How to choose the right transport management system for your business

Selecting the right delivery or transport management system is a business-critical decision.  But a range of common challenges makes drafting a great tender difficult.  In this article, nShift, the global leader in shipment, explores those challenges and offers six suggestions for writing a perfect tender.

Choosing the right delivery management platform or transport management system is not a decision that a business should make lightly.

Companies need to know, for example, that a vendor has connections with the carriers they want to use and in the geographies they’re shipping to.  They must ensure that the vendor can handle the volume of product they’re shipping now – and that the company plans to ship in the future.

Purchasing a new delivery management or transport management system isn’t just about meeting the company’s current requirements.  It’s important that the choice of vendor meets evolving needs as the business scales.  Making the right choice is imperative.  It saves time, money, and frustration in the long term.

Making the wrong decision now could prove costly later down the line.  Both financially and in terms of the company’s reputation.  So it’s important to spend time creating a detailed tender.  One that will provide the procurement team with the information they need to ensure they make the right choice.

So why does creating a great tender for a delivery or transport management system often prove so challenging?

Common challenges to creating a perfect tender

The person tasked with drafting the tender is likely to encounter several obstacles. Many will be found within their own company.

  • A lack of information - it’s essential to have as much information to hand as possible about the specific requirements.  Otherwise, it will be difficult to know if a particular vendor is right.  Unearthing this information may require involving a number of stakeholders in the tendering process, including logistics, IT and operations.
  • Distance from core business – the person running the process is typically in a procurement or project management role.  They must serve as a conduit, ensuring all other stakeholders are kept in the loop throughout.
  • Difficulty engaging C-suite – the board tends not to get involved until the latter stages of the tender process.  It’s important to secure their engagement early on.  The business’s strategy for the next five years must inform the requirements.
Six tips on creating a great tender

Here are some of the key things companies should do to make sure a vendor knows as much as possible about the business and requirements.
  1. Be clear on the current set-up – it’s important that a potential vendor understands what’s happening with the current delivery management solution, what processes they’ll be working within, and where they’ll be expected to bring change.
  2. Be clear on the carriers needed – outline the carrier strategy.  For example, what sort of carriers will the business need on day one of the new arrangement?  And what sort will they need later down the line?
  3. Be clear about volume – vendors are often asked for quotes against different volumes.  How much would it cost to ship X, and how much to ship Y?  This won’t provide clarity.  Instead, be specific about the volumes shipped at the moment.
  4. Clearly articulate the current landscape – explain how all the different elements in the business, such as the webshop and other touchpoints, are meant to work together.  What’s the current state of play?  And how should it look going forward?
  5. Clearly define the timeline – a huge source of frustration for vendors is they’re often given no fixed milestones to aim for.  Be specific on the strategy and the timeline the vendor needs to work to.  Outlining what must happen and when will allow the vendor to propose more accurate timings, and plan capacity accordingly.
  6. Carry out due diligence on vendors – this may sound like common sense, but before issuing the tender, it’s important to know whether the vendor is actually right for the business.  Can they handle the right level of volume?  Have they worked with similar companies?  Do they even operate in the relevant vertical?
More information on writing a great tender

To help vendors create a great tender, nShift has created a new guide: “Creating a great tender for a delivery management platform”.  Read it here. 


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