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How to Select the Right Shipping System for your Business: Part 3

How can you be sure you’re selecting the right shipping system for your business?  It’s the number one question every manager faces when weighing the costs and benefits of replacing a legacy system.  There is, unfortunately, no easy answer.  Shipping operations – and shipping software requirements – are more complex than ever; and there is usually no “out of the box” solution that meets most shippers’ needs.  

In the inaugural post of this series, How to Select the Right Shipping System for your Business: Part 1, we examined how to improve your odds for success by creating a shipping requirements blueprint.  In today’s post, the third in the series, we take a look at planning sessions.

Request a Planning Session

At this stage, you should have a very short list of potential vendors.  The best way to identify the best partner is to conduct a detailed planning session to review the vendor’s product, project implementation, and support methodologies.  Plan to include your key operational and IT staff in this discussion to ensure all critical areas, as outlined in your requirements document, are covered.  The vendor should be prepared to showcase their project resources during this meeting and provide a demonstration of the system based on real-world scenarios provided by your team.

It’s important to remember throughout this meeting the compelling reason behind implementing a new TMS for parcel. We find it’s very rarely a technology change that triggers an upgrade to our solution, but rather a business reason, such as the need for additional business features, wider carrier integration capabilities, better analytics, improved ability to make strategic decisions, and more. Make sure that as the vendor answers your questions, demonstrates their solution, and discusses their implementation methodology, they’re value propositions align with your compelling reason.

Put Fears to Rest

If you’re already using a shipping management system, whether it’s an older TMS or even a legacy carrier management solution that’s part of your WMS, then you may worry about the difficulty of upgrading.  Good news: this planning session is a great way to either validate or refute those fears.

New call-to-actionIn our experience, TMS for parcel systems don’t require large “master data” migrations.  Most of the assets lie in carrier connectivity, compliance, and contract data. So, the migration pain is generally limited. And remember: the idea is not to complete a data mapping exercise at this meeting, but rather to identify the right team members to create a detailed data map before implementation begins.

The biggest challenge we face when migrating from another TMS technology to a Logistyx solution comes when a shipper expects a like-for-like migration, with a similar level of features. In most cases, however, planning session discussions reveal the shipper doesn’t really need a like-for-like migration, they need to redesign the system to meet current requirements and lay the groundwork to scale.

Bottom Line: It’s a Partnership

Hopefully, you’ll gain great insights into the vendors’ level of expertise based on their responses and ideas generated during this planning session.  And at its conclusion, you should also be in a good position to identify the best vendor for your project–one whose team brings in-depth technical and industry expertise to the table.

To learn more about how Logistyx partners with its global customer base, contact us today.