You know you need software to help you manage your business. These days, transporting freight anywhere requires more than just a paper trail – it needs to be digital, and it needs to provide a wealth of information both for your clients, and for your business to run smoothly.
Often, this is the primary focus for any transportation management software. You need to provide documents and data to clients, and you need data and documents for your own record keeping. Choosing your TMS usually revolves around selecting the features you want, and often spending extra to ensure you get all the add-on features your particular business needs the most.
What’s seldom considered is what else your transportation management software can accomplish for you beyond simply providing your clients with what they ask for.
What about the impact the TMS has on your bottom line? Or on the day to day productivity of your staff?
How much time do your employees spend simply searching for a data field and then inputting it into another document?
How much time do your employees spend trying to determine the best rates for a particular shipment?
How many sites do your employees have to comb through to find available shippers and their rates?
For partial truckloads or full shipments?
How much time would you save if these tasks were automated?
How much time would you save if your team could access all the things they needed were accessible in a single dashboard?
It is, of course, important to provide your clients with the documentation they need for their business. Being able to easily and accurately provide them with the paperwork they need for their transactions and their own clients is likely one of your main selling points.
But it’s important not to neglect your own business needs when shopping for your software, either as a new freight brokerage just getting started, or as an established company looking to upgrade your current offerings.
There’s countless small actions your employees make every day that add up to hours of wasted time. Each click between windows, each time someone has to copy and paste data, each time someone has to manually scroll through a list and create a spreadsheet to compare rates – these are all tasks that are sucking away the productive time of your team.
For example – does your accounting department still need to do double entry into Quickbooks from your current TMS, or worse, from excel spreadsheets? How much time does it take them to input things twice? How often are errors made? What safeguards do you have in place to catch errors?
You could save that time (and remove the risk of errors from double entry) by simply utilizing a better TMS that can sync with Quickbooks. No more time spent on double entry, and no more errors as a result.
It may be just an exercise in data entry or copy paste for your employees to transfer data from your TMS into Quickbooks, but that time adds up. Even just one person spending a total of an hour a day copying data from one system to another adds up to 20 hours spent each month on a task that you could automate.
How much do the wages cost to pay someone for those 20 hours of copy/pasting each month?
That’s just for your bookkeeping, too. That doesn’t take into account the amount of double entry you need to do between different carrier websites or rating options, from finding the rates and carriers to inputting that data into a proposal or invoice.
To really grasp just how expensive the process of simply copy pasting from one window to another really gets, try keeping a tally for just an hour or two to see how often you or your team are having to copy data. How many times in an hour do you have to switch between windows or programs to get the data you need?
It’s probably more than once or twice.
And the larger your team, the more that time adds up.
Not only is copying and pasting itself a time consuming activity, but the impact on your team is deeper than simply time wasted clicking buttons. By having to switch between windows and multitask, your team could be losing as much as 40% of their productive time. That’s not a made up number, either – the American Psychological Association studied the effects of multitasking and found that result.
Between the time spent on a small, mindless task that could be automated, and the lost productivity as a result of your team having to multitask to find data, copy it, confirm it’s correct and copied in the right place, as well as manage emails, phones, or reports… the time lost could be costing you the equivalent of a full time employee.
The best way to counter this type of time and money waste is to utilize an efficient transportation management software that integrates with every program you use.
The most adaptable and efficient types of TMS utilize APIs (application program interface) to allow the TMS to “talk” to your other programs, pulling in data and pushing it back out to the relevant place to minimize how much you have to copy and paste manually.
Imagine generating invoices, bills of lading, or reports all with just one click – and having those all update as needed within Quickbooks, too.
Imagine if your sales team could easily access your TMS on the road, and look up rates or invoices for their clients through a single dashboard. Generate reports for them automatically, or generate your own – reports such as Profitability Report by Tariff, or total customer entered orders.
Utilizing an adaptable, advanced TMS is one of the smartest decisions your company could make. The cost per month of an easy to use, fully integrated TMS is easily recouped purely in the amount of time your entire team will save.
Rather than viewing your transportation management software as simply a necessary expense to provide your clients with the data they need, look at it as an opportunity to increase your profitability. With effective TMS utilized across even a mid-sized team, you could save enough time over the course of a year to be equivalent to having an extra full time employee on your payroll.
When considering your TMS options, keep the time saving and efficiency aspects in mind when making your decision.
Your transportation management software could, and should, save you enough time each month to pay for itself. Great TMS could save you even more time.
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