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Time running out to upgrade your TMS

How one midsize trucking company leveraged its TMS to brace for uncertain times ahead

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The best time to upgrade your transportation management system may surprise you — it’s yesterday. 

With recessionary talk swirling around the industry, carriers are bracing for things to get tighter and looking for cost savings wherever they can find them. Thankfully, the second-best time to upgrade is now.

Feeling the crunch as margins grow thinner, more and more carriers have entered the market for a new TMS. They know things will only get busier the longer they wait, making it even harder to upgrade, which means time is of the essence.

But with so many options, how do you decide which TMS to go with?

For starters, don’t get wrapped up in thinking what works for the larger carriers will work for you — that isn’t necessarily true. There’s simply no such thing as a one-size-fits-all TMS.

Far too many carriers, however, are settling for platforms built for operations above their scale. Like wearing shoes a couple of sizes big, this makes for a clunky fit.

Be sure to look beyond a platform’s advertising and ask yourself whether that particular TMS provides exactly what you’re looking for.

This is what Adam Blanchard asked himself when shopping for a better TMS. As co-founder and CEO of Double Diamond Transport & Tanager Logistics, Blanchard had some big tech decisions to make.

His San Antonio-based operations were growing increasingly frustrated with their current TMS, specifically its user difficulty and its inability to provide application programming interface and electronic data interchange integrations for customers — not to mention how expensive it was.

The midsize company didn’t have the option of building an internal software solution, and the last thing Blanchard wanted to do was onboard a platform built by developers without transportation experience.

“I’ve always been a big believer of staying in your lane,” he said. “I don’t want to be a software development company; I want to be a trucking company and a freight brokerage.”

That’s when he discovered Alvys.

Alvys is leveling the playing field for small and midsize carriers through affordable add-scale technology, and its cloud-based TMS saves carriers and brokers more time per load than any other TMS.

“Finding a good partner like Alvys was essential because it afforded us the ability to focus on what we do best and let them focus on what they do best,” Blanchard said.

“At Alvys, we want to pique the interest of carriers that have been disillusioned from bad experiences with TMSs,” said Leo Gorodinski, co-founder of the San Diego-based logistics software provider.

Specializing in workflow efficiency, Alvys’ TMS does away with the multisystem format so many carriers use to book a load. One encompassing platform is all that’s needed for carriers to scale effortlessly, and it starts with Alvys’ intuitive digital workflow, which shaves an average of 30 minutes off every load.

Achieving such efficiency is easier said than done, however. Nick Darman, Alvys’ founder and CEO, explains that it requires an army of engineers to keep things running smoothly.

The transportation space is riddled with complexity, and problems crop up day and night. Without all hands on deck at all times, a single issue can render a TMS unusable until fixed.

“When I was running a midsize asset-based brokerage, I was so frustrated with the TMS options that I tried to build my own proprietary software,” Darman said of his previous experience running a trucking company. “I discovered that it was a lot more difficult than I thought — and that was when we had 20 engineers. Most TMSs out there have less than 10 on staff, so no wonder everyone is disappointed.”

Darman suggests carriers look up how many engineers and operators a platform has when they are researching a TMS — the more the better. He says you can learn plenty from a company’s LinkedIn page.

“A lot of the TMSs entering the market are managed by just two, three or five engineers,” Darman said, pointing out that Alvys has over 80 engineers on hand.

That level of expertise and investment, Gorodinksi said, is why Alvys has been able to put together a TMS unlike anything on the market.

“Building this kind of carrier operating system is actually very, very difficult,” he said. “It takes a lot of capital investment as well as the right engineers, operators and product managers working together.

“Alvys has been able to achieve this efficiency for carriers because we’ve surmounted the technical challenges that others couldn’t.” 

Click for more FreightWaves content by Jack Glenn.

More from Alvys:

A day in the life of a dispatcher — with and without Alvys

More than a TMS, Alvys spares carriers from needing multiple software solutions

Jack Glenn

Jack Glenn is a sponsored content writer for FreightWaves and lives in Chattanooga, TN with his golden retriever, Beau. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.