Guest Commentary: The Top 15 Signs You’re Ready for a Cloud-Based TMS

Since September of 1985, David Letterman of The Late Show has been amusing viewers with his Top 10 lists. Because we’re enjoying a holiday this week, let’s use that format to explore the technology tipping point for logistics companies.

There comes a time when growing companies need to take a long look at their current state and their prospects for the future and ask themselves, Do we have the tools and the talent we need to get to the next level? Can we scale our current operations to manage new growth? Are we able to take on new projects and expand our service offerings? Can we continue to service our customers and remain competitive with the systems we use today?

For logistics companies, the answer to these questions will determine if they rapidly accelerate to the next level and leave the competition in the rear view mirror or get left in the dust. Where is your “tipping point” for investing in best-of-breed transportation management technology? With a TMS market adoption rate below 40 percent, it’s clear there are still many companies struggling with these questions.

In the spirit of The Late Show, we offer the following list of the top 15 signs you’re ready for a cloud-based transportation management system:

15. Your “optimization engine” has a gray beard and sits in a room no one else dares to enter.

14. To you, “optimization” is about planning the shortest route to work.

13. You call the airport for “Control Tower Visibility.”

12. Carnac the Magnificent plans your transportation.

11. The only collaboration you do is with your team to decide where to have lunch.

10. You have more control of your children than your bookings.

9. Your customers know about your shipping problems before you do.

8. “Track & trace” is looking out the window to see if the truck has left the dock.

7. 10+2 equals a migraine headache.

6. You think “in the cloud” is where the angels live.

5. You have more than one computer monitor on your desk to manage your transportation.

4. You use a dart board to select your carriers.

3. You prefer a trip to the dentist rather than dealing with cost allocation.

2. You just overnighted a package across the street.

Drum roll…and the number one sign you’re ready for a cloud-based TMS:

1. Bob, who has been booking your shipments for 30 years, just bought a retirement condo in South Florida.

If any of these hit a little too close to home, it’s time to ask yourself, “Am I at my technology tipping point? Will a cloud-based TMS make me more competitive?” Recent studies show that today’s cloud-based solutions are scalable and fully functional, easy to implement and are more cost effective than traditionally deployed software solutions. One well-known industry watchdog reports that by 2015, 90 percent of government and businesses will leverage some aspect of cloud computing.

Whether you’re an early-stage, rapidly growing business or a mature, global enterprise, a configurable cloud-based TMS will improve your ability to be competitive and service your clients. If you’re approaching a technology tipping point, maybe it’s time to take down that dart board, dismiss Carnac, find another use for the “optimization engine,” and send Bob to his condo in Florida.

Peter Yost is the Director of Business Development at MercuryGate International. He has 30 years of experience in technology sales & marketing, including 10 years in the logistics industry. He is responsible for MercuryGate’s domestic and international partner ecosystem that is expanding the company’s reach into Europe, Asia and South America. Peter has a BBA in Marketing and Information Technology from Georgia Southern University.