To keep up with the times is a responsibility and a task for every business. Modern technologies develop, and so do businesses. If you ignore trends and stay complacent in your achievements, you are very likely to lose in this eternal race, in which even a one-week delay in making a decision can play a dirty trick on you. When the playoffs start, what should business owners do to always keep abreast of the situation on the market and avoid being outplayed?
To maximize the efficiency of business processes, one should not only automate them but also constantly hold his or her finger on the business’ pulse:
- update the existing software and modernize the hardware;
- involve narrowly focused specialists in the projects;
- reorganize the staff;
- increase the employees’ qualification level;
- introduce specialized software to work processes to save resources;
- monitor work processes and introduce timely and effective changes.
This is only a small part of the many methods that most entrepreneurs use in practice. In reality, each and every situation requires an individual approach and detailed study of all the processes from the inside.
What can you improve in an existing TMS?
Below, I provide a list of five popular solutions that will help you increase the value of your company for your existing customers and attract new ones.
#1 Integration of TMS with popular B2B and B2C eCommerce platforms
Using popular eCommerce platforms in B2B and B2C segments is the most appropriate solution for wholesalers, manufacturers and 3PL companies. Such famous CMSs as Shopify, Magento, WordPress, PrestaShop and WooCommerce have become inseparable parts of all online businesses. Such content management systems enable one to easily set up automatic data exchange between the suppliers and the customer to check the availability of the products and in this way reduce considerably the time spent on order processing.
What are the options for the integration of TMS with CMS?
- Integration of your TMS with a popular CMS such as Shopify, Magento, WordPress, PrestaShop or WooCommerce. In most cases, modern TMSs come with built-in or additional modules. Consult your integration specialist to find out what options for integration with different CMSs are available.
- Integration via API. This method is applicable for old versions of TMSs and for the case when you need to develop a universal module for integration with all CMSs, including the self-developed ones. Again, you can ask your integrator to do this. Or you can contact a specialized outsourcing company that will handle this task with the same level of quality and at a reasonable cost.
#2 Automatic data exchange between TMS and the client’s ERP
Using the Electronic Data Interchange system (EDI) is a way to speed up the exchange of documents between the companies. Such integration allows you to control the work of a 3PL contractor in real-time. For example, you will be able to monitor the speed of order gathering, time of dispatch, product surpluses, etc.
How do you integrate TMS with ERP?
- Integration via EDI. This is an older, more complex and expensive technology. For this reason, it is used mainly by large enterprises. But there are also solutions for EDI integration with the use of API.
- Integration via API. A modern, simple and more popular solution for companies of all sizes.
To learn more about the options of ERP and TMS integration, read the article Integrating Your ERP with 3PL Provider on our website. This article is about ERP, but the point is the same.
#3 Improving navigation for transport
How to track the movement of transport in real-time? How to estimate the delivery time for a particular customer with maximum accuracy? How to plan the best possible route and reduce fuel costs during the delivery?
There is one answer to these questions – to implement GPS tracking into your TMS. This function will help your clients improve their services. For instance, they will be able to tell their customers the exact time of delivery.
#4 Moving TMS to the cloud
Cloud technologies have been conquering the telecommunications market rapidly, and this has become particularly relevant during the pandemic. Speaking at CES 2021, Karthik Narain, Lead of Accenture Cloud First, said that “cloud has fundamentally taken a different form post-COVID[-19], where cloud is more of a transformational capability for organizations.”
Using cloud technologies resources can facilitate the further modernization of software and greatly simplify the process of integration with other popular services. Moreover, business owners can save costs allocated to purchase and further maintenance of the hardware.
By the way, according to MarketsandMarkets analytics, the global cloud ERP market reached $45.3 billion in 2020. So my advice is to keep up with the times and switch to the cloud.
#5 Implementation of Big Data processing for forecasting and resource planning
Big Data is on everyone’s lips now. Entrepreneurs want to process big data as it allows them to model and predict sales. However, for small and medium-sized companies it is a very expensive procedure. Hence, by adding such a service to a 3PL company’s offer, you will provide them with new opportunities for analytics and forecasting.
How to make the first step?
If you consider upgrading your software, you should first contact your TMS vendor, who knows the specifics of its work and integration with the third-party services. Another option is to use the services of an outsourcing company specializing in the configuration and integration of software platforms for business.