutions serving the chain are becoming more and more complex. Gone are the days of having a TMS only. Now, there are a variety of different providers with add-on services designed to meet the totality of a shipper’s freight management needs. When evaluating your operation’s needs, dig down to see what’s essential.
- Do you need to know where your truck is at any given time?
- Are you looking for help with fleet planning and dispatching?
- Would streamlining receiving and shipping operations once product arrives at the DC be beneficial?
Knowing this will help narrow down the list to TMSs that integrate with other solution providers that offer those value-added capabilities.
START WITH REQUIREMENTS
JBF Consulting has been helping clients on their TMS journey for 20 years, which means they employ a tried and true strategy that’s helped countless clients find the TMS that’s right for them. Their TMS Buyer’s Guide will have more details, but below is an overview.
- Start by defining what the desired end state is, so that you can work backward to ensure you reach the target goal. You’ll want to consider what your key imperatives for the next five to ten years are. Be sure to account for the organization’s strategic and corporate objectives.
- Understand the organization’s “foundational” functional requirements.
- Plan the enterprise design, which will help you identify any gaps, uncover any varying requirements, and will highlight any complexities that should be taken into consideration.
- Prioritize your requirements and capabilities.
- Quantify program goals and objectives.
With this homework completed, JBF then moves on to the vendor identification portion of its process. Like Cornerstone Edge, JBF Consulting doesn’t accept referral fees from software vendors in exchange for a recommendation, so when they recommend a vendor, it’s because they believe it’s a true fit, nothing else.
Their process is designed to ensure the right TMS is selected from the get-go. To download their TMS Buyer’s Guide, click here. If you’re looking for this same level of guidance, but with regard to a WMS, we can help, simply give us a call!