Executive Briefings

Turning Tacticians Into Strategists

Shippers that elevate their transportation management systems from tactical to strategic solutions tend to get the most value out of the technology. But making the transition involves more than a mission statement; it requires a level of expertise that tactical personnel often do not possess.

A common pitfall is that senior managers assume their employees will acquire the expertise they need to become transportation analysts by virtue of the company's investment in a TMS suite. But tactical folks do not automatically acquire high-level analytical skills because they have TMS tools at their fingertips. They need to be groomed for the role and given ongoing guidance.

Take, for example, analyzing carrier performance. In a non-strategic environment, a staff member's natural inclination is to select the worst carriers and confront them about their sub-par numbers. A more sophisticated approach is to delve deeper into the problems and come up with constructive solutions that make the transportation network more competitive.

In this example, a useful exercise is to look at how the best carriers are performing on familiar metrics such as on-time delivery and load acceptance. Next, deploy an analytical tool to determine why these partners are ahead of the rest. Is the top carrier doing most of its business with a specific facility, for instance, and if this is the case, how is the facility supporting this performance? How does the facility interact with other trucking companies?

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Shippers that elevate their transportation management systems from tactical to strategic solutions tend to get the most value out of the technology. But making the transition involves more than a mission statement; it requires a level of expertise that tactical personnel often do not possess.

A common pitfall is that senior managers assume their employees will acquire the expertise they need to become transportation analysts by virtue of the company's investment in a TMS suite. But tactical folks do not automatically acquire high-level analytical skills because they have TMS tools at their fingertips. They need to be groomed for the role and given ongoing guidance.

Take, for example, analyzing carrier performance. In a non-strategic environment, a staff member's natural inclination is to select the worst carriers and confront them about their sub-par numbers. A more sophisticated approach is to delve deeper into the problems and come up with constructive solutions that make the transportation network more competitive.

In this example, a useful exercise is to look at how the best carriers are performing on familiar metrics such as on-time delivery and load acceptance. Next, deploy an analytical tool to determine why these partners are ahead of the rest. Is the top carrier doing most of its business with a specific facility, for instance, and if this is the case, how is the facility supporting this performance? How does the facility interact with other trucking companies?

Read Full Article