It’s Time for TMS 2.0

TMS has long been a catch-all term to describe any logistics system that helps manage the process of shipping. Logistics services providers use a TMS and so do their shipper customers, but obviously in different ways.

The term is old, certainly older than the way technology is used by both types of companies today. This begs the question, is the term TMS useful anymore?

The answer is no. And, we’d argue it may even be doing more harm than good. It’s now time for TMS 2.0.

Maybe a new name will help improve the adoption of logistics technology, which is a long-standing weak spot for the industry. Embracing change comes long and hard in the logistics space sometimes and technology is no different.

But what if it’s not resistance to change that makes technology adoption slow - or the expense either? It’s easy to make the business case for technology and show a positive ROI – so there is something else going on.

We believe technology is failing to be more broadly adopted because it’s not designed to be collaborative. New technology that fails to be collaborative in terms of how people work together and how data gets used doesn’t work. Unfortunately, that’s the current model for how most logistics technology is built and sold to the industry.

The embodiment of this problem is with how the term TMS is used so broadly. Yet it's the failure of TMS to enable collaboration among its users that is a big reason the technology comes up short.

LSPs and shippers are not Luddites. And resistance to new technology usually goes deeper than just a fear of change. So, what does modern logistics technology need to offer and what does real collaboration look like?

Collaboration at its best facilitates better decision making. Giving users the ability to work faster is important, but so is finding better ways to use data. Another area currently lacking in the industry is how data is able to be exchanged between systems. Whether it’s a lack of interoperability, data in silos, or data stuck on paper - these are ways the current TMS model often fails its users.

Real collaboration and TMS 2.0 must be based on workflows that allow data to be reused in safe and consistent ways.

A TMS is not only about eliminating phone call and faxes as most companies claim as the prime benefits. TMS 2.0 and furthering technology adoption in the logistics industry has to be built on what we call a dynamic logistics network.

This is a network created around partnerships and connecting different suppliers, facilities, and companies. The logistics technology that can bring true collaboration across this group will have created TMS 2.0 – even if it is called something else.