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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?
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