Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

5 Steps for a Successful Global TMS Implementation

TMS implementationHow can global shippers most efficiently distribute products to an extremely diverse, multinational customer base? Delivering exceptional service levels, regardless of where products are sourced and manufactured, or how buyers choose to purchase products is a constant challenge. To accomplish it, many turn to global logistics solutions that blend transportation management system (TMS) technology with supply chain expertise.

Implementing this kind of TMS solution is a transformative process. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. But there are certain steps you can take to make it as successful as possible.

  1. Secure top-down support in the beginning

It’s a critical first step, one you never want to skip. Get a diverse cross-section of leadership onboard and aligned with your process—educate them on what you are trying to achieve. Their buy-in ensures your overall strategies are in-sync before you begin diving into more complex change management issues.

The entire leadership team should be sufficiently prepared, knowledgeable, and on board about the program’s goals and objectives. This will make it easier for other people within the company to get on board as you start to implement.

  1. Prepare a phased rollout

Although you may want to see benefits as quickly as possible, the speed of implementation is not a key success criterion. For multinational companies in particular, a phased implementation is recommended. This helps ensure you and your global logistics management provider are taking the time upfront to get the process right and prepare all your business units for this change.

  1. Think globally, act locally

Before you begin integrating any global regions into a new TMS system, set regional goals and expectations for those areas. Be sure to understand and plan for any regionally led projects that may interfere with your global TMS implementation. Project timelines can be quickly derailed by a forgotten detail—like the ongoing integration of an acquisition. Ask regional leaders about these types of projects before setting timelines and expectations.

Beyond your company’s ongoing tasks, you also must face and plan for the nuances of each region’s local logistics market, including different languages, currencies, taxes, and tariff systems.

  1. Realize TMS technology only goes so far

When it comes to managing a global supply chain, you need more than just technology. You should ensure your provider has access to dedicated, local supply chain experts stationed around the world. These individuals should act as an extension of your global logistics team and help navigate the local terrain.

  1. Know how to capture your new analytics horsepower

With a global TMS, you gain access to a vast amount of business intelligence—from insights on customer and carrier scorecards to carbon emissions, performance analyses, total landed cost calculations, and more.

This information, however, is useless unless you take time to plan how you will monitor, measure, and act on the information you are given. By knowing how to use the analytics from the TMS, it’s easier to drive cost savings and continuous improvement efforts.

Final thoughts
Investing in a tailored global solution can be a major undertaking. You can assist this transformative process by laying the appropriate groundwork before implementation gets underway.

For additional information on how to prepare for and deploy a global TMS and managed services solution, download our white paper, Compete Globally: Combine Global TMS Technology with Expertise.